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Virtual job fair - woman interviewing with school.

In-person job fairs have long been the norm.

In the past, firm handshakes and steady eye contact with new candidates was the best way to size up potential.

But as things change, so must those who do not adapt.

And when COVID-19 hit, everything changed: International schools had to come up with an effective digital recruitment strategy.

Interestingly, with the world slowly starting to open back up, we’re still seeing a blend of online and in-person job fairs.

Even with both options available to them, schools are finding the benefits of online job fairs advantageous. Not only is this method of recruitment lining up with the new norm, but it’s becoming the new standard.

If you’re now a seasoned digital recruitment pro, you likely have a successful digital recruitment strategy in your back pocket and a high-quality candidate pool to match.

If you’re new to online job fairs, we’ll share with you the many reasons for the increasing demand and why schools worldwide are turning to them for years to come.

So, let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should consider adding online job fairs to your digital recruitment strategy this coming year.

8 benefits of online job fairs

Online job fairs have been around in the international education space for a few years now and response to market demand.

In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in both the number of recruitment companies offering online fairs, as well as the number of schools and candidates participating in them.

There are many reasons for the increasing demand and why schools worldwide are turning to online job fairs.

So, let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should consider adding online job fairs to your digital recruitment strategy this coming year.

  1. Cost-effective alternative to in-person fairs
  2. Similar to what you’re used to
  3. Efficiency
  4. Gets your school in front of more candidates
  5. Gain exposure and market your school
  6. Qualified candidate pool
  7. Quickly progress candidates through your hiring process
  8. Fits within your recruitment schedule

Illustration of online job fair.

1. Cost-effective alternative to in-person fairs

One of the primary reasons for the rise of online recruitment fairs in the international education community is the cost-savings.

The financial costs involved with traditional in-person recruitment fairs are significant, including some or all of the following:

  • Airfare to fly across the world to the location of the fairs
  • Hotel costs and expenses for school representatives attending the fairs
  • Membership/subscription with the recruitment company organizing the fair
  • Registration fees for the school to attend the fair
  • A per-head hiring fee for each teacher you hire at the fair

The cost for a school to attend a single fair (let alone multiple fairs) is exorbitant. More and more, schools no longer want to spend the money it costs to attend.

As a result, schools are looking for alternatives and increasingly, they’re finding online fairs to be more than suitable.

Now, given the travel and border restrictions in place this year and the resulting cancellations of most (if not all) recruitment fairs, cost-savings are unlikely to be the reason international schools turn to online job fairs.

But if you’re one of the many schools that had budgeted to attend in-person fairs this year, you likely have a recruitment budget that you’re looking to repurpose cost-effectively.

Online job fairs represent a financially prudent way to reallocate your budget in a way that’s not too dissimilar to what you’re already used to.

2. It’s similar to what you’re used to

If your school is new to digital recruitment, it may be easier to begin your transition with something that feels familiar.

Virtual recruitment fairs bring the familiarity you have with in-person job fairs to digital recruitment.

For the most part, online fairs are generally similar in format to traditional in-person recruitment fairs but adapted to an online format.

Online job fairs allow schools to connect with teachers who are looking for teaching jobs abroad.

Many aspects of recruitment fairs have been transferred over to an online platform. Similarly to in-person recruitment fairs, online job fairs candidates have the opportunity to visit and interact with a variety of schools in one place and schools have the chance to meet and engage with a pool of candidates.

The main difference between traditional and online job fairs is the time commitment involved. Whereas in-person job fairs take a few days, online job fairs take just a few hours.

3. Online job fairs are efficient

Not only are traditional recruitment fairs expensive, but attending them can take you away from where you’re needed most – school.

A typical recruitment fair runs for 3-4 days with at least one travel day on either side.

As a result, each recruitment fair removes you from school and away from your responsibilities for at least 5-6 days, if not more.

If your school attends multiple recruitment fairs in a given year, multiply that number accordingly.

In a school year that lasts, on average, somewhere between 180-200 days, a school head or director could be out of their school for upwards of 10% of the year if they attend 3-4 fairs.

On the other hand, online job fairs are typically short – often lasting only a few hours, so you don’t need to sacrifice too much of your time to attend one.

For example, Teach Away’s online job fairs last around three hours. Throughout the online event, schools and candidates are free to engage in as many conversations as possible and often meet more candidates than expected.

But to ensure candidates can meet with as many schools as they’d like (and vice versa), conversations are limited to 10 minutes, which is plenty of time for schools to screen prospective candidates or for candidates to find answers to their most pertinent questions.

4. Gets your school in front of more candidates

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a real shift in job seekers’ attitudes, and that goes for educators as well.

With the advances in technology, candidates are more inclined to conduct their job search online than through any other job search method.

There are many reasons for this: the availability of information online from prospective employers along with reviews from current and previous employees, it’s free, it’s fast, it’s convenient among them.

This goes for international education as well.

Sure, if your school decided to attend a recruitment fair in the past, you would have access to a pool of maybe a few hundred candidates you could hire.

But what about the candidates you’re ignoring who don’t attend recruitment fairs?

Many viable candidates either can’t afford to or don’t want to travel worldwide to attend recruitment fairs.

By recruiting solely at in-person fairs, you severely limit your prospective pool of candidates.

Luckily, it’s usually free (or inexpensive) for candidates to attend online job fairs. Plus, they don’t have to travel (or even leave their couch)!

By attending online job fairs, you can access candidates who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend recruitment fairs.

This year, even the ones who would have attended in-person fairs won’t be able to, so you’ll likely find them online.

Illustration of online job fair for teacher recruitment

5. Gain exposure and market your school

One of the biggest challenges we hear from our partner schools is that they struggle to get exposure in a difficult recruitment market.

We all know there is a global teacher shortage that is fueling increased competition for top teaching talent worldwide, both at home and abroad.

In such a saturated market where everyone is trying to get noticed, it’s hard for your school to cut through the noise.

One of the key benefits of online job fairs is that your school gets access to an engaged audience of your target market  – top teachers who are looking for their next teaching opportunity abroad.

You can take advantage of online job fairs to get discovered by candidates.

In most online job fair platforms, the school can set up a ‘virtual booth’ that candidates can access to learn more about the vacancies available at your school and review collateral and material provided by the schools.

If they’re interested in talking to a recruiter, they can queue up to chat with a school representative via chat and online videos.

In this format, schools have the opportunity to get in front of a large pool of candidates who are looking for teaching opportunities abroad but otherwise may not have known about your school.

6. Get a qualified candidate pool

For almost any school, the number one criteria you’re looking for in a prospective candidate is quality. You want teachers who will make a difference in your school.

When considering recruitment methods, the only factor that matters to schools is whether they can find the quality teachers they’re looking for.

What good is a recruitment channel that gives schools hundreds of applicants, but who don’t meet their needs?

So schools go to recruit where they know they can find the quality they need.

Traditionally, this has been at in-person recruitment fairs, where they know they will find a pool of qualified teaching candidates.

Much like many traditional recruitment events, at online job fairs, the candidates in attendance are also qualified, pre-screened and vetted.

At Teach Away, our team of placement coordinators rigorously screen each candidate in advance of the event to ensure their qualifications and experience are up to the standards expected by schools attending our events.

Since we know the open vacancies our partner schools are looking to hire for, we also invite candidates who match the background and subject area expertise our schools are looking for.

This way, when you attend an online fair, you know you’ll have access to a pool of highly-qualified candidates who meet your specific needs.

7. Quickly progress candidates through your hiring process

Today, you have a multitude of recruitment channels/methods at your fingertips.

Each method has its pros and cons.

We continually hear from our partner schools that, when they turn their attention to hiring, they want to be able to make their hires quickly and get back to their other responsibilities.

That’s another reason traditional recruitment fairs have been so popular and widely used by international schools.

Often, school heads could go to a recruitment fair and, over 3-4 days, have the opportunity to meet many candidates, extend offers on the spot and come away at the end of the weekend, having made all the hires they needed to for the following school year.

Now, it would be unreasonable to expect this scenario to play out for every school that attends a recruitment fair.

And there are inherent risks involved like not finding the candidates you need or having your top choices decide to sign with another school.

It’s also a lot of pressure for school heads to be forced to decide in a short amount of time without having the ability to know the available alternatives.

But there’s no denying they’re efficient.

While maybe not as intense, online job fairs are also designed to be efficient, though perhaps not to the same degree.

Online job fairs are designed to facilitate a large number of short conversations in a short period of time. That way, schools and candidates can quickly meet, get a good sense of whether there is a potential fit, and continue the conversation at a later date.

This format is useful for both candidates and schools. Both parties can determine fit right away.

In less than 10 minutes, they’ll know how they’d like to proceed and can quickly move to the next stage of the recruitment process.

If either side doesn’t want to proceed, they’ve only wasted 10 minutes.

8. Fits within your recruitment schedule

When schools are looking to do their recruitment, the timelines can vary wildly, depending on several factors.

Schools receive letters of intent from current staff at varying times throughout the year; some schools prefer to wait until they have 100% certainty about the number of teachers they need before getting started with recruitment. Some schools are just more proactive than others.

The simple matter is that different schools are on different timelines and need the flexibility to recruit when the time is right for them, rather than when events are scheduled.

Online job fairs offer schools multiple opportunities throughout the year to recruit.

At Teach Away, we offer several online fairs to align with schools’ recruitment timelines.

No matter the time of year you’re looking to recruit, Teach Away will have an online job fair scheduled that you’ll be able to take advantage of.

Wrapping it up

In this unprecedented year, the simple fact is that the way schools recruit will have to change.

For schools that have traditionally relied on in-person recruitment fairs, online job fairs represent an online alternative that is similar as possible to what you’re used to.

For schools looking to adopt more of a digital approach to your recruitment, or are looking to optimize your existing digital recruitment strategy, online fairs offer a cost-effective, efficient, and fast way to recruit quality teachers.

Learn how your school can join us at our upcoming online job fairs.

Do you know what really matters to your teaching candidates?