As we all know, foreigners have different ways of finding an ESL job in China. They could connect with schools directly, but this is actually not easy or effective enough. It will take schools and foreigners much time to match. They have different requirements and expectations about the teacher and about the job. As time passes by, finding an ESL job through an agent is becoming more and more popular.
There are two types of recruiting agents or companies in China. One is only responsible for recommending teachers to schools. They assist the foreigners during the whole process, but they don’t charge from the foreign teachers or deduct from their monthly pay. Those foreigners will not sign contracts with agents, and agents won’t have to take care of their visas. Because schools, their employers will do everything. The other type of recruiting agent is responsible for sending foreigners to schools, and they will be paid for this every month. They pay you, they issue you a work permit and they manage you. If you choose the first type of agent, that means you will work for a school, and if you choose the second type of agent, that means you will work for a recruiting company.
Now we will analyze the differences between working for a school and working for a recruiting company.
Working for a school means you are a member of a school. You are controlled by the school. They will train you to be a better teacher. They will pay you through the year. They offer you a free apartment or housing allowance, and they assist you to pay for the utilities fee and help you settle down. They will sign a contract with you, and help you apply for a work permit. They are responsible for all your paperwork. Everything happens between you and the school. You two have very close relationship in all aspects.
Working for a recruiting company means you are a member of the company. The company has cooperation with a certain type of schools in some certain areas. Those schools prefer to hire foreign teachers this way. Some of them don’t have the license to hire foreign teachers, and some just don’t want to manage a lot of things like visa, accommodation and etc. Schools pay more attention to teaching and try to improve their teaching quality and everything. Recruiting foreign teachers is only a very small part of their job, actually that’s HR’s job. If a recruiting company could help them do all these things, they would be very happy to pay for this, which saves a lot of time for the school. If you work for a recruiting company, you will be trained by the company. They will arrange you a job at one of their schools. Sometimes, you might need to teach at several schools at the same time in the same city for sure. Your apartment is usually provided by the recruiting company. They will process your work visa and work permit and follow up about the whole process. They will be paid every month as long as you are working at their school. Your salary will be deducted. However, all these will be agreed by you before you sign a contract with them. They usually don’t tell you how much they get from your monthly pay, they tell you how much you earn. If a school is not satisfied with your work or attitude, they probably tell the company how you behave in their school. So you will always be under the company’s control. All your paperwork will be at the company’s hands. Whenever you want to leave, you need to talk with your recruiting company and ask for the documents you should have. In some areas, some public schools are monopolized by this kind of companies. Some companies have the ability to get a work visa for those who don’t have bachelor’s degrees or proper qualifications. This is a big advantage for them.
In conclusion, in my opinion, working for a school is the best way. However, sometimes you have to compromise for different reasons. If you could find a good company, that’s find too. You need to tell whether it’s a good company or not. The other advantage of working for a company is that if you are declined by one school, they could offer another school. They have many resources. You don’t have to do a lot of interviews again and again. The company almost can decide whether you will be hired. Anyway, be cautious to work for a recruiting company.