Job Fair Success!
You guys. I got a job teaching at the American International School of Budapest!
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Let me back up and tell you about this year’s job fair. It was a bit different from my first.
That whole job fair-in-five-emotions thing? Multiply that by about 10 for this one. Unlike last time where I landed my dream job Saturday morning, this time around I was working it until the minute I left for the airport. Also, I didn’t have a clear idea of where I wanted to go, no “top choice” school or location. My thoughts were: South America because I’ve never been there, or South East Asia because I loved my 2012 trip there and would like to get to know it better. I’m telling you, Europe was not even on my radar.
Before the fair had even started I had two Skype interviews with schools attending the fair, both in South America, one with a really excellent school that had contacted me (rather than the other way around). I was feeling pretty good going into the job fair and thinking South America was looking pretty solid.
On the interview sign-ups morning I was armed with an excel sheet of my targeted schools (that is to say, schools that had potential openings for me). Right away I found that a couple of schools that I had on my list no longer had postings for my teaching area and a couple of others didn’t grant me an interview. By the end of the two sign-up sessions, I had scheduled interviews with 13 schools (including second interviews with the two Skype schools). I arranged interviews with schools from China, to South America, to Africa, you name it. I went for jobs in ESL (elementary and middle school), ELA (middle school), and elementary classroom teacher. I didn’t rule anything out at the sign-up sessions.
Right after the sign-up sessions ended I got started right away with my first interview and continued on until 5:30pm. Day one: seven interviews complete.
Saturday was the second day of interviews and I woke up to an email asking me to interview with a school that had taken my resume the first day but had not granted me an interview slot. This brought my day two interviews up to seven. I had two interviews beginning at 8:30 am, three mid-day (including one in Japan that scheduled an hour-long follow-up interview for Sunday), and two more at 5pm. I have to say I was a bit skeptical of the two schools that signed me up to interview at the end of the day on Saturday. If they were really interested, wouldn’t they have wanted to interview me before I had the chance to accept another offer? They were both excellent schools and I figured I was on the schedule as a back up. Also? Those ended up being the two toughest interviews of the weekend!
By the end of the day Saturday I had had a few rejections, but no offers or even call backs from schools requesting a second interview. I figured I wouldn’t be getting a job until sometime post-fair. (Days? Weeks? Months?) I was also still really unsure where I wanted to go or which position was right for me. If you had told me that I could have picked any of the 14 schools that I interviewed with and the job would be mine, I wouldn’t have known what to choose!
Sunday morning I had a long breakfast with a couple that was trying to decide if they wanted to accept an offer in Beirut. We leisurely chatted for an hour and a half, in which time I didn’t check my messages and I hadn’t even been to my candidate mailbox. At 10:30am we said goodbye and exchanged information and then I checked my phone. There were call backs from the two schools I had interviewed with at the end of the day on Saturday! One said I was being offered the job and the other just said he wanted to meet. I called to cancel the Japan school since after a good deal of thought (and advice from others) I realized it wasn’t the place for me, so no need to spend another hour interviewing with them.
At 10:30 I met with the Anglo American School in Moscow and was offered an excellent package and given a few days to think it over. Then, I met with the American International School in Budapest where I had another tough half-hour interview. I was asked to wait outside so the director and principal could talk it over. Outside I met another candidate waiting to go in. What position was he going for, I asked. Oh, right, the same one as me. The principal came out and asked me to come back at 1:15pm. I went back to my room and waited with my packed bag and coat for 30 min. I went back down at the appointed time and was asked to wait just a few more minutes. “Don’t worry. It’s good, it’s good,” the principal told me. Finally, I went in to see the director and was offered a position teaching middle school ESL. We went over the details of the contract and she also gave me a few days to think about it. Even though the package wasn’t quite as good as the first school, the idea of Budapest was really starting to capture my imagination.
I flew back home and let it all sink in before coming to a final decision. By the time I arrived, I was sure that Budapest was the right choice for me, and Monday morning I wrote both schools telling them my decision.
Eastern Europe, here I come!
My Job Fair Experience by the Numbers
Schools interviewed with: 14
Positions applied for: Elementary classroom (3), elementary ESL (6), middle school ESL (2), middle school ELA (3)
Schools that (politely) rejected me after the interview: 4
Schools interviewed with that didn’t actually have an opening for me: 2
Schools I never heard back from one way or another: 3
Schools that seemed to be stringing me along: 2
Schools I rejected: 1
School Presentations Attended: 0