ESL Recruiters

Why Use A Recruiting Agency To Search For Jobs In Korea

Or better yet, why take advice from a recruiter who is telling you to use a recruiter?

We know that the ESL recruiting industry has its fair share of trust related issues. We’ve done our best to provide a non-bias and honest take on the reasons why using an ESL recruiter is in your best interest versus searching for ESL jobs in Korea independently.

Don’t limit your options by over-presenting your application.

An important factor to consider when you begin your job hunt is deciding on which recruiting companies you want to represent you, and how many companies you want to work with. We’ll start off by saying; don’t look for over representation if you have specific location and school requests. 

If you have specific requests for employment then don’t apply to 10 different companies, it will likely have a negative outcome. Example: If you’re only interested in teaching in Seoul, only want private schools, don’t want any kindergarten level classes, and would like to start in June, then there’s only going to be so many schools that meet those requests. Additionally, out of those schools there’s only going to be a select number that are interested in your application. Many of the credible and established private English schools in Korea use multiple recruiters and there is a good chance that your application will end up being submitted to the same school(s) more than once. Once this happens the school is going to realize you’re working with a lot of agents and they may not make an offer. Secondly, the recruiters will likely realize that you’re working with an abundance of other companies and as a result they’re not going to waste their time presenting you to more of their clients.

Just to be clear, we’re not saying that you should work with one company only, exploring your options is definitely something you should take advantage of. We’re simply advising people to take a balanced approach in order to maximize their options.

Public School Policies – One application only


Please be advised:  The public school programs (EPIK & SMOE) will only accept the same person’s application once; meaning, teachers who pursue jobs in this area of the market can only submit one application per semester.  Why?  EPIK & SMOE issue jobs from a central office that coordinate job placement with recruiting companies.  Once you’ve been submitted your name and number automatically go on file and if you’re submitted again by another source than you’ll essentially be listed as a double submission. Note:  If you choose to work with multiple recruiting agents for jobs in this sector then the company who submits your application to the program head office first will essentially become your representative for the remaining stages of the application process and during your contracted term in Korea.  Meaning, once you’re applications been submitted you can’t switch your representation.

Reputable recruiters that deal with Korean schools should help you with the following:


  • Understand school contracts and the respective stipulations within them
  • Provide informative documents and resources during the job and visa stages
  • Put you in contact with other western teachers (private school sector)
  • Assist you with your travel arrangements
  • Offer pre-departure tips and advice
  • Coordinate your arrival in Korea with your school
  • Provide help and assistance when needed during your contracted term

Disadvantages of using an ESL recruiter?

If your recruiter is honest then there shouldn’t be any disadvantages. The problem is; there are many small ESL recruiting companies, start-up companies, inexperienced employees working off commission rates only, etc. Many of these factors contribute to the problems surrounding the English school industry in South Korea.  Companies or individuals who are desperate to place teachers in order to sustain their incomes may, at times, provide illegitimate information in order to make the placement.  If the recruiter that is representing you happens to fall within one of these categories then the chances of receiving false and/or inaccurate information (in hopes that you will sign with them) greatly increases.

Applying directly to Korean schools

This is also an option, just make sure that you’re able to speak with other western teachers at the school before you sign the contract, and make sure the school knows how to guide you through the visa procedures.

Something to consider: Many of the larger and more established schools in Korea prefer to use recruiters for a number of reasons. First off, recruiters offer schools certain guarantees that are associated with the costs of bringing westerners into the country. Secondly, most of the reputable schools are quite selective with their hiring needs; therefore, reviewing numerous applicants before they make a decision is usually required. Lastly, many schools simply don’t have the time and resources to recruit teachers on their own, arrange interviews, provide documents, guide them through the visa process, organize airfare and airport pickup, etc..

We are not saying that applying directly to a school is bad, because it’s not, just make sure you double check things before you sign the contract. Many schools that recruit their own teachers are only doing so to save money, and if so, then you may have monetary issues with the school at a later date.

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