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International Recruitment Tips for Teachers

How to land your dream job overseas

By alumna Laura Wilson


Over the past 5 years as Head of Talent Acquisition for Engage Education, I have answered a number of questions and queries from teachers about the process of finding overseas teaching employment: "where should I start?", "what do I need to consider?", and "what to expect throughout the process?"

As an Ontario trained teacher with both Canadian and international teaching experience, I have been able to provide hundreds of teachers with insight and guidance to navigate international teaching opportunities.

If you are thinking about making the leap into international teaching, here’s what you need to know.

What do international recruiters do?

International recruiters provide the link between overseas schools looking for qualified candidates and teachers who are interested in finding a new teaching role.

Schools that have vacancies and teachers who are looking for new jobs contact recruitment agencies. Recruiters within the agency determine the needs of the school and the strengths of each candidate. Once a potential match has been made, recruiters facilitate interviews via phone, Skype, or in person.

When an interview results in an offer of employment, the recruitment agency works with the school and teacher to draft a contract and ensure that both parties are compliant with hiring requirements, visas, and so forth.

Why do recruiters represent overseas schools?

There are a variety of reasons why overseas schools choose to partner with recruiters. One of which is that recruiters are specialists in the selection and screening process, and can provide guidance to candidates when it comes to visa eligibility, relocation, etc.

Another reason is that the job of hiring frequently falls to principals or department heads who have many other responsibilities within their school; it can be challenging finding time to engage candidates from different time zones! This is where recruiters step in.

"Things to Consider" Checklist

But what about you? There are a number of things to consider that will help you realize your journey.

  1. What are you hoping to gain by participating in an international teaching experience? Do you want to build up your resume, or travel to new countries?
  2. What type of experience are you looking for? Full-time, part-time, supply teaching, ESL, tutoring? Is it important to you to be teaching a specific subject?
  3. How comfortable are you being far from home? Which geographical areas interest you? Consider the language and culture of the location.
  4. What does support and career development look like to you? What are your short-term and long-term goals in teaching?
  5. What are the countries where you are eligible to teach? What are the visa requirements? A recruiter can provide this information to you.
  6. When would you want to start your position (0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, 12 months)? Have a timeline prepared in advance.
  7. How long are you comfortable committing to teaching overseas? Less than 1 year, 1-2 years, 3-5 years? Establish a timeframe to help recruiters find you what you want.


By teaching internationally, you will keep your teaching skills sharp, hone your practice by incorporating methods you observe while abroad, and gain experience with a diverse range of pupils. You will also have the opportunity to be employed full-time in your chosen field, even when opportunities in Canada may be scarce.

What to do next

  1. Prepare your resume and notify references that they will be contacted.
  2. Reach out to a reputable agency that works with schools in the country of your choosing. Tell recruiters what factors of a location are important to you.
  3. The agency will interview you (check out these interview tips!). After the interview, revisit all the points you made in the “Things to Consider” Checklist above.
  4. Ask questions and clarify any items you are unsure of with your agency.
  5. The agency will build a profile or video demonstrating your experience and qualifications.
  6. The agency will act as a representative to you, and will schedule and facilitate interviews with prospective schools.
  7. Offers of employment from schools will come to you from your agency representative. Have them explain package details and offer conditions. 
  8. Acceptance of a role will lead you through the process of visa applications (if required) and the documents necessary to make you compliant to work. 
  9. The agency will inform you when you are ready and prepared to begin working in your new country.
  10. Congratulations on your international teaching post. Enjoy the adventure!


Teaching internationally provides a new canvas for teachers to teach, travel and experience the world of education, and to bring those experiences back to future classrooms. Many teachers have found excellent teaching mentors, support and career development from their international teaching posts, which all began by expanding their teaching geography.