Recruiter In Korea

The Honest Truth About Recruiting in Korea

Candidates Practicing Recruiter Polygamy and Other Ways to Get on the Do Not Hire List

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Thanks to Mint Resumes for another insightful post on recruiting.

I agree with most of it, especially the part about rudeness (as I’ve mentioned many times before), but not wholly on the part of ‘recruiting polygamy’ (I love that term!).  Maybe I’m just too much of a nice guy recruiter (haha and sorry boss) but in the ESL industry in Korea, it’s best to use as many recruiters as possible.  Why?  Teaching positions here will not greatly differ from one recruiter to the next.  Looking deeper however, you would  obviously want to avoid recruiters that work with less-than-reputable organizations.

Shopping around isn’t a crime; after all you want the best position that suits your needs.  Don’t be afraid to say NO to a recruiter who can’t find a suitable position for you or gives you a position that is the opposite of what you’re looking for.

By the time you send off your docs to a recruiter (or school) however, be sure you are committed to that position.  If you back out at the last minute, then you are kind of screwing over the recruiter/school for whatever reason that may be for.

Candidates Practicing Recruiter Polygamy and Other Ways to Get on the Do Not Hire List

February 17, 2010 · Leave a Comment


The Red Wheelbarrow

by William Carlos Williams

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

Ignoring the basics – the elemental that is so important – can wreak havoc on a job search.  What does this have to do with candidates practicing recruiter polygamy?  Keep reading.

Few candidates are aware that HR people and recruiters produce their own version of a black list.

Did you call HR ‘to follow up?’  Did you get angry with a hiring manager and tell them off?  How about this – you were so freaked out and trying so hard to get the job that you lied about your experience.  Or maybe you blew off an interview.

That you?  You’re probably on it.  Here are other ways to guarantee a place on the ‘do not hire’ list:

Be rude

Not surprisingly, recruiters have a special place for candidates who yell at them or don’t have the knowledge they said they had.  You guessed it – the ‘do not hire’ list.  Call repeatedly or send your resume weekly because you’ve ‘improved’ it?  You’ll soon be on the list too.

A special shout out to C-level candidates who think they know it all.  Most managers in HR know more about employment law and the hiring process than you do.  Cut back on the hubris and substitute some humility.  And remember this:

No one should do things out of brand…

Nilofer Merchant, CEO, Rubicon Consulting, Author, “The New How”

Rudeness is ‘out of brand.’  You’re trying to impress people with, among other things, your ability to work with others.  Demonstrate it.

Lie about your skills and/or experience

I’m adding this because it can’t be said too many times.  Don’t do what one of my clients did and lie on your resume.  There is no ’statute of limitations’ on the falsification of employment applications or resumes.  Think it doesn’t matter after 15 years?  Think again – I know a client who was fired after longer than that.

Recruiters and HR people share information on candidates.  Sooner or later you will be found out.  One of the first things I received from one of my corporate clients was a list of names of people she’d never consider – no matter what.  Be absolutely truthful and claim your experience.  And if your results occurred when you were part of a team, say so.

Work with more than one recruiter

Recruiter polygamy creates a bad reputation for candidates.  It demonstrates ignorance, disloyalty and shows that a candidate just doesn’t know how to play the game.  The recruiter is making her best effort to match you with her client – why would you want to do something sure to endanger your relationship with her?  Will your relationship with an employer last longer than the one with the recruiter?  Keep both going strong and stick with only one recruiter.  This is really about fairness.

Don’t repair your background

Clean up your internet presence.  Have you got a load of comments out there that are negative or overly-critical?  Or maybe you spent a lot of time flinging out f-bombs.  Take the time to clean them up where you can.

Where you can’t, bury them with more recent material that’s insightful and positive.  If you want to be free to say whatever you want, use a site that lets you lock out everyone but close friends.  Or find another venue that’s private.

Be dirty

People have been placed on do not hire lists because they made ridiculous comments in response to requests to take a drug test.  Get clear on it from the start.  Recreational drugs are not OK with any employers.  If you’re looking for a job in the defense industry or with corporations that do contract work for the government, just assume that you’ll be required to pass a test.  Kerry Scott over at Clue Wagon has a few interesting tales on this topic.

If you’re using, don’t apply for those jobs – get into recovery.  Don’t get mad at the messenger – it’s just the way it is.  Above all, don’t make inane jokes about it.  That’s enough to put you on the list because the perception is that you don’t share the employer’s point of view that it’s a serious subject.

Go dialing for dollars

Making a phone call is something you do when you know the person you’re calling.  You’re not friends with your recruiter – it’s a business relationship that’s at an arm’s length.

Same with HR people.  Keep the email brief.  When someone has good news, they’ll call you.  If every candidate called an HR contact just once, phones would be ringing off the hook.  Cut HR some slack – don’t call.

With all this said, what’s the best way to stay off the list?  Here’s a start:

Be polite no matter what

Job seekers will always be confronted by people who aren’t professional.  That doesn’t mean it’s a license to act the same way.  Take a long look at the receptionist, interviewer, manager and director.  You might notice the empty cubes in the department, the yellowing plants, the dust on the computers.

People are under intense pressure in all industries.  HR is doing more with less than ever before.  Suspend your judgement.  You’re in the interview to get an opportunity to help, not to be critical.  Being polite is part of the price of entry.  There will be an occasional mistake regarding an interview question, a bored look or a less than excited response to your experience.  Don’t take it personally.  Do demonstrate excellent manners at all times.

More info

Read Joann S. Lublin’s excellent piece on this topic in the Wall Street Journal, “Geting Your Name Off a Hiring Blacklist.”


Written by recruiterinkorea

February 18, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. I would add look for the job first. What I mean by this; is look for a job that will make you happy. Stop looking for jobs that may be close to foreigners, etc. Put together a check list and prioritize what you want. Sometimes accepting less money can mean making more money, if you are not drowning your work troubles in Soju, or in my case food. When you have an awesome job, work stops being work and starts being fun. Try not to give into pressure both from the recruiter and peers. Remember, peers don’t sign your paycheck or give you references.

    And recruiters, darn it, listen to the prospective employee wants. I am still laughing at the dumb @ss recruiter trying to force me into a job that I knew I didn’t want and said he wouldn’t take me on. Guess what that school is not too happy with the teacher that recruiter placed there. And the school I wanted to go to and went through a different recruiter to get is very happy to have me and wants to know if I will stick around a couple more years.


    February 19, 2010 at 11:36 am

  2. Interesting advice.

    I don’t agree with everything, but there certainly are some valid points. Looking for the job is definitely the most important thing. You are going to spend a good deal of your time at school, more time preparing for school, and even more time wondering what you can do to create a better experience for your kids. It really is all about the people. Kind management normally trickles down to happier teachers and more successful students. By all means make a list, make two or three. Search the internet for horror stories and take into account some of their recommendations.

    Shop around for a recruiter. Ask questions, ask for references and referrals, see how they respond to your requests. I talked to a lot of sketchy people sending out cut and paste e-mails and not answering any of my questions. Take them right off of your list. If a recruiter isn’t treating you properly before you sign on the dotted line, it isn’t going to get any better. A good recruiter makes a world of difference. I only worked with one recruiter, because I only found one who was the type of person I wanted to deal with, but if I had found someone else equally respectable I would have worked with them as well.

    Be selfish and make the decision all about you. You unhappy is good for NOBODY.

    Interview the school, interview the teachers – ask about discipline practices, schedules, conflict resolution. You want a school that knows how to treat a foreign worker. If something is mentioned that you don’t like – take that school right off your list and tell your recruiter why. A good recruiter is going be happy that you know your own mind – that makes you easier to place.

    There are a ton of jobs in Korea and you don’t have to compromise – you may have to wait, but you don’t have to compromise.


    February 24, 2010 at 12:56 am

  3. […] as un-undesirable as possible.  Send your resumes to as many recruiters as possible (commit recruiter polygamy!).  Also, don’t only rely on recruiters.  You should also be able to find job advertisements […]

  4. Can you give more info on the no recruiting list?


    December 13, 2010 at 4:16 pm

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