You may have heard some intense stories from teachers of how using a recruiter was the best thing they did in their teaching career, and you may have heard some saying different- how it was possibly the worst decision they’d made. But everybody is different, and from a personal stance, I cannot express enough gratitude for the recruiters I have used in Korea and in China.
Whether you’re just starting your ESL career or are a well-traveled, experienced teacher, I believe there are some real benefits to using a recruiter on your next job search.
What is a Recruiter?
An ESL recruiter can be thought of like an agent. They do a lot of the heavy lifting in finding you a well-suited job, including coordinating the interviews and helping you with the whole hiring process once you receive an offer.
Recruiters strive to ensure your happiness and commitment to the job. They are employed by the schools, and in order to keep their own jobs secure, they work hard to make sure they have found a perfect fit for their school.
Why Might You Need a Recruiter?
I taught ESL first in Korea, then later in China. It was my first time teaching abroad, and I have a lot to be thankful for in my recruiter for making that transition run as smoothly as possible. There are so many things that can go wrong along the way, especially teaching in a foreign country and dealing with an onslaught of paperwork, visas, work permits, letters of recommendation, etc. etc.
Recruiters can help make the whole process flow along a little easier than trying to manage it all on your own.
Benefits of Using a Recruiter
I believe there are a number of reasons why you should use a recruiter. For one, they act as a filter. By using a recruiter, you have the ability to set filters in the job hunt, such as desired pay, location, workload, etc. Additionally, the recruiter will help with any translation errors, i.e. incorrect locations, contract not matching job description, and things of that nature.
ESL recruiters are on your side, every step of the way. More than once I felt I was being asked to do things for a school that fell outside my contract. I asked my recruiter for help in reaching an agreement with the school, and they came right to my aid. Yes, they are employed by the school, but they only make money if the teacher works. The last thing they want happening is for their teacher, that they recruited, to leave mid-contract.
Recruiters help make the transition abroad easier. In my opinion, the recruiters go above and beyond their call of duty. In both of my stints abroad, my recruiter ran point during the visa process, and picked me up from the airport upon my arrival. I’ve seen a number of fellow teachers come across trouble with delayed arrival dates due to paperwork mistakes, causing a lot of trouble with the initial transition into the school. Recruiters know their stuff- their daily job is to get reliable ESL teachers into the school, so they know the entire process inside and out.
How Can You Find a Reliable Recruiter?
Not everyone has had the same luck with recruiters as I have. There are a number of horror stories of recruiters taking advantage of unsuspecting ESL teachers. I recommend doing some research before choosing a trustworthy recruiter. Check their references, contact the company, and above all- trust your gut. If it feels like a scam, move on to the next one, you will find one out there that is genuine- that I can tell you.
I went through a number of recruiters before deciding on the two that I used; I trusted my instincts and did my homework researching their reputation. In finding trustworthy recruiters, I recommend you to:
Request to speak to other teachers with whom they’ve worked. Talk to another ESL teacher and ask them how their experience was with the recruiter. They’d be glad to help you out and either recommend or advise against.
Ask them all the questions. Seriously, any question you have, ask the recruiter. If there’s something in the contract that needs clarifying or you have a question about the school, ask. If they’re not very forthcoming with answers, you may want to look elsewhere.
Trust your instinct. If anything at all comes up that seems even a little shady, it’s time to move on to another recruiter. If there’s any vibe that doesn’t jive, trust your gut and look elsewhere for help.
Recruiters can be of infinite help in finding your next ESL job, and ensuring the job runs smoothly. Not all recruiters are created equal, and you should always go about using one with caution and common sense. ESL recruiters can really make your life much easier, and can truly help make the entire teaching experience an excellent experience.