As promised I thought I’d write a little post about the dreaded Recruitment Agencies. Last week I signed up to two different sites to help me in my quest for a new and hopefully rewarding job, and life in South Korea. I found these by literally google’ing everything. Seriously, I googled ‘Teaching in South Korea’, ‘Recruitment agencies for short people’ and even ‘I would like a job in South Korea…SEND HELP’! As you can imagine everything from the appropriate to the less so came up. Thankfully I also had a couple of recommendations through friends and the various different blogs I have been reading.
With so many different options however, it can seem like an absolute minefield and can be very difficult to know which one to go with, which is why I thought I'd write this little post to try and make it all a bit clearer. I’d say that the most important thing to bear in mind whilst doing your research is just that…do your research! Do it and then do it all over again. Read everything and then read everything all over again. Look at different reviews and read everything on their site TWICE! I cannot stress this enough, as it is extremely important to know exactly what you are signing up to, and on that note DO NOT PAY! A legitimate and trusted agency will receive their payment from the school in question, so if you have to pay then it’s probably not a very legitimate company and they probably do not have your best interests in mind. Remember as with everything in this venture, if something sounds too good to be true - then it probably is.
After hours and even days of searching the internet, my eyelids felt like they would never be able to close again. All I was seeing was a brightly lit computer screen, but eventually I was able to regain some sense of focus and made a decision to go with a recruitment agency called Teacheslkorea. They are an American based company who had been recommended to me by a friend who is currently teaching in South Korea. Having read through the information on their site, I decided that this was the one for me.
So far they have been absolutely fantastic. They have talked me through everything from the visa requirements, right through to which school would be right for me, and have also helped me gain a better understanding of prioritizing documents in regards to the time restrictions they each have. For example, my Scottish Disclosure (CRB check) is only valid for 6 months, which I found out the hard way. The Korean Embassy will only except these within this 6 month period, which means I have had to apply all over again for a new one. So my advice - do not apply for this too early, BUT do not apply too late, as it can take up to 6 weeks to come through, and then you have to get it apostilled of course.
I also chose to go with a second recruitment agency called Flying Cows, who have so far been less than helpful (if indeed there is anything less than that). They seemed to slightly ignore my location request, stating that there are currently no jobs in South Korea but China on the other hand have plenty. Who said anything about China?! They then went on to tell me that they have a suitable job starting NEXT WEEK, and I don’t need any documents and can leave straight away. Really?!
It was slightly frustrating as I wasn’t looking to move to China in the first place, and I certainly didn’t want to rush into anything. It seemed as if I was just a huge lump of cheese casually moving along a conveyer belt with all the other lumps in line, waiting to be processed and packaged. Whereas Teacheslkorea, told me to aim for a February/March starting time, and ensured me that they would be concentrating on finding a job and location that was absolutely right for me. Once again do your research guys, it certainly pays off.
This week I also had the painstakingly unpleasant experience of moving house, which actually wasn't too bad thanks to some amazing friends and family of mine. I feel at this point it is important to mention that the day to day business of life does still go on, so you have got to be prepared during your TEFL experience to work extremely hard in all aspects of your life, which unfortunately includes mundane things like moving house. The word 'Busy' doesn't even cut it...
Until next time...