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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread May 16th, 2006, 05:52 am
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Join Date: Jun 2nd, 2005
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Exclamation Recruitment caution

I am new to ESL teaching in Korea and I've never used a recruiter before this job. I love Korea and I love teaching the kids here. My problem started before I accepted the job through Work-N-Play, an ESL recruitment agency in Seoul. This may just be an isolated incident for Work-N-Play. However, from my own experience with the agency I'm sure there has been previous problems. My problems started before I accepted the position. Much of the information supplied to me from Work-n-Play was wrong. To start, I am teaching in the southern central west coast and I was told to fly into Busan. This is much further from the town I work in than Seoul. I was told not to worry about the Medical Certificate until I got into the country.I now know you need to Certificate before arriving in country. The Plane ticket was my major issue. However, to give the recruiter the benefit of being in rush to get me here, I understand minor mistakes will be made. I initially contacted the recruiter on Jan 25 about a posting in Korea. On Jan 26 they phoned me in the US and requested I expedite effort to gather all needed documents and once I got all the documents to them I was hired. My hire date was March 1, but they told me I needed to be in Country by Feb. 27 for Oreintation.They also emailed information about the job and the things I needed to do to get all the documents. This was a pre-printed format type letter that I now know was badly outdated. Anyway, by Feb.3, I had collected all the required documents and sent the stuff by Fedex to the recruiter. Now this is where things get bad. I still needed my visa and there was no way I was going to get a visa by the time I needed to be in Korea. The school here would apply for my visa and then once a Visa number was issued the recruiter would email the number so I could write it on a one page visa application and get to the Korean Embassy or Consulate in my state. Here again was bad info, the state I live in doesn't have a Consulate , but the recruiter's instruction indicated there was a counsulate. Now, with all the documents sent, I just needed to wait for my visa number and go. Wrong, By the 18th of Feb. still no number. The recruiter requested I buy a plane ticket to Busan (not Seoul) I corrected them. I got a ticket to Seoul, but of course you can't use a one way ticket out of the US to Korea without a visa (other than tourist). The recruiter assured me they would have the visa number in time for me to get my visa and fly with a one way ticket. On Feb. 22 the recruiter told me to hold my plan to come to Korea, but now I have a non-refundable ticket and lots of restictions about changing flight dates, if any would even be allowed. At this point I was ready to throw in the towel and told the recruiter the same, But the recruiter wrote not to worry, we will send you a ticket to Japan for a visa run after you arrive in Korea. OK, this allows me to leave the US and enter Korea as I have an out bound flight. So, off to Korea I go on Feb 25 and arrive on the Feb 25, two days early for my required Oreintation. Nope, Oreintation was not until March 3, so there was NO rush to get here. By the way, on Feb 24 the visa number was issued and emailed to me. I had plenty of time to get my visa if the recruiter had the hire date and Oreintation correct. Once here,and after meeting my supervisor on the 27th and told Oreintation was the following Monday, I told my Supervisor I had an E-Ticket to Japan for a visa run. He said, No, it's cancelled, OK, I don't know who bought it, the recruiter or the school. So, I gave him the ticket and that was that. I did go to Japan on a visa run the following week, but with a different ticket from my supervisor. I again reminded him, of the other ticket I gave him and was told not to worry, OK. NOW, I've been here for almost three months and the recruiter called me last week requesting I pay the original Japan ticket as it was never used. That's only $400.00 and I can certainly afford the money, but why should I pay for their mistake. Please remember, I really, really like Korea, my job and the teachers and kids I work with. However, the recruiter, in my opinion is really reaching if they expect me to pay for all their bad info and ticket that never needed to be purchased. So, am I wrong? Also, a warning, by all means come to Korea to work, it's great, but don't be told you have to rush rush to get here on a certain date that's just around the corner. I now know there's lots of good jobs here (I got one)and no one needs to rush for a job here.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread May 20th, 2006, 12:54 am
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Join Date: Mar 27th, 2005
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Default Re: Recruitment caution

That seems like excellent advice! There is no need to rush for any job. If you are a week or two late, only the agency will look bad. You may even want to just hold out for a job that starts two weeks later if the agency doesn't have its act together.

And, I'd say absolutely 'No!' to the recruiter. If they continue to bother you, just tell them as long as they keep calling, you will post on every ESL teachers forum about the treatment you have received and recommend other agencies with better track records.

retread - welcome to the forums BTW!
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread May 20th, 2006, 01:34 am
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Join Date: Jan 16th, 2006
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Default Re: Recruitment caution

I didn't have many problems when I came to Korea or by using agencies but it really can be hit or miss at times. Some agencies are really good but they can make some big mistakes and then that bad rep gets passed around between the teachers via the net.

I have a story...

When I was going for my present job I had some interviews for different schools and I found this guy, claiming to work for a lawyer from L.A. in the US on some website (worknplay or davesesl, one of those). We chatted on the phone and he was stating that he had a lot of experience in hiring people and he was orginally Korean but lived in America for about 10 years. His English was perfect so I had some faith in him. He said to give him a few days and that he would find a job for me. I wanted to teach only adults and my previous job was teaching mostly adults and it was the way forward for me I thought.

He phoned me the next day saying that he had a job near where I lived. It wasn't adults but he said just to have the interview anyway and if I said no then he would find another. I was annoyed that he even considered me for a kiddie school. I had a pretty bad experience in my first job and really didn't want to teach kids again. But I thought that I should go anyway and meet him and figure out if he was any good.

I met him outside the school and after a quick chat we went inside and has an interview with the owner of the school. Of course they chatted in Korean and I didn't have a clue what was being said. He said that he was able to get the school to pay 100,000 won (maybe 100 dollars) extra a month for me since I had my own apartment! Now anybody who is in Korea (I know some are from other places) will know that offering 100,000 a month extra is a joke. The average ia at least 300,000 where I live and even higher in Seoul. I was pretty browned off about this but decided not to say anything until later.

After the interview he was telling me how much the owner liked me and that the other teachers there were all female (3 or 4 teachers) and since I was the only guy I would be a treated like a KING! I would be able to have lots of fun with them! WTF! My girlfriend was with me at the time and she tried very hard not to fight with him. I tried hard not to tell him to stick his head where the sun doesn't shine! What an idiot - to tell me that right in front of my girlfriend.

It really annoyed me and I realised that he had no idea about hiring people in Korea and that he was trying to get me to join the school 'cas I would be able to have some fun. If I wanted to have some fun the why don't I live in the school apartment and not with my girlfriend and get the housing allowance? He called and I never answerd the phone. He gave up after a week.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 10th, 2006, 12:08 am
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Join Date: Apr 12th, 2005
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Default Re: Recruitment caution

Firsly getting a job teaching adults is really difficult. I know of only two hogwans that specialize in Adults one is Pagoda and E.L.S. Sisa Youngo.sams. Both have very high standards and are difficult to get hired.

One hundred thousand won as a bonus for not taking free housing is lousy. You can't even stay in a motel for that.
I've always had fully furnished housing. Getting the free housing is better than getting a tiny bonus.
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