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Help! Checking references.

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by Physallis, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. I have an interview for an international school I am really keen to work for. The problem is, it's the only school I've applied to in the true hope of getting a job and am keen to work there. Is it the norm to contact references before interview/offering post? I'm worried because this is the only job I've applied for so haven't told my current employer. If this falls through, I'm more than happy to stay put for a year or so. I don't want to rock the boat. Any advice?
  2. I have an interview for an international school I am really keen to work for. The problem is, it's the only school I've applied to in the true hope of getting a job and am keen to work there. Is it the norm to contact references before interview/offering post? I'm worried because this is the only job I've applied for so haven't told my current employer. If this falls through, I'm more than happy to stay put for a year or so. I don't want to rock the boat. Any advice?
  3. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Every school should, but in my experience most don't on any regular basis. You may get lucky.
  4. I think mine will. So, it's the norm to get references before interview or job? What happens if they offer you a rubbish package and then you're left with an employer who thinks you want to jump ship????
  5. What schools do will vary from school to school (or more likely from Head to Head). To give you an idea, then here we carefully scrutinise the cv?s we get, and shortlist from those. I will then phone any candidates shortlisted for a chat. This is simply to establish that they are really interested in the post, and that there are not any issues which have not been revealed in the cv (like them having six children under the age of seven). We then arrange the interviews. Following this I will then pick up references for the candidate whom, following interview, we are most interested in employing. This may also involve phoning referees as well as getting the written reference. Providing all checks out, then the selected candidate will be offered the post, and other candidates referees will not be contacted. Writing references can be a time consuming job, and as I have a policy of turning round reference requests to me in 24 hours, then at this time of the year when I am also recruiting, I don?t appreciate writing unnecessary references ? which is why I only ask for references for the selected candidate.
  6. Thanks Mary's Lamb. That makes perfect sense to me and is the way I'm used to it being done from my "past life". I'm surprised by some HT's suggestion that they might contact my reference before we've even met - much less I've been offered a post. I've asked them to wait until post-interview. If they refuse then I don't think I'll be able to attend interview and I'll be totally gutted. I really want the job - it's in a school with a great ethos in country I'd love to live in. But I can't risk upsetting the boat at my current place of work (which this really would) on the off chance I might get the job so we'll see.
  7. My boss here will contact the referees for all the candidates we shortlist, before we interview the candidates. I agree with the procedure mary lamb is using, but I am the HOD, not the Principal.
    Any candidate asking us not to contact their referees would probably be binned at that point, to be honest.
    I am also called upon to provide references from time to time and I would expect to be asked first.
    The international job market is becoming increasingly crowded and competitive so you need to make yourself as attractive as possible to future employers. Whatever you may have been used to in your 'past life' may well not apply in an international environment.
  8. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Established commenter

    This is the norm in my experience. A notable exception was local recruitment in India where hardly anybody appeared to take references seriously. Example:
    Q: How well do you know the candidate?
    A: Very well. He's my brother.
    Me too. I can sympathise with the OP because schools do exist where applying for another post can put the existing job in doubt but I would not be happy as a HT to receive a reference request for a colleague who had not told me s/he was applying. Bear in mind also that some schools will automatically contact your HT even if you haven't quoted him/her as a referee.

  9. Penny - my past life was in an international environment that was a lot more competative than teaching.
    I agree you need to have transparency in teaching but I do worry that I don't particularly want to cause trouble at home when the chance of me being offered the role is really very low. I'm very sad about it and I'll be gutted to be binned at this stage but I have no intention of putting myself in a difficult position.
  10. I agree Mainwaring. I have no intention of letting my HT or HoD find out I'm applying for a new job from anyone but me. If I get through interview and decide I like the school then even while I wait to hear back I'd be happy to tell my current boss that I've been looking around. I would never let people hear it from anyone but me. It's disloyal and dishonest and I am neither of those things.
  11. I didn't mean to come across as difficult. I'm just telling it as it is.
    I don't understand why apply for a new job necessarily means putting yourself in a difficult position. Either you want to move or you don't. You current employer with also need to go through the recruitment process to replace you.
    I'm also a bit of a pedant when it comes to spelling. Overseas teaching is very competitive, and I expect applicants I shortlist to be able to spell that word correctly.
  12. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Physallis, either I'm missing something profound or it's as simple as this:
    You mail your contact at the International School Of Your Dreams, the person who has invited you to interview, explaining your position just as frankly as you have here:
    'Dear Shangri-La Academy, yours is the only job I am applying for this year, as I have admired you from afar with deep longing for many years now, and cherished in my heart the idea of one day being utterly yours. However, I would rather not tell my currrent employer until I have been to interview with you. May I please ask you to contact Mr Mugabe only if and when you decide to take my application further after interview?'
    They will understand. We've had this kind of plea in the past, and I know that some HTs come on like a rejected teenager as soon as one of their minions shows any sign of hankering after fresh fields.
    The slight risk you run, is that they offer you the Package from Paradise, on condition that they receive within three days a favourable reference from Current Boss, you give them permission to approach said Boss, and then s/he stabs you in the back. Which is unlikely, surely?
  13. SMT Dude - thank you so much for that. I feel stupidly relieved to hear I'm not a total fruit loop. I did indeed send that email last night - worded much the same with some similar minor flourishes of language. :)
    I have had my fingers burned in England before. I applied for a job as an NQT at a local school. I went to interview and came away not 100% sure I wanted the job. I had another interview the next day. HT of school 1 phones to offer me the job and I was very grateful and polite and asked if I could have 24hours to consider given this was my first interview fresh out of PGCE. He went nuts. Properly nuts. F'ing, blinding, verbal abuse, threats. All pretty nasty. It almost totally put me off applying for jobs and I still find it a bit traumatic - and I'm really not a soft touch at all. I suppose that's where my concern over this situation comes from. I just don't want to have to deal with toys and egos being thrown out the pram.
    Sometimes it's not as easy as saying "you either want to leave or you don't". I have a good and promising job in an outstanding school that treats me very well. I teach a high demand subject - why would I leave for any old job? I feel you either want to leave for the right job in the right school or you don't.
  14. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    I suggest you could be throughing away good candidates. If the other boxes are ticked I'd interview them and raise the question during the interview. Most times it's something simple, such as not wanting to rock the boat by declaring thoughts of leaving.
  15. ml02slc

    ml02slc New commenter

    You have saved me having to post because I was going to ask the exact same thing. I am also doing the same as you, I have put on the application form 'Please do not contact head teacher until after interview. I have recent references from my employers that I can pass onto you in the mean time.' just in case. Like you I'm happy at my school and don't want to upset them but I have wanted to work abroad since I started teaching a few years back (head is aware of this as I went for an international job last year and it fell through).


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