What to Look for When Hiring International Teachers

Hiring great teachers is a challenging but necessary task for schools all over the world. Understanding how to hire the best international teachers is essential for schools because they are the ones interacting with and shaping students every day.

Teachers have a huge impact on your school’s reputation, and hiring quality teachers can help ensure a successful future for your institution. Use this as a guide for hiring the best teachers possible!


4 important things to look for when hiring teachers: 

  • Stable work experience
  • Serious candidates
  • Enthusiasm for teaching abroad
  • Lifelong learners

Stable work experience

Within international education, it is not uncommon to see teachers who move from school to school and even country to country every 1-2 years.

However, if you are a school that values loyalty and stability within your teaching faculty, it is important to take a look at candidates’ work histories to see if they have jumped between jobs a lot. A teacher with solid work experience showing multiple years at each school is able to demonstrate that they are reliable and more committed to working at your school for longer than a year.

There are instances where there are perfectly justifiable explanations for shorter contracts, for example, family issues in their home country or accepting a role/school that was not a good fit for them. When hiring any teacher, but especially under these circumstances, it is vital to check references from their previous employers to get more information.

Plus, getting to know the candidate during the interview will help with this. Ask them why they left past positions – they may be much more self-aware than they were when they took a position that was not a good fit. They may also be ready to settle down in one area for a while, so make sure to have questions set aside to get to the bottom of what they are truly looking for in their next role.


Candidates for job interview

Candidates that are serious about joining your school

Not all qualified teachers will be a good fit for your school, and not all people that apply for your opening will be serious about working for you. A teacher who is serious about joining your school and making a good impression in their interview will have done their research about the role, school, location, city, etc.

By asking a simple question at the beginning of the interview such as “what do you know about our school and who we are?” you will be able to gauge the level of seriousness of the applicant. To go along with this, when inviting an applicant for an interview, we highly recommend sending them some information about your school like a website link, an intro video, a pdf, or anything else you have available.

This will help increase excitement from the teacher about potentially joining your school and help them prepare questions they can ask so both sides can have a better idea about whether they are a good fit for each other.

During the interview, have a conversation about what the candidate wants in a new job and compare their answers to your school’s strengths and weaknesses. If they want a great school culture, but you have noticed that teachers have been complaining a lot or leaving bad reviews lately, maybe the current focus should be on improving the work environment, rather than on hiring a new teacher that may not be happy with the current situation. This will help with future retention rates too!


A plane


Enthusiasm for teaching internationally

Working abroad comes with difficulties and within an international school setting, teachers will be exposed to students and colleagues from a variety of different cultures and backgrounds. This leads to a melting pot of ideas and often a teacher will be faced with a way of doing things that they are unfamiliar with. International teachers therefore must be willing to accept and value differences, be flexible and open-minded, and respect the country they are living in.

Looking through a teacher’s resume and finding international work experience is one way to see that they have dealt with this before, but not the only way. Many teachers who are hired by an international school without any international experience go on to become fantastic additions to their school, so avoid immediately discounting candidates with no overseas experience.

By asking questions during the interview related to cultural differences and asking for examples where the candidate can demonstrate the skills and flexibility needed to thrive internationally, you can gain a better understanding of how successful they will be in an international classroom.


A person reading


Candidates who are lifelong learners

International schools offer teachers great opportunities for both personal and professional development. By finding and hiring teachers that want to continue learning and growing, you as an administrator will be able to meaningfully contribute to your school’s culture, reputation, and it’s students of course!

Examples of things to look for when hiring lifelong learners: post-graduate degrees, certificates, curriculum courses taken, or even books they have read.

Be sure to also talk with candidates about your teacher evaluation process, and their level of engagement in this conversation might give you an idea of how dedicated they are to growing professionally, as well as how they react to constructive criticism.


Putting this into practice

Feel free to start by adding some of these qualities to your job description. Add a bullet point about professional development, and have them prepare a statement about why they want to work for your school in particular to get some insight into who they are professionally and what goals they have.

By working with Teaching Nomad and identifying the qualities and experience you are looking for in a teacher, you will be able to sit back and relax while we use our years of experience and expertise to find strong applicants for your school. Learn more about our international teacher recruitment services and get in touch today for more details!


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