Recruiter In Korea

The Honest Truth About Recruiting in Korea

Candidates’ Appearances

with 8 comments

This thread on ESL Cafe gave me the idea for this post.  Any foreigner who has been in Korea for more than a day will understand that Koreans in general are very ‘keen’ (sorry can’t think of a better word right now) of appearances.  Of course, some are just downright racist and sexist but today let’s just talk about physical appearance.

Recruiters essentially work for the schools (clients) so they have every right to reject a candidate.  However, I did state that our particular agency will not work with schools that request a specific physical ‘look’ as long as the candidate qualifies for the E-2 visa.  But of course they can still reject.  If we deem the rejection to be unreasonable, they go down on the priority list.

One of our best clients actually doesn’t care about appearance at all.  They currently have several gyopo, African-American/Canadian, Asian (non-gyopo) and basically a whole array of instructors of all shapes, sizes, and colours.  Guess what?  They’re one of our most successful and biggest clients.  Of course they look at the photo of all candidates that we recommend to them but the things they look at the most closely are their qualifications and the way their personality shows in their video (which we now provide to all clients).

That’s only one school.  There are others who are doing just as well who care more about qualifications than appearance but I would say the vast majority do care about the latter.  It’s just an unfortunate fact about Korea.  If you are overweight (especially), you will definitely have a more difficult time finding a position than someone who is not.  It won’t be impossible, just more difficult.  Also bear in mind that Koreans have a tendency to be pretty blunt.  They will tell you you’re fat or you have bad skin or that you’re short.  If you don’t have thick skin, you probably won’t last a year.

Also, I know some schools do some voodoo facial reading shit (I never understood this) which they use to rule out candidates.  Of course this is BS but whatever they’re reading on the face of a picture, they feel that they could read off some attribute without ever meeting/talking to the person.

Written by recruiterinkorea

July 15, 2010 at 11:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

8 Responses

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  1. I would like to know the stratification of this topic. Do public schools base their choices more on appearance, background or experience? Since public schools aren’t keeping a business alive they don’t ideally need to worry about who is at the front of the class. But I have been in Korea long enough to know that my initial logical thinking is probably wrong. *PS I work at public schools & I am white, female…average weight.


    July 18, 2010 at 9:06 pm

  2. […] a comment » From my previous post, Joy asked: I would like to know the stratification of this topic. Do public schools base their […]

  3. “Voodoo facial reading shit” – Priceless! I am in no way doubting the validity of your statement. Actually, it makes perfect sense in Korea.


    July 26, 2010 at 5:43 am

    • I want to say ‘only in Korea’ but know that this happens all over Asia and other parts of the world too.


      July 26, 2010 at 9:52 am

  4. […] As long as the unemployment rate increases in the U.S. (currently at 9.5%), jobs in Korea will definitely become more competitive.  Teaching jobs will always be plentiful in Korea, regardless of the economy.  I would love to say that competitiveness between instructors for teaching jobs will improve the quality of the ESL market in Korea, but we all know that’s not true.  I think that we can just expect an increase of pretty people. […]

  5. […] a comment » This article from the Toronto Sun made me laugh when I think about how appearances play such a big role in Korea. Attractive women faced discrimination when they applied for jobs where appearance was not seen as […]

  6. […] now schools are picky; ample amount of resumes to choose from.  In all honesty though, it could be all about appearance.  Best advice is to get a professional-looking photo and video (which is all the craze these […]

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