Sometimes when you are looking for an English teaching job in Taiwan, you don’t always have a lot of time. Perhaps your last employer didn’t give you much notice that they were not going to renew your contract, thus leaving you without an ARC. Or maybe you are new in Taiwan and your visitor’s visa is getting short on time. You need a job quick!
For help with finding work people often enlist the aid of a recruiter. Recruiters sometimes get a bad rap in Taiwan, and some of that negativity may be justified, but not all recruiters are the same. Regardless, it’s always a good idea to know what you are getting yourself into.
One major benefit that you get from working with a recruiter is that they have infinitely more contacts than you. While you may only need to look at different buxibans every year or so, it’s their job to be in contact with them daily. They will also have built relationships with smaller schools which you may never see advertise on any of the major English language outlets, if at all.
Because of their network, you have a very good chance at finding a job much faster with their assistance than on your own. If you are new and just want to get an ARC and revenue stream rather than spending a couple of months looking for the perfect situation, then a recruiter is right for you. They most likely already have openings that they want to fill so they too can get paid.
Just as they have some benefits, recruiters have some potential problems inherent with their services. Their business is to provide service to their customers, and never forget that their customers are the schools. They may treat you like you are the center of the universe for awhile, but that is because they want to sell you and your service for their gain, thus they don’t always have your best interest at heart.
Another potential downside of using an agent or recruiter is that they usually represent lower paying positions. It could be because of their commission taking a chunk of the available salary budget, or it could be due to the fact that many of the smaller schools simply cannot afford to pay huge salaries, but whatever the case, they often pay near the industry minimum. It’s very rare to find a higher paying English teaching job through a recruiter.
So Should You Use a Recruiter?
It’s really up to you and dependent on your situation. There are good recruiters out there that actually do want to treat both the buxibans they represent and the teachers they place fairly and equally. And while they often take a lot of heat for not offering the best positions and highest paying contracts, they are providing a valuable service to those in need of employment that they can not find on their own or in a timely manner.
If you choose to use a recruiter to help you find work then make sure to choose them carefully. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and if you don’t like what you hear or see remember that it’s OK to move on. Like buxibans, there is more than one recruiter in Taiwan. We’ve heard good things about Reach to Teach, but have never used them ourselves.