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Most countries are changing the tasks, structures of schools, and the education system as a whole. These changes are strongly influencing the role of leadership within the schools and thus it becomes essential to select and develop appropriate candidates for these positions. As Guarino (2006) states an effective recruitment program depends on the following:

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    • Developing an attractive benefits package
    • Rapid responses to workers’ need
    • Providing accurate information and knowledge to applicants
    • Auditing recruitment process
    • Providing an effective training

Although these are standard benefits that come with the job whenever a job is offered are they the same for everyone? As far as Middle Eastern schools are concerned, many schools choose to select white or origin teachers on a much higher salary scale compared to teachers from African or Asian origins. Before I share my experience of recruitment within my school setting, I would like to give a little background about my school. I work for an International school that follows the National Curriculum. My school is part of a large International Educational group. Therefore most policies are made in the corporate office and then communicated to all the schools to be followed. The same is the case with the recruitment policy. All schools within the School Network follow the same recruitment policy (refer to Appendix A). It is worth mentioning here that most leaders within my school are either native or white. In January 2020, a team of three leaders was put in charge of recruiting a suitable candidate for the position of Assistant head of innovation and E-learning. I was part of the team as the head of innovation and E-learning. The person who was to be recruited would be reporting directly to me and the vice principal. Furthermore, recruiting the right workers would minimize employee turnover. This is what I wanted to be sure of the person I recruit actually wants the position because they want to progress in the area of innovation and E-learning and not just for the sake of getting a leadership role on their profile. To better understand the issues in recruitment and the increase in white supremacy in International schools it is worth looking at Gardener-McTaggart’s (2020) article where he has rightly highlighted two major theories of Bourdieu’s concepts of field (1977) and habitus (1984) according to which humans acts in groups termed as ‘fields’ and the most successful in the field are those whose ‘habitus’ fits best. To a certain extent, I agree with Gardeners-McTaggart (2020) why white people take on most positions of power within the international school setting firstly because there is a dominance of individuals with qualifications and competencies that suit the field and secondly it is because the field seeks habitus in line with the ‘successes’ within it and thereby continues to reject people who do not fit the field. However, looking at the increased number of universities now offering ample opportunities to everyone around the globe to gain qualifications and up-level their skills the future looks hopeful.

Looking at my own example although recruitment is supposed to be handled by the team, we were constantly being instructed who should be shortlisted as this position was ideally supposed to be filled in by an internal candidate who is aware of our policies and procedures within the school. Although as an employer I am an advocate of equal opportunities for all internal and external candidates at this point we were instructed to focus only on the internal applicants. During this experience, I remained positive by looking at Vlachos’s work (2009) which stated that selective hiring can confirm that the right person, with the abilities, knowledge, qualifying characteristics, and skills in the right position, so that, they able to adapt with the organizational culture and environment. We received a list of shortlisted candidates from the Human Resource Officer for the interview process to begin. As a team, we decided to take a two-part interview. One is where the candidate will present their vision about where they want to take innovation and e-learning department of school and the second part would consist of questions and answers. Most candidates chosen were either NQT teachers who had recently joined the school or teachers who were looking to change roles within the schools. By looking at their profiles, they did not seem to be a good fit for the role however we were to choose the best amongst the lot. I tried to argue that we should look at the external candidates too but was soon silenced as the cost of external recruitment would have been much higher than recruiting someone internally. We started with the interview process and finally short-listed two candidates out of the ten internal candidates. One profile of one was an NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) native with experience in lead planning of computing. The other candidate was of Asian origin with ten years of teaching experience and has been in the role of Head of Computing for almost two years. We chose to go with a Teacher of Asian origin. The details were forwarded on to Human Resources to make the final contract and the offer letter for the candidate. However, it was shocking to see that the pay rise for the Asian Origin Teacher was a quarter of what was initially told would be offered to the chosen candidate. This is not a very uncommon practice in the Middle East where the salary packages are not based on expertise or years of experience but based on the nationality you belong to. An NQT holding a foreign passport will be offered much more benefits and salary compared to an Asian passport holder. It was shocking for the candidate too however as not many leadership opportunities are provided to other nationalities within my schools therefore most candidates think of it as a ladder to gain experience and then move to other schools offering them better packages which is also one of the reasons for high employee turnover in my school.

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