Foreigners coming to China for ESL jobs has become the popular trend. They have different ways of finding ESL jobs, but most use Chinese agents. I’m explaining the reasons and the advantages of using agents.
Some schools do put ads on the website to attract foreigners especially those from English speaking countries to apply for their ESL jobs, however, some foreigners don’t know which websites have more jobs or they couldn’t recognize the Chinese language, so they have no idea how to get in touch with those schools. Some foreigners don’t use Chinese websites often. This is one reason.
More and more schools cooperate with agents all over China. So they can get candidates more easily and more quickly. Agents are mainly responsible for connecting with foreigners that want to find ESL jobs and always free and happy to recommend them to schools, since that is their job. They live on finding ESL teachers for schools and ESL jobs for foreigners, so they are always proactive to cooperate. Besides, agents have cooperation with different types of schools from different areas, and know the pay scale and other details. They know what kind of teachers are suitable for which schools and deserve what kind of benefits. According to their experience, they can also help you compare among your offers and give you their suggestions. Schools don’t have a lot of time in recruiting, so they can not devote all their time in it. That’s why agents exist.
Agents have the experience of sending foreign teachers to schools, so they know the process of getting a working visa, and what documents are needed. They know which schools can issue the z working visa, especially when they have cooperated with them. They will never hope visa things go wrong before a foreign teacher arrives or even after arrival, since they will need to be responsible for the foreign teachers and also the schools for some time, until everything gets on the right track. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about visa too much. Agents will assist everything and warn something when needed.
Agents can help you understand a lot of things related to teaching in China. Foreigners know little about different types of schools. Agents cooperate with a number of schools all over China, so they know the difference, including the schedule, class style, class size, courses taught and most of other things. If you are confused, just ask them, they will be patient to explain to you. That is also a part of their job. Agents are almost from China, and you will come to teach english in China, so you will certainly want to know about the local life, including the weather, the culture and customs, the living cost and etc. They have lived in China for many years, though they live in one city, and know less about other cities, they know where they should search about the life in other cities.
I believe foreigners care more about the reputation of schools. Not much information could be found online, especially for those smaller schools, and you might read a lot of bad comments online about some schools sometimes, but that shouldn’t be the only standard. You might lose a good opportunity just because of some bad comments, and it’s probably not for the same school. In China, there are many centers in different cities, but has the same school name, so you couldn’t tell if it’s a good school by the comments from other centers under the same name. At this time, agents could help you understand. Before they cooperate with schools, they will also do some research. They will not do business with dishonest schools. They can not guarantee, but they could hear something from foreign teachers and other agents, they also have a chat group that is used to expose those unreliable schools. Once they find it’s not worth cooperating, they will stop contacting them. That is good for foreigners and good for themselves. After all, they want to build long-term partnership with foreign teachers and schools.
Last but not the least, agents make the job market more competitive, that means foreigners will get a higher pay than when they connect with schools directly. Foreigners could find many agents to help them get the best available ESL jobs, which causes the competition between different schools, actually between the schools. If a school likes a foreign teacher a lot, they will ask their agent to persuade the teachers to work with them, so if the teachers raises to have a higher salary, they will probably agree. As agents, they always want to satisfy their candidates to make it work, but those candidates have different agents to contact, which makes agents do more to get the teacher.
Above are some opinions I have about finding ESL jobs through agents. Hope that helps!