Recruiter In Korea

The Honest Truth About Recruiting in Korea

Archive for October 31st, 2009

Treat Your Application as if You were Applying to a Job in your Home Country

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Just a pointer for all your new (and some old) applicants.  I know that many of you are weary of recruiters due to the reputation this industry has, but if you’re going to be rude or condescending or demanding in the interview or anytime during the application process, don’t expect him/her to do you any favours.  It’s an interview for fucks sake!

Also, DO NOT call asking if we received your resume.  Sending in a resume does not guarantee a job.  Every applicant is carefully screened so if you don’t hear from us it probably means we’re not interested.

Written by recruiterinkorea

October 31, 2009 at 5:52 pm

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Visas in Korea

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I found this on Wikipedia.  Very informative and interesting.  The number of E-7 visas (designated activities) compared to E-2 visas (language instructor) is comparable.  I always thought there were more E-2 holders but I guess that’s just the nature of my job.  I know a couple of people on E-7 visas but it’s a bitch to get (ain’t the E-2 a bitch too?) because immigration is very specific on who can get his visa.  The people I know are researchers for a big hagwon here.  Oh, they also have to go on visa runs to extend/renew.

If you have dreams of working in Korea other than in the teaching field you can pretty much forget about it unless you have an F-series visa or if you’re lucky enough to get an E-7.  Visa laws are pretty strict here as I don’t believe there are working holiday visas like in Canada or Australia (but correct me if I’m wrong).

Written by recruiterinkorea

October 31, 2009 at 5:06 pm

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The Economy’s Impact on Recruiting in Korea

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Everyone seems to be under the consensus that the economy is in the shits right now.  But hey, at least the U.S. is ‘officially’ out of a recession.  What does this mean for the English Education industry in Korea?  If you’re applying for a teaching position right now, you’ll probably not receiving many responses (unless you have a teaching degree/certificate or experience).  Basically the market is flooded with instructors; here’s link on ESL Cafe noting it (  Couple that with the lackluster economy of Korea and you’ve good the supply overriding the demand.

April and May are generally the worst months for recruiting instructors since  most students graduate in May or June and there always seem to be more positions than applicants during those 2 months.  The months following the lull (June, July, and August) tend to be ‘prime time’ months for us recruiters; tons of applicants enough for an abundance of available positions.  This year however, there were more than enough applicants for every month of the year.

However, it’s not necessarily a field day for recruiters.  Slow demand means we just have a bunch of instructors with nowhere to go.  I’ve actually heard of recruiters from other agencies sending candidates to schools for a mere fee of $200 or $300.  Our agency?  We actually ‘gave away’ (sorry can’t find a better term right now) a few instructors for free just so we could find them a place.

The SMOE fiasco is somewhat reflective of this but in that case, it was more of a case of over-hiring on purpose to cover any holes they had experienced in the past.  What a bunch of fucking dummies.  If you got fucked over by SMOE would you apply to them again?  We actually had other agencies calling us begging us to find a place for these poor souls who went through everything from the visa process to even buying their flights.

Written by recruiterinkorea

October 31, 2009 at 7:38 am

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10 Things That You Should Know About The Instructor Recruiting Industry In Korea

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Okay, some of these things are obvious but some may be something new to you guys.  Again, any feedback or rebuttal is welcome.  Please keep in mind that this is not absolutely reflective of all agencies (including mine) but could be said of the industry in general.  This is not in any specific order.

1.  Good agencies offer a guarantee period to the schools they work with; if an instructor is terminated or runs away within 3 months, the next instructor is free.  What does this mean to instructors?  Basically, it means that a recruiting won’t cut off contact with you after you arrive and they receive the recruiting fee.

2.  Good agencies do not work with bad schools.  Good agencies do their research, visit schools, speak to current instructors, etc.  This leads to the next point.

3.  Good agencies think long term.  Rather than dropping a load of bullshit on a potential candidate just for them to sign the contract and send their visa documents and thus receive the recruiting fee, a good recruiter/agency provides as much possible information to the candidate and to the potential employer before they make a commitment.  Rather than trying to make a quick buck by any means possible, it’s always best that both parties are satisfied and that the instructor will complete the contract.  Happy instructors also provide good references^^.  Yes, recruiting agencies are businesses and we are looking to make money (the truth finally comes out!!).  But to be in this business for a long time, you have to think long term.

4.  There is no perfect position in Korea! There is no school in Korea that will offer a first-time instructor 3+million KRW per month with all the benefits, a luxury apartment, 20 teaching hours per week, the most ideal location, and 2 months paid vacation.  Trust me I’ve seen a lot of positions and none offered the above.  If making a lot of money is important to you, you will likely work a lot  of hours and have little vacation.  If traveling and having a lot of free time is important to you, then you will have to sacrifice a fat paycheque.  A good recruiter will try to meet all your needs as best as possible but it’s difficult to have everything that you want.

5.  Flexible candidates are given first priority and are easier to work with than demanding/inflexible ones (well duh).  The more you give your recruiter to work with, the easier it is for them to put you in an ideal position.  To be honest, candidates that are assholes on the phone and/or are unreasonably picky/demanding go to the bottom of the list.

6.  A good agency will not move forward with an application of an asshole candidate.  This goes in line with #2.  Why would we send a prick to a good school?!  They would likely find someone else to work with no?

7.  A good agency is not a ‘referral’ agency.  A referral simply passes on a resume they received to a school (sometimes without even calling the candidate).  A good agency provides as much information as possible to both parties (candidate and school), guides candidate through the visa process, and provides support after the candidate arrives in Korea and starts working.

8.  You should never, ever pay a recruiting agency a dime for finding you a position.  They get paid by the school you are placed at since they’re providing the school the service.  I think some idiots still think that instructors pay the recruiter (which is probably why recruiters have a shitty reputation).  There was actually a post on ESL Cafe about a dude complaining about it but I think it’s been deleted.

9.  Believe it or not not all recruiters make a commission or fee for placing an instructor.  Most large agencies simply pay recruiters a set salary as a regular (full benefits) employee.  Of course the agency will receive a fee per recruit.  Being that it is a performance-based job, you can’t just sit there and not recruit and expect to keep your job for long.

10.  Some things are simply out of our control.  One prime example is the issuance of the visa code.  Sometimes we get it in time and sometimes it takes weeks.  We can only press the employer to get an update from the immigration office (it’s out of the school’s control as well).  Please have patience with the system.

Well, that’s all I have for now; I’ll add more later.

Written by recruiterinkorea

October 31, 2009 at 7:18 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Hello Everyone!

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I decided to start this blog as somewhat of an information service/venting place/complaint center for the instructor recruiting industry in Korea.  I’ve been recruiting language instructors in Korea for about 4 years now.  Prior to that I worked as an instructor for one of the largest ESL schools in Korea.  I feel that I’m pretty knowledgeable about the industry but then again, I learn something new everyday.  To avoid conflicts of interest with the current agency that I work for along with the candidates/instructors that I have (and am) working with, unfortunately, I must remain anonymous.

The recruiting industry generally gets a bad rap from instructors.  Much of the complaints (hatred) is legitimate but I would also like to give our side of the story.  I know that there are a lot of shady recruiters out there who are basically salesmen trying to make a buck.  Recruiting is obviously a business where one must survive by providing services that schools demand.  That being said, there are good recruiters and bad recruiters.  The latter have overshadowed the  good ones which is why there is a bad taste even at the mention of the word ‘recruiter’.

I would like to say that I am one of the ‘good’ recruiters but also wish to share what exactly goes on in our industry so that everyone could have a clearer perspective of the nature of our jobs.  I’ll update as much as I can with exactly what goes on in my world.

I welcome any feedback and suggestions that you guys could provide!

Written by recruiterinkorea

October 31, 2009 at 6:16 am

Posted in Uncategorized