Shanghai skyline: Pearl Tower
Kuala Lumpur towers
Abu Dhabi mosque
International high school
International high school
A group of teachers discussing their lessons
A job interview at an international school
Shanghai skyline: Shanghai Tower
Shanghai skyline: Shanghai Tower

Jan 1, 1970

Over 400 candidates and 50 schools 

Our annual events had a fantastic turnout of high quality candidates seeking international teaching jobs and a broad range of respected schools from across Wider Asia.

Each Fair ran over the course of 3 jam-packed days with professional development workshops, interviews, networking, info-sharing and making new friends! Over the course of the fairs we saw around 400 candidates and over 50 respected schools.


With all these education professionals under one roof we decided to uncover some key pointers for both schools and candidates during recruitment season.

As the hosting consultants at these events, we sometimes feel a little like matchmakers, and in this case we wanted to share what we’ve learned when it comes to helping everyone find their perfect fit.

In an industry that has been growing steadily over the last 10 years what would you say have been the biggest changes/challenges you’ve seen in the UAE?

It has been a long time since the UAE has been viewed as a “hardship” destination. Over the past ten years it has progressively generated more and more premium sector (particularly UK branded) schools. The marketplace has become overcrowded and as a result it’s raised competition. 10 years ago parents would’ve had to apply to a number of schools at once to find a place for their child, but with the range of choices that now exist, the balance has shifted and families are able to be more selective about which school they would like to send their children to.

One of the other biggest changes is the approach to teaching and the quality of institutions. Since the introduction of The Knowledge and Human Authority (KHDA) the quality of provision has significantly improved . The Bureau has been carrying out annual inspections across schools under a unified framework in order to assess the quality of all aspects of school management. . Better quality checks and a new directive in looking at education in a more holistic view, encompassing more than just classroom academia. Regulatory authorities have taken an interest in understanding the importance of mindfulness and monitoring a “Happiness Index”. Appreciating and prioritizing quality of life outside the classroom as well as the academic approach are being valued equally.

In an industry that has been growing steadily over the last 10 years what would you say have been the biggest changes/challenges you’ve seen in China?

In 2009 we had 9 or 10 schools, fast forward to 2017 and we have 27 schools and counting. At present the sector is not showing any signs of slowing down, so we have to be very focused on staff recruitment and retention. Teachers on the international circuit tend to carry out shorter tenures in general, so we have been working on ways to try and increase teacher retention. In fact, it’s something we’ve seen a great improvement on in the last few years. Having mentioned the fact that we are always looking for highly qualified and experienced teachers to join our team, we know we need to be competitive in this already saturated market. Quality of instruction and the proof of great academic results in the school will always be highly valued. On top of this I would say that the tried and tested method that has been working for Dipont since 2003 is the clear and consistent management structure we have in place. We are a professional and experienced outfit and we have a breadth of staff from all across the world. This makes for a truly International education company. Strength lies in professionalism and a solid structure. The support structure includes heads of department, Center Principals, who are expected to be developmental leaders, the Academic Quality Management team, who provide curriculum support across the Dipont system, and the external training we send teachers to throughout the year. For these support positions, the company always advertises internally before going externally.

There’s also a need here to get Chinese parents on board with a different teaching style, that is somewhat different to what has long been ingrained culturally, and to prove that there is value and results in the western style of teaching that is to some families unfamiliar. This can take patience, time and continually advocating the methodology whilst working on achieving results. A great way to do this would be in making a concerted effort to collate data following up on the success rate of those students that went on to get accepted and graduate from the colleges of their choice.

How to improve your international teachers CV. 

It’s no secret that the benefits of teaching in the international education sector are starting to attract more and more teachers to explore career opportunities further afield. Competitive salaries, great benefits packages and a chance for professional development in an exciting new setting, means that this industry is seeing phenomenal growth right now.

It also means a chance to travel the world and experience new cultures and landscapes and enhance your CV with international teaching experience. All this with the ability to become a part of some of the most well respected schools in the world with access to top of the range facilities.


So with all these great reasons to take the leap towards an international career how do you make your CV stand out from the crowd? We asked our consultants here at Explore CRS for their top tips and what they look for when they’re reading through your CV’s.

When applying for a job in the international education sector, it’s become standard practice to interview over Skype when a face-to-face meeting isn’t possible. It’s important to remember however that just because the interview isn’t physically taking place in the same room…it’s still an interview!

You would be surprised at some of the stories our consultants have about some of the things they’ve seen! Here they are with some of their tips on how best to impress when on screen.

Interviewing at International Schools 

Interviews aren’t everyone’s favourite thing. However, international school recruiters will put a large emphasis on the interview in order to assess a candidate’s personality, their values and teaching style, team fit and how well they handle pressure. This is especially important when you consider that teachers have busy schedules, deal with a wide variety of issues and have significant responsibility demanded of them.


There’s no getting around the interview when applying for an international teaching position, therefore the best thing to do is become the best interviewee possible. So how does one achieve this? Here are a few things to keep in mind to have your best interview:


A self-directed and life-long learner with a genuine passion for Science and its role in society. 

With so much competition how can one school stand out from the rest and attract students?

There is indeed a pressure now for schools to win over the families and hit student enrollment targets. My answer to that would be to ensure the school develops a USP. When launching a new school amongst the already crowded market it would be wise to find a fresh angle to present to parents and students.

A great example of this would be when Taaleem opened the Dubai British School Jumeirah Park. We collaborated with Michelin Star chef Gary Rhodes to create a healthy, fresh and where possible, organic lunch menu for the students. The children were asked for their input when it came to menu creation and there was a real dedication to making meal times an enjoyable part of the school day that the students looked forward to. The idea was to help the students respect meal time as a place to not only satisfy hunger but to learn about eating healthily and the nutritional value of eating well. It was also about learning and developing social skills and table manners.

By focusing on a key area that applies across life and wanting to dedicate real time and expertise to it – it proves to parents that the school is taking the child’s health seriously and looking at learning from a holistic view. It’s not enough anymore to just rely on an established school name or reputation, there needs to be attention to turning out well rounded students with life skills outside of the standard curriculum.

Have you seen a particular shift in attitudes or teaching styles and structures over the past 8 years? 

Absolutely. Within China we’ve got two different educational cultures operating here. The national Chinese curriculum which is heavily test focused especially on the International Higher Education Entrance Examination (GaoKao). The teaching style is intense with a heavy emphasis on academic results in a rather traditional style of long hours, hard discipline, teacher instruction and student note taking with one syllabus for all. The Western education style uses a different approach that encourages more critical thinking, debate, and independent research. Different syllabi cater to different student ability and there is a less instructional set up to the classroom dynamic from the teacher. The growth in popularity of international schools in China has encouraged what I would hope is a greater balance between the two teaching methods, drawing on positive elements from both sides and finding a harmonious learning environment for the students. The aim is to fully prepare these students to be able to flourish and continue their studies in colleges and universities mainly in the US and UK.

Keep it simple and relevant

Condense your resume down to the necessary information. We don’t need to see your high school grades. Think about how much personal info you include as well. Our mission is to quickly and efficiently set you off in the right next steps in your career.

Be on time

Just because the interview is taking place online it still needs to be booked in and often across different time zones. It’s just common courtesy to arrive punctually or let your interviewer know if you are unable to attend, running late, need to rearrange etc. You wouldn't just not turn up to an in person interview would you? 


A smiling and friendly face is always a good icebreaker. It will help you to relax and show your interviewer how you can connect to students with warmth.

Research the School and the Position

This will not only provide you with talking points, but it can show a recruiter that you have done your research and take the position seriously.

Prepare Questions

Any recruiter will welcome questions about the position and the school. This will again show the recruiter that you care. It will also give you a better idea of the position so you know if it’s a good fit. This is especially the case if you’re applying for an international job. For example, if you’re looking at teacher jobs in Shanghai, you’ll want to ………. .

Dress the Part

It’s important to make sure you create a good first impression and we all know that looking professional for a formal interview makes sense. A prospective teacher should look smart and dressed for the occasion – whether the interview is in-person or via Skype.

Prepare to talk about yourself

This may sound obvious but make sure you prepare some good examples you can share with the interviewer about past successes and difficulties. This allow you to demonstrate your achievements as well as how you’ve learnt from (or overcome) a challenging situation.

October holiday, it's almost time

The Golden Week (黄金周)

The Golden Week (黄金周), in the People's Republic of China, is the name given to a semi-annual 7-day national holiday, implemented in 2000: The "Chinese Lunar New Year Golden Week" (Chinese New Year) begins in January or February. The "National Day Golden Week" begins around 1 October.

There was then a major reform in 2008, abolishing the Labour Day Golden Week and adding three traditional Chinese holidays (Qingming Festival, Duanwu Festival, and Mid-Autumn Festival). From at least 2000 until this reform, the Spring Festival public holiday began on New Year's Day itself.

Once again, it is time to start planning your holidays for the year ahead. (Check out our recommendations for cheap flights in China here).

Complete public holiday schedule

China’s General Office of the State Council released the complete public holiday schedule for 2017 yesterday, and it pretty much looks the same as it always has.

One major difference this year is that Mid-Autumn Festival falls in the middle of Golden Week, so you'll get to enjoy a full eight days off during the first week of October. And Dragon Boat Festival falls a little earlier this year, taking place at the end of May.

You'll also only have to work FIVE weekend days in 2017, down from six this year. Because nothing says "enjoy your holiday" quite like having to pay it back.

Without further ado, your 2017 public holidays...

Which Fair did you attend? 

I came to the Shanghai event after being told about it by a friend. It was actually the first recruitment fair I’ve ever been to.

How did you find the organisation and structure of the Fair itself?

Very good! As far as I could see everything ran like clockwork and was very well organized. After initial sign-in, coffee was provided before heading into the main ballroom at 9am to see the attending schools. This was a really efficient way of getting to meet and greet with a variety of institutions and learn a little bit about them. I managed to set up four interviews from the Open Ballroom session.

How many offers did you receive? 

Of the four interviews I had, I received three offers which I was very pleased with.

So we asked… “Teachers – what matters most to you?”

A happy living environment

A happy home is a happy heart and the quality of life outside the school is something that can reflect in the classroom, especially if you are planning a move outside of your ‘home’ country. Life as an expatriate can take some getting used to and whilst those in international education are aware of the lifestyle and its rewards and challenges, ensuring stability of the home is a priority.

School Structure

What is my role within the team? The department? It’s good to manage expectations and to understand where and how you’ll fit into your new teaching job.

Quality of facilities and resources

Knowing what kind of teaching aids and budget/support/resource is made available can shape how an educator customizes and delivers their lessons.

What are my professional development opportunities

Understanding your prospects and how to progress in your career in the international teaching market is essential to maintaining motivation and enthusiasm. Will this job help you in building the future you want?

The school reputation

A well respected and established school can be a big attraction. The chance to be part of a school culture that upholds strong and credible standards and teaching methods, that align with yours, can help to ensure the “right fit”.

Apparently school fees in Dubai are set to rise again by 4.8%. Do you believe this is justified?

70% of the cost of a school is its staff. Whilst it is important to recompense great educators fairly to ensure that staff feel valued, we at Taaleem group have decided to freeze the school fees at this precise moment in time. We understand that families are feeling the pressure in a difficult financial climate and we want them to know that as a school group we understand that. We do not want to become a source of added anxiety or economic stress. Freezing teachers’ pay and only increasing following inflation rises seems the fairest way. We can incentivize our teacher’s through career development and through being honest from the beginning and managing their salary expectations at the start. We are able to offer a different type of stability through our benefits package which would include housing and flights, a nice set of lifestyle benefits and a dedication to helping those educators really flourish in their careers.

One final general question, what do you see as the key benefits/advantages for educators working in the UAE?   

The UAE is one of the safest places to live in the world as crime rates are so low. It’s also an exciting and fast paced environment to live in. Career development is great, as are pay and conditions. Dubai is now on the map as a luxury destination and the lifestyle perks here can be bountiful. Weather is beautiful and it's a chance to live and work in a country that is embracing forward thinking initiatives . In 2010, the United Arab Emirates’ Government launched the UAE Vision 2021', which “sets the key themes for the Socio-economic development of the UAE” and calls for “a shift to a diversified and knowledge-based economy”. It's a chance to be a part of an environment actively promoting progress and learning.

One final general question, what do you see as the key benefits/advantages for educators working in the China?

For sure one of the most enjoyable aspects of living in this country is the teaching. Chinese kids are such a receptive audience and very eager to learn. They are a hardworking and ambitious student body. It allows the teacher to just focus on the academics and curricula and see really fulfilling results. China also still has a relatively low cost of living and Dipont provides housing and other benefits which allows a teacher to save roughly 50% of your earnings. We are constantly assessing how competitive we remain within the market too, to ensure we can provide the best for our staff. I would also say that Dipont has built a really relatable and familiar feeling establishment. This model is what a Western teacher will already have experienced so it should feel like an easy transition. Besides this, China is also a great hub for travel around the rest of South East Asia. Japan, Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, to name just a few, these are all within a few hours’ flights and become affordable destinations when you can save a large portion of your earnings.


It’s amazing the amount of CV’s that come through with grammatical or spelling mistakes. Check it, and check it again and then ask someone else to check it too.

Think about your presentation on camera

I have dialled in for Skype interviews with candidates and been surprised at what people have thought was acceptable dress and what’s in the background behind them! 

get in touch

If you are interested in progressing  your international teaching career then we would be delighted to help you take the next steps towards your new role

How was the support from the Explore CRS staff at the Fair?

Helpful and knowledgeable. They were on hand to provide useful pointers and suggestions and were very honest about the schools and what to expect.

What was the best thing about the Fair? Where could we improve?

The structure of the second day was well organised and the Open Ballroom session was a convenient way to see all the schools quickly. It also gave you a chance to learn a bit about each one before deciding to proceed further to interview. I didn't however have a chance to attend any PD workshops over the weekend. I was interviewing most of Saturday and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take the Friday off work, but I heard from other candidates that they were worthwhile.

Would you come again?

Yes, and I would definitely recommend it to friends and colleagues.

How would you rate the post-fair follow up?

It was good. Once I decided on the position I wanted, my designated consultant helped me with the contract negotiations and final sign off. I managed to secure a great new position which was an upward career move for me and I am really happy in my new school.

And what about the schools? What matters most to them?

Does the candidate match with the mission and vision of the school?

Recruiting schools want to see a candidate who can provide real examples that demonstrate their adaptability. Are you happy to learn and collaborate? Be adaptable/flexible and embrace a school curriculum and culture?

Have you stepped outside of your normal job description to offer more to the school?

Did you implement any after school clubs/extra-curricular activities? Did you volunteer to run any events? Schools are looking to recruit international teachers with enthusiasm and commitment to enhancing students’ lives beyond the classroom.

Your character as a teacher

When you are interviewing with a school you are giving them a key insight into how you manage in a slightly stressful environment and with new people and unfamiliar surroundings. It provides a glimpse of who you are and how you might fit into their recruiting school.

Can you as a person cope with the school environment we have?

One of the most commonly repeated requests from international recruiting schools we hear is “make sure they are the right fit”. An extremely talented educator with great experience could seem great on paper but not the right fit due to varying factors. It may be environment based. Relocating from a very established, well-resourced school into a brand new school with less structure and resource could prove challenging.

Experience living overseas

To work within the international education sector means to understand that you will be outside of your familiar surroundings and culture, at times your comfort zone. The right candidate needs to be comfortable with adapting to new environments and legal/religious systems and social values and norms.

Explain your acronyms

In the international education sector there are so many different institutions and academic bodies that it really makes sense to write out the name in full first and then use the acronym in brackets, certainly if it’s not a well-known or globally used acronym. We want recruiting schools to be able to understand your CV!

Think about your profile name and any message

It would be an idea to have separate personal and professional Skype accounts if your personal Skype handle is something that could be seen as unprofessional. It may sound small but these things can definitely impact an employer’s perception of you. Make sure you are presenting your best version of you for interview.

get in touch

If you are interested in progressing your international teaching career then we would be delighted to help you take the next steps towards your new role

get in touch

If you are interested in progressing your international teaching career then we would be delighted to help you take the next steps towards your new role

get in touch

If you are interested in progressing your international teaching career then we would be delighted to help you take the next steps towards your new role

Include Curriculum Experience

Recruiting schools will quickly scan CVs to pick out curricula experience. More and more we are seeing requests for IB experienced teachers, for example, and although often first preference will be for prior experience, many schools appreciate the similarities between curricula and just want to understand what you’ve been involved with.

Remain professional throughout

There is a process to go through. From when you first register online to when you sign the contract for the new position. Until the ink has dried on the offer acceptance, you need to remember this is still your chance to impress your potential employer and maintaining professionalism is key.

get in touch

If you are interested in progressing your international teaching career then we would be delighted to help you take the next steps towards your new role

get in touch

If you are interested in progressing your international teaching career then we would be delighted to help you take the next steps towards your new role

get in touch

If you are interested in progressing your international teaching career then we would be delighted to help you take the next steps towards your new role

For Candidates

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Interview with Clive Pierrepont

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