Job searching in Seoul–don’t try this at home

“Are you single?”
“What kind of alcohol do you like?”
“Next time we can all go out for a drink.” The recruiter waved his hand at himself, his female boss across the room and me.

I said, “I have a boyfriend. He lives in the States,” and “who doesn’t drink alcohol in Korea?”

You would be amazed at the personal questions recruiters will ask you.

During my first interview yesterday, the female recruiter said, “I saw the year you were born. You look much better in person.” (???)

As an applicant, you’ll be asked questions about your age, race, family, marriage, children, and maybe liquor likes too. To apply for a teaching job in Korea, you have to submit both a photo and your date-of-birth.

I’m looking for part-time tutoring work this week to save enough money to see said boyfriend this summer and take the next level of Korean here in the fall.

So after sending my resume out through worknplay and korea4home, and meeting with four recruiters, this is what I learned.

Recruiters may try to shoehorn you into a job.
When I showed up for an interview today, the recruiter said, “you start Thursday.”

I don’t know if this is a seal-the-deal ploy by recruiters in need of teachers, or if this is a cultural gap. In the US, applying for a job doesn’t mean you’ll take it.
There’s usually, you know, an interview first.

Pay rates also range from 32,000W/hour from age-incredulous recruiter to 50,000W/hour from aspiring drinking buddy. Shop around.

Some recruiters require employment contracts. Some don’t.

And Americans who look like Koreans get paid less as teachers.
I don’t care if you did grow up in Irvine, California.

F4 visas are for gyopos or Korean-born Americans.
F2 visas are for non-Koreans, usually those who’ve married Koreans.
Where teaching jobs are concerned, F2 visas > F4 visas because an F4 holder likely looks KOREAN, and an F2 holder likely looks…blonde.
This difference shows up in your paystub as ~$5 – $10 / hour.

Two recruiters confirmed this hierarchy to me, and a third recruiter said he’d still submit my resume for F2 openings, since I don’t look Korean.

Did I mention Korea is the most homogenous country on the planet?

One thought on “Job searching in Seoul–don’t try this at home

  1. Seth says:

    Good luck on the job hunting. At least you didn’t go to Greece, I hear jobs are pretty scarse over there.

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