School Screening Process

With thousands of international schools scattered around the world, and tons of information on the Internet, how do you know which schools are credible and which ones are not? This is a very good question, and one that you should consider when you are seeking a position overseas for the first time or are already overseas and looking to move on.

Many candidates will focus on a recruiting agency who advertises they work with the largest number of schools, but what about their quality? What is most important to ask is, what kind of schools are they? Whether you choose to work with Search Associates or another recruiting agency, we strongly recommend asking the following questions:

  • Do you have a screening process in place for your schools?
  • What is your screening process?
  • How many school applications do you decline each year?
  • If I have a problem when I get to a school, can I still contact you for advice?

Although Search Associates is one of the largest and most reliable recruiting organizations, and works with over 650 of the best international schools, being the largest or having the highest number of schools in our database is not our goal. Working with the best schools is what is most important! As such, we decline nearly 50% of new school applications that seek membership each year. Why? Quite simply, because they do not meet our standards and most importantly, would not meet yours.

So how does Search Associates screen our schools?

  • Each new school must first complete an online application. However, we don’t stop there.
  • Once the application is submitted, schools are expected to complete a supplementary questionnaire to help us learn more.
  • We also require the school to provide references we can contact, to include teachers currently working in the school, as well as professional referees. Candidates can feel confident that we make every attempt to contact expatriate teachers who can provide first-hand information about the level of support they have received from the school, both professionally and personally.
  • Once all references are gathered, our School Coordinator will compile a summary report with the application, references, and screening questions, which are then reviewed by our executive team.
  • After our thorough review process, which may lead us to require additional information by the school or in some instances, initiate a school visit, we either accept or decline a school application. The main question we ask ourselves in during this process is whether this school will treat our candidates well both professionally and personally.
  • If we are still unsure about a school, Search Associates reaches out to its extensive international school network to gather more information.

Some may think the screening process ends once a school is accepted for membership, but this is not the case. All member schools are asked to verify their information each year, and many Senior Associates perform numerous school visits year-round. Candidates are encouraged to let us know how things are going once they arrive at a school, and we advise them to contact us if there is a serious problem of which they are unable to resolve through the proper school channels. If at any time, we find that one of our member schools fails to meet or exceed our standards of conduct, a thorough investigation will occur which could possibly cause us to suspend the school from membership. Only after careful review, and many times a required visit by one of our Senior Associates, will we allow a suspended school to be reactivated again. Ultimately, what is important is that our schools always have the best interest of the students and the teachers in mind.

So, whether you are a teacher thinking about taking a leap into international education or a seasoned international educator moving to another school, do your homework and make sure you are choosing an organization with your best interest in mind. Our mission has always been to make your international job search smooth, safe, and satisfying.

Did You Know…?

Senior Associate James Ambrose was a head of school in Norway, Egypt, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Zambia, UAE, and Vietnam.