7 Things a Recruiter Should Do for You and 3 Things They Can’t Do for You.

Just the other day I saw a post on Facebook regarding a teacher who was considering making a move from China to Vietnam.  Naturally the person was asking how to avoid being scammed, or hacked, or something or other. I believe the comment was along the lines of “I don’t want to lose all my hard earned cash”. To which the response was “Get a new girl to help you find that job”.  Really?! You’ve got to be shitting me. Please tell me this is a bad joke.  I had no choice, so I asked a friend who recently did his CELTA  in Vietnam, “Is it common you half to pay to get a job there?”. I believe his response was “Ahh, no.” After hearing that, I figured it was high time to help these poor souls with their job hunting skills.


Whether we like it or not, recruiters are often part of the process of finding a new gig, and not just in the ESL market. Head hunting is common practice in many industries, and unless you have the qualifications and experience for dealing directly with employers, or have a network of people you trust explicitly, using a recruiter can often be your best option.  Further, most schools prefer it and as long as you’re aware of this, dealing with them is not the end of the world. However, just to help, here are seven things a good recruiter should do for you and 3 things they can never do.


Find you a suitable position without asking for money.

This goes without saying, but how often do people need to be reminded that you don’t pay a recruiter, the employer does. If a recruiter asks for money for anything, cut the connection. A good recruiter should be able to find you a suitable position in the country you wish to work provided your qualifications and experience meet the requirements. They should also provide you with all the details regarding documents needed to prove your qualifications and how to obtain a working visa. They will provide you with a plane ticket (one-way if necessary) and tell you what to expect when you land.


Inform you of what is expected of you.

Contracts are often seen in many countries as grey guidelines, not black and white boundaries. This is often an area of conflict for many teachers. Sometimes an employer may request a change of hours, working days, or students to respond to the market because it’s culturally acceptable for them to do it. If teachers are aware of these cultural nuances, they will have a far better understanding of what they are getting into. A good recruiter should understand what employers expect from teachers and be honest about it when explaining job responsibilities and how to function within the boundaries of the contract. 


Explain your employer’s responsibilities to you.

Understanding your employer’s responsibilities to you can often be very confusing or even overwhelming when landing in a new position, especially when it's in another country. A good recruiter should be able to inform you when and how things happen such as getting your health card after arrival or how to retrieve your bonus when departing. Often small schools will neglect to provide health cards or pension contributions because it’s expensive. A good recruiter should tell you when and how to receive the benefits listed in the contract.  They should also inform you of how you can be put in a compromising situation legally and the best way to avoid it.


Describe the living conditions of your destination.

Knowing the basics of your living situation before you arrive is important. This doesn’t just mean saying your apartment is furnished.  My first teaching gig abroad my kitchen sink drained directly onto the floor and the dirty water then made its way down a floor drain. However, my recruiter informed me of this before hand, so it wasn’t much of a shock. Yes, my place had a bed, a kitchen table, cooking utensils, and a TV and while these things are nice they don’t tell what the overall conditions are like. What are the food markets like, what about health products, and do doctors, dentists or pharmacists speak English? These are often the things new recruits find troublesome and your recruiter should have the answers.


Give adequate and honest reasons for not getting a position.

Reasons for not getting a position can include lack of both  qualifications and/or experience.  It can also have a lot to do with the employer. Just because you have experience teaching university in one country doesn’t mean you’re eligible for a position teaching high school in another country.  A good recruiter should be able to explain this in terms that make it understandable.  This should also include discriminatory preferences and while we may not be happy with the answers, it does give us an idea of what the market is like. 


Explain the pros and cons of each market.

A good recruiter should be honest in explaining the pros and cons of each market to prospective teachers. This refers to both location and market segment as well as being able to outline the difference between earnings potential and lifestyle. Not many people want to go to Saudi Arabia except for the money, so if that’s where you’re headed, make it worth your while. They should be able to outline the differences between teaching corporate and children with respect to earnings, hours and future prospects related to your goals. Having solid market information can make or break an overseas teaching experience and your recruiter should understand this.


Provide advice for conflict  resolution.

We all want to think that everything will go perfectly when working overseas, but there’s still a chance that it won’t. It’s important to know that if a teacher walks, everyone loses. It’s expensive for both the school and the recruiter, and the instructor usually has to leave the country. A good recruiter should be available to offer advice should a situation turn sour. If the school simply doesn’t like the teacher, for whatever reason, a good recruiter should offer possible solutions on how to exit gracefully. This doesn’t mean they have all the answers, but they should at least try.


They can’t get you out of jail.

When it comes to getting into trouble, some people just can’t help themselves and when it comes to getting you out of legal trouble, either can a recruiter. In fact, if you land in jail it’s highly unlikely the recruiter will acknowledge your existence.  Neither will your embassy, so if you get arrested for breaking the law while working overseas, it’s best to know that you will be on your own.


They can’t guarantee you will like living abroad.

Hopping on a plane to live overseas may seem like an exciting adventure and it can be, but it’s not an exotic vacation. The two are completely different, so after the first few weeks your working adventure don't be surprised if

the shine wares off. Being an expat is not for the faint at heart and homesickness is real. Even a good recruiter can’t resolve these issues and few are inclined to babysit a new recruit whose can't understand it takes time to adapt to living overseas.


They can’t guarantee your safety.

It’s interesting when people go on vacation, they take extra precautions to prevent something from happening, like getting pick-pocketed. Yet when people jump on a plane to work in another country they think they are in good hands. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. While your recruiter should warn you of possible dangers in the country you’re headed to, they cannot guarantee your safety.


In conclusion, you are responsible for yourself and your welfare when working in another country and even with experience it can still be challenging.  Even with social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, the answers aren't always clear. Also, recruiters won't always just offer up information, so it's up to you, the recruit, to ask good questions. If the recruiter can't answer your questions, find a new one.  Where you are heading is not where you are from, so it's quality, not quantity of information that will make your stay a little more worthwhile.

Published: Sunday, April 23, 2017 1:14 AM by eslpanda
Viewed 1,052 times

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