Most recruiters are reputable, but there are always a few horror stories out there about money loss and identity theft. There are a few questions you should ask before you leave your job hunt up to a recruiter to ensure that they are indeed legitimate.
- Where have you placed people recently?
If they struggle with this question, it should be a huge red flag. A recruiter who can’t tell you where he’s placed teachers probably hasn’t placed any.
- Where are you located?
The best case scenario is for the recruiter to tell you a name of a city in China. Regard any other response with caution and remember, a shady recruiter might lie, so double check what they say by verifying street addresses or website domain registries.
- What jobs are available right now? Can you tell me the names of the schools (or provide me with their web addresses)?
It can be more convenient to apply through a recruiter, but you shouldn’t take their word for it that the school they are encouraging you to apply to is reputable. Do your research. Look up the school. See if you can contact former teachers. At least make sure there aren’t any threads on Dave’s ESL Cafe about how awful the school is. And if your recruiter can’t tell you what jobs are available or the names of any schools, then why would you want them to help you find a job? What help could they possibly have to offer?
- Do you have to pay money for the recruiter’s services?
The answer to this question should be, NO. Teachers do not have to pay recruiters in China, and if they ask for money they are not legitimate.
- How long have you been in business?
New recruitment agencies and TEFL companies pop up all the time in China. It’s not that unusual for a company to have only been around for a year or two, but if your recruiter says, “Um.. a month,” you should probably be suspicious.
- What kind of visa do I need to work in China?
The answer is a Z visa. If you’re recruiter or the school that the recruiter directs you to tells you otherwise, they are lying or ignorant of Chinese laws. Either way, don’t trust them and NEVER agree to go to China on a tourist or student visa if you plan to work in the country. You could get kicked out and have to pay a fine. You must have a Z visa to work legally in China and you must get it before you arrive in the country.
Check out their website. Put the recruiter’s website domain name into WhoIs and see whose name is on the account. If you’ve been talking to Hanai Lee in Beijing, but the website was created by Jerry Fakename in Sweden, dump them.
Never give out account numbers or SSN numbers! Recruiters do not need this information and anyone asking for it is fraudulent. Be smart. Don’t give out personal information. The one exception to this is your passport. Often recruiters and schools will ask for a scan of your passport to ensure that you aren’t lying about your nationality or citizenship. If you feel uncomfortable giving this out, blur or crop the passport number at the bottom. You can show your boss a full passport when you’ve accepted a job.
Do you need a recruiter to get a teaching job in China? The answer is no. You can find a job yourself simply by contacting companies directly. A recruiter can be a help or a hindrance, so only use one if you trust them and they actually seem to be working to find reputable schools for you.
And if you do decide to go with a recruiter, ALWAYS do your own research on any schools he or she directs you to. If there is anything about the school that makes you uncomfortable, ask your recruiter to either negotiate with the school to make the contract acceptable or continue searching until you find a school that makes you feel like taking the leap to teach English in China.
Have you gotten a job in China through a recruiter? Tell me about your experience in the comments below. Do you have any additional tips or recommendations for finding a legitimate recruiter? If there is anything I’ve forgotten, tell me and I will add it to the list. Thanks! Hope you enjoyed these 6 Essential Questions to Ask a Recruiter before Teaching in China.