Monday, July 27, 2009

Tips on recruiters and where to look for teaching jobs in South Korea

Here's the question:

Do you have any suggestions on where to find a job? I've applied to dozens of positions through and the recruiters found through the site. I've had 6 interviews now with different recruiters and two offers. The one I accepted for Seoul, emailed me a few days after and said that the position was filled since another candidate managed to get their paperwork to the school before mine. I'm frantically applying so that I can move and start teaching mid to late August. I currently live in Seattle and have all of my documents ready for an E-2 visa.

I feel your frustrations. As any manager would know, I've had to deliver the grim news to many prospective teachers whom I had already told had a secure position. Since most foreign managers are not the be all and end all when it comes to hiring, this type of thing happens way to often. Recruiters want to connect as many teachers to schools as possible which makes the whole hiring process a first-come-first-serve type deal. Korean management wants their openings filled BEFORE previous teachers leave. In many cases, qualifications don't matter. All that matters is expediency on delivering required documents. The whole process is a headache for everyone involved, especially frustrated teachers who are doing everything they can from their end.

I would recommend a couple things for you. Rather than surfing around Dave's and sending out resumes to countless recruiters, try focusing on just a few recruiters in your target area. For instance, check out Work N Play. They typically have more specified positions and sometimes schools will even advertise individual openings. I say this because recruiters are simply trying to funnel teachers into positions that need filling, regardless of stated preference. It wouldn't hurt to check out Club4Teacher, You Love It or My ESL Job either.

When you contact these schools or perhaps recruiters, make sure you are very up front with them and even a bit aggressive. They will pursue anyone who appears to be easy to recruit, so if you make yourself appear available (not desperate) and flexible (especially about location), then you should have no problems finding a decent gig.

You should also remember that it takes an average of five to six weeks for the whole process (interview to flight) to be completed. If you have a little time to spare then you should be able to land a good job in your target area.


Vitaliy said...

Thanks for the info. What happens if a candidate sends all of their paperwork (notarized, appostille, original diploma, etc) and then finds out that the position they were promised was filled? Does the school fedex the documents back to the candidate? And who pays for it?

The Expat said...

That shouldn't happen too often, but it could. For instance, I was planning on a hiring a female teacher from Washington and was told (by her) that she had mailed all of her information. Three weeks later, nothing had arrived. We had to look for another teacher. Both schools and teachers continually shop around.

If you get in touch with a school, make sure you talk to a non-Korean manager who will view you more as a person rather than completed paperwork. They will typically stick up for you.

If you get in touch with a recruiter, they will hold your info if it so happens that your school filled the position before you could get in there.

Remember, right now is the hiring rush in Korea. In a couple months, this won't be much of a problem.