Recruiter In Korea

The Honest Truth About Recruiting in Korea

North American Applicants vs. The Rest

with 4 comments

Found this thread on ESL Cafe today.  Didn’t read through the whole thing but got the gist of it from the OP.

To be brutally honest (as I always am!), this is very true.  Most schools out there are looking for American/Canadian applicants.  Of course they’ll blame it on the parents who want their son/daughter to learn N. American English from a ‘real’ Canadian/American native speaker.  Unfortunately due to the flood of applicants, it seems that the situation has not gotten a whole lot better for the British, Irish, Australians, Kiwis, and South Africans.  Granted, I’m not saying that hope is completely lost but you just have to be a little more patient.  There are still schools out there that will accept and even prefer non-North American candidates.  I know a couple of kindergartens and hagwons that exclusively hire British instructors.

Unfortunately, if you don’t fall into the mold of what Koreans think an English instructor should be like, you’re at a disadvantage and you just have to sell yourself more harder.  Of course being good looking and having experience and a good resume will definitely help but the sad truth is, the majority of schools out there would prefer an average-looking North American instructor with ZERO experience as opposed to a decent-looking candidate from another E-2 country.  It’s all about their marketing to parents who I think we can all agree are relatively backwards compared to what we’re used to.

I hate this say this but if you really want to sell yourself, you should try to ‘neutralize’ your accent during an interview.  I know a lot of applicants/instructors that trained themselves to do this to sound more North American and it actually worked.  Also, please don’t flame me for this but sometimes I would interview someone from Scotland, Wales, etc., and I couldn’t understand a damn thing the person said.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the British/Scottish/Irish accent but only when I could comprehend what the person is saying.  If you interview with a recruiter and your accent is somewhat neutral, they’ll pass the positive information along to the school which will help in your placement.

This goes for all applicants, but don’t be a douche during the interview and write a decent resumeDon’t assume that a contract offer means that you’ll actually start working there.  Try not to get fired neither.


Written by recruiterinkorea

March 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. If I had read your post say two or three years ago I reckon that I would have been in agreement. But I think that you’re really kicking a dead horse here. I’ve found that many language schools here prefer not to have Americans on staff. The appropriated American accent is so ubiquitous that there is a big leaning towards the more unique and sophisticated British accent. I’m from New Zealand. In my adopted Korean city I have perhaps the premier job and one of the highest salaries. I’ve found that once folk here including students and taxi drivers know I’m not American they let lose and vent. Many of my students are adamant that they don’t want an American accent for the reasons outlined above. Changes in the TOEIC listening test reflect this trend.


    March 10, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    • Good point about the changes in TOEIC and the seemingly more noticeable anti-American sentiment (IMO among Koreans). Like I said, there are a lot of hagwons out there that hire exclusively non-North American. But keep in mind that I’ve generally been working with the same group of schools for several years now so their tastes seldom changes. However, even among those schools, there aren’t necessarily Directors that hire exclusive non-Canadian/American but will take on a good-looking/good resume-interview-having Kiwi, Aussie, Brit, S. African, Irish in a heartbeat.


      March 10, 2010 at 11:23 pm

  2. Public school listening tests started including Toffee-English and Australian segments about 5 years ago.

    On occasions it doesn’t matter what your qualifications are-it’s like pissing in the wind. eg When I said I had a Cambridge CELTA I got the response “Is that in America?”. Err….no. Cambridge. England. 30 year old HR dicks at SK had zero idea.

    At that point 30 seconds into the interview you know you don’t have the job.May as well just cut it short and leave.


    March 14, 2010 at 9:30 am

  3. […] want to learn English from someone with a North American accent and to a lesser extent, those with British, Australian, Kiwi, South African accents (sorry guys, sad but […]

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