Harrow International School

Harrow International school has been using Teachers International Consulting to support its recruitment efforts since 2007. Executive Head Master and Chief Operations Officer, Mark Hensman gives insight into the school's recruitment process.

Harrow International School Bangkok

Harrow International School Bangkok

Q: What motivated Harrow International to work with TIC?

Originally TIC gained a single placement for Harrow Beijing and that started an informal arrangement that gave us time to appreciate the quality of candidates, experienced support, and efficient and professional support that was accessible to us from TIC. Two years ago we trialled a Service Contract and this year our recruitment process has been extremely successful for Harrow International saving us a huge amount of time, filtering us high quality, spot-on candidates, improving our marketing of vacancies so drawing on a wider range of quality teachers, and providing a very valuable public relations element.

Q. What do you mean by public relations?

Well, before working with TIC we were just advertising in the TES and on a couple of recruitment websites and that was it. Now through the Service Contract TIC is providing all our applicants - successful or otherwise - with an immediate response, with comprehensive feedback provision and with a caring person accessible for candidates to communicate with. This in turn leads to a much higher level of confidence in us as an organisation by every single candidate we deal with.

Q. How are you marketing your job vacancies now?

As well as better quality advertising, we are featured as a priority recruiter to all candidates who have registered with TIC. This means drawing on a wide range of teachers who have already expressed an interest in working overseas and who have been pre-vetted by TIC. For Harrow International, this has seen the quantity of high calibre candidates increase significantly.

Q. So what is your recruitment process in collaboration with TIC?

TIC provides us with a long list of recommended candidates matched very closely to our agreed specifications for the job which we reduce to a short list. TIC then does the follow-up work, calls on references, arranges the interview schedule for us and, following interview, informs the candidates, particularly the non-successful candidates. TIC continues a line of communication with all recruits, even after they have joined the school; making visits to the schools, meeting the teachers, emailing and checking to see how they’re getting on. It’s the whole package that’s important and we’re already seeing that the contract with TIC is making a difference.

Q. Aren’t all international teachers pretty much the same?

Not at all. At Harrow International we’re looking for a very specific type of teacher. Someone who is experienced, who has taught in the independent sector or in the maintained school sector with a traditional philosophy of education, is on top of their game, has had boarding experience, is keen on the co-curricular field as it is compulsory for our teachers, and has a personality that fits into our school community which for us means easy to get on with, energy-giving individuals, preferably with a young family who will benefit from a Harrow International education. We have seen TIC’s understanding of this type of candidate grow throughout our time working together. This has been helped significantly by Andrew (Andrew Wigford, Director of TIC) visiting the schools. As a result, he knows the personality of the schools and the Heads which helps him and the team at TIC to know exactly who we’re are looking for. Understanding our essential personal qualities and experiences, and then being able to identify them in candidates is vital.

Q. As the number of international schools increase, how are Harrow International Schools planning to maintain the high standards of your teaching staff?

We know that the Harrow name engenders a sense of confidence but recognise that we must work hard to maintain that reputation and believe that the career paths we offer are a way of retaining existing staff – we currently have a 90% retention rate. As for new recruits to the international arena, because of being Harrow and teaching to the National Curriculum for England, we want to attract teachers from the UK. We know that we’ll have to be creative in our marketing approach into the future as competition for good quality candidates gets tougher and this is where TIC is already supporting us; through roadshow events, seminars about international teaching opportunities and in publicity about the opportunities available to teachers overseas. We may even have to look at recruiting graduates and training them ourselves; as a group of international schools we would have the capacity to be able to do this.

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