Interviewing overseas trained teachers!
Helpful information for UK Headteachers and School Leaders
Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp and Facetime are all popular platforms that UK Headteachers use to connect with teachers across the world. The use of digital interviews has skyrocketed as many School Leaders cast their net further afield to recruit talented teachers.
We’ve put together our 7 top tips when interviewing a potential new teacher:
1. Test your device, video and sound
Your Recruitment Agent has prepared your overseas trained teacher for this exciting opportunity to meet you and interview. Often teachers are online very early or very late at night depending on where they live in the world. You really want your interview to have high-quality sound and a good solid picture. Do a practice on your device and test your internet connection.
2. Pop a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your office door
Schools are busy places and things can happen at any time that may require your attention. By blocking out the time for your digital interview in your diary and popping a sign on the door, you are prioritising the interview and the overseas teacher. Avoiding interruptions, by removing the possibility of being disturbed, will allow you to give your full attention to your candidate.
Put aside at least 45mins for your interview and allow additional time for questioning. This interview is not a local teacher that has previous background on your school or trust and demographic. This teacher in front of you is about to make a lifechanging decision to potentially spend thousands of dollars and relocate to England.
Your recruitment agent may have given you such good insight and information on the teacher that you feel a shorter interview is ok. Please stick to 45mins so the teacher feels they have had a chance to put their best foot forward!
It’s important to drill down on the candidate’s content knowledge and teaching style and quite natural to unpack this in an interview. When recruiting from overseas it’s quite a good idea to have some open-ended questions which allow you to determine the candidate’s intentions and resilience. Of course, you want to recruit and retain your teacher!
Some examples of open-ended questions you could ask:
- Why do you want to come to England to teach?
- Have you been to England before?
- Why would you come to England when salaries in Australia are a lot more desirable?
- How long do you plan on teaching in England for?
- Do you know anyone that lives in England or has lived and taught in England?
- It’s widely known that UK teachers work long hours. What hours are you familiar with working in your current job?
- The UK weather is quite different from sunny Queensland. Have you thought about how you would manage in the winter months when the days are short and dark?
- Have you travelled and lived away from your family before?
- Did you live away from home when you went to University?
- What part-time jobs have you held while studying?
5. Attracting the teacher to your school, location and community
Prior to meeting your interviewee online, your recruitment agent will have discussed your school and location in-depth with the teacher. This teacher is looking at committing to working at your school so what can you offer professionally that other schools may not. What makes your school unique? Describe your colleagues and the school culture with honesty and integrity. It’s not always about the Ofsted report. Overseas teachers can see past that.
They want to know that they have a supportive and nurturing school where guidance will be offered. A person new to England wants to be reassured of safe places to live within an easy commute of school and have access to transport links for outside of school life. Often it comes down to how you paint the picture of the teacher’s new life in your unique setting. Sometimes teachers research an area on Google and find out the worst information on a city, town or village. You have firsthand knowledge, so quickly clear up any misconceptions that may exist.
6. Offering and appointing an overseas teacher
It’s important to give verbal or written feedback to your recruitment agent immediately. Candidates expect to hear from their consultant within 12-24hours (due to international time zones) with news of their success (or not) and why. Revisit the teacher’s Visa status and salary expectations with your recruitment consultant and make a speedy decision so no one is left hanging. If the teacher has proven to impress you, you can be sure that other schools and agencies are interested too. Get your offer in writing and expect the acceptance in 12-24hours in return.
7. Post acceptance
Set up your new teachers work email address as soon as you can. Offer to set up digital calls with their new team or department. Share next term’s planning and events and include your new teacher in relevant staff emails! Help your recruit to become part of your school as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Knowing when your new teacher arrives, lands and where they are staying is always helpful. Maybe even invite them over for a BBQ or dinner as this always goes down well. Welcome the new person, their partner and family into your school family as warmly as you can. Remember, they are a long way from home!
It sounds easy, but not everyone gets it right! Interviewers that do these basics well find that they attract and retain teachers with high standards and commitment that last the distance.
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