Recruiter In Korea

The Honest Truth About Recruiting in Korea

Archive for November 3rd, 2009

At least these guys are doing okay…..

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I actually live close to here and no doubt, there are tons of so-called ’boutique’ hagwons in this area.  Several friends who have worked in this area (some still do) all make 4 million+.  Most of them are F-4 visa holders but these schools do hire some E-2/F-2 holders as well.

Is this the elusive ‘perfect’ position I said that was out of reach?  Well not so perfect actually:  usually no housing included, no pension/health benefits, no severance, 6-hour workday (which is quite normal), and more often than not, weekend work.  However, the high salaries usually offset any negatives; although I would hate to work on weekends.  During the summer and winter intensive months some of these guys earn 10 million+.

One veteran SAT teacher I know (he’s Korean-American) just pulled in 30 million in July and August when all the Kor-Am high schoolers come here for vacation.  He does work a hard grind though (usually 8 hours per day and 3 hours each on Saturday and Sunday).

Anyways, back to the article, this area has one of the densest hagwon concentrations in Seoul and I’m guessing in pretty much the entire country:

According to the education office, of the 2,840 hagwons in the whole of Gangnam, more than 400 hagwons are currently located in the Daechi-dong area alone, making it the largest mecca for private institutes in Seoul. Despite the recent bad economy, “the number of hagwons opening keeps on growing,” said Song Ki-cheol, an official from the district office.

As you guys know, Daechi is a very affluent area so it only makes sense to put a bunch of cram schools and hagwons around here.

So, why is it that hagwons located here are so prosperous and well-off compared with others around Seoul?

“The [Daechi-dong] area is a relatively good location for private institutions because there are a number of elite schools nearby and many apartment complexes,” said Kim Jin-ho from Seojin Hagwon.

Stepping out of Daechi Station, each of the eight exits leads to different apartment complexes, including the Eunma, Mido and Woosung apartments.

Kim also said that there are hardly any entertainment spots and that most buildings here have less floors compared with others in the southern Seoul areas.

“In Daechi-dong, there isn’t a building that is higher than 10 stories,” he said, noting that most are five to six stories high. “It’s relatively easy for a hagwon to open since it is more convenient for them to advertise using signboards.”

Though the exact year that the hagwon hot spot was established is unclear, industry experts point to a probable start in 1987.

Back then, the government lifted a ban on hagwons and allowed students to enroll in private institutions. For years, parents complained that the cost of private tutoring was excessively high and demanded that hagwons be allowed to open. Officials took note of the complaint and students were soon allowed to go to the private institutes.

In the 1980s, large institues dedicated to college entrance exams opened in Daechi-dong, such as the Jongno, Daesung and Hankuk hagwons. Then, smaller and private hagwons started opening, surrounding the larger ones.

The trend today, however, is that “parents prefer sending their children to small, private hagwons instead of the larger ones,” Kim said.

“It’s normally the case that well-known brands are popular elsewhere but not here in Daechi-dong,” said a principal from a small hagwon who asked to remain unnamed. “Also, there is a tendency that more expensive hagwons attract parents because they think that cheaper ones are low in quality.”

The principle said that that’s why hagwons here are raising fees.

“Parents here want their children to be raised as socially elite intellectuals rather than to be rich or successful,” said Kim, a teacher from a well-known Korean language hagwon in Daechi 4-dong. “Parents ask teachers for classes that are well-suited to their children rather than lectures that are for the masses. An increasing number of parents are wanting more from hagwons. For example, they want us to teach students to improve their creativity.”

The teacher said that if hagwons cannot meet those parent demands, they cannot survive.

Written by recruiterinkorea

November 3, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

How to Tell Good Recruiting Agencies from Shady Ones

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There always seems to be a thread on ESL Cafe of applicants looking for good recruiters to work with.  Here are some things I noticed of the so-called ‘good’ ones:

1.  Check out their website.  If they don’t have one, then I would be suspicious.  A professional agency always has a decent, well-built website.  Make sure their jobs and links are updated as well.  Lots of agencies have websites but they’re quite pitiful which shows that they’re too lazy to update.

2.  Is the email address they’re using a free email like hotmail, gmail, yahoo, etc?  Again, a professional agency would put the time/money into getting their own domain.

3.  Do they reply back with a call or email within one day?  Regardless if they have positions or not, a call (or even a quick email acknowledging receipt of request) is the professional thing to do.

4.  Do they speak at least near-fluent English?  Personally, I would never trust a recruiter that spoke broken English.  This leads to miscommunication and frustration for both parties.  An established agency always has at least one or two native speakers on hand to speak to recruits.

5.  Stating the obvious, but be weary of recruiters trying to offer you a contract within the first 2 days before all the information/policies have been hammered out.  You never have to use only one agency.

6.  Don’t ever send them documents unless you are sure you know which school you want to go to and that they are able to offer you that position.

Written by recruiterinkorea

November 3, 2009 at 11:05 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tough It Out, Advises Former Flu Patient

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The government is expected to raise the alert level for H1N1 to the highest yet today which will likely affect many schools and teachers alike.  Is it all fear-mongering though?  Here’s a snippet from the Korea Times of a Korean law student who contracted the virus but now is fully recovered.

“Many news reports and groundless rumors, particularly regarding the vaccine’s side effects, are refueling the fear unnecessarily.”

I can confirm that it’s no more than just a seasonal flu with mild symptoms for most healthy people. Here, I will describe what happened to me in chronological order. Of course, I don’t mean that people should throw caution away. But I intend to contribute my experience because I want to save patients from unnecessary fear.

Oct. 5: I found myself to have a sore throat with sporadic coughing, but without a chill or running nose. I began taking an over-the-counter cold medicine.

Oct. 6-7: I showed no signs of recovery despite the consumption of medicine. Stopped taking over-the-counter medicine and replaced it with pills prescribed by a hospital near my home.

Oct. 8: I found myself with a bit of a fever and a chill in the morning. My condition rapidly deteriorated in the afternoon, making me suspect I was infected with influenza A. Wearing a mask, I visited Wonkwang Univ. Sanbon Medical Center in Gunpo, Gyeonggi Province, around 4 p.m. to get an influenza A checkup. My temperature was 37 degrees Celsius. Medical staff members encouraged me not to contact people face-to-face until the test was confirmed negative. I kept taking cold medicine.

Oct. 9: No fever or chill in the morning, but a little headache. A hospital official contacted me around 8 p.m. to inform me that I had tested positive for the H1N1 virus, forcing me to stay at home without leaving for at least one week. With a total of 10 Tamiflu 10 pills – two pills a day – I isolated myself in a room and avoided direct contact with my family.

Oct. 13: No cold-like symptoms were found, but I kept taking Tamiflu along with cold medicine as prescribed. I revisited the hospital to see whether I had recovered, but doctors encouraged me not to go outside until Oct. 25 to protect against virus transmission. A doctor said that if no suspicious symptom existed on Oct. 25, it could be judged that I was fully recovered.

Oct. 25: I had no suspicious symptoms, so I returned to my normal life without any additional confirmation checkup. No symptoms have arisen since then.

Kim Jung-hyun, 28, is a graduate student majoring in law at Korea University in Seoul. He can be reached at

Written by recruiterinkorea

November 3, 2009 at 10:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized