For Korea
FAQ

For Korea

Welcome to APPLETREE RECRUTING

  • What kinds of questions will i be asked during the interview

    Relax. Be yourself. You'll do fine!
    General Questions

    1. Could you please tell me about yourself?
    2. What are some of the things on your current job you have done well?
    3. Why do you want to leave your current job?
    4. How has your job prepared you to take on greater responsibility?
    5. What steps have you taken in the past two years to improve your qualifications?
    6. What skills and abilities do you have?
    7. D/O/B, birth place?

     

    Teacher Interview (New and Experienced Teachers)

    1. Why do/did you choose to become a teacher?
    2. What are your plans for continuing your professional growth?
    3. What kind of students do you like to work with and what type of students could you teach most effectively?
    4. How would you individualize instruction for students?
    5. How would you challenge the slow learner and the advanced learner within the same class?
    6. What kind of teachers would you prefer to work with? Why?
    7. What are some personality characteristics you find undesirable in people?
    8. How would you integrate technology into the curriculum you would teach?
    9. Would you please describe any innovative projects you have been involved in developing?
    10. Would you tell me an example of how you have used cooperative learning in your classroom?
    11. What rules do you have for your classroom?
    12. What do you consider to be your strengths and how will you use them in your teaching?

     

    Education

    1. How does your experience and education qualify you for this job?
    2. How does your education qualify you for this job?
    3. Why did you choose to attend the college that you are attending?
    4. What aspect of your education applies to this position?
    5. What training have you received that qualifies you for this job?
    6. What have you done outside of formal education to improve yourself?
    7. What training opportunities have you taken advantage of and why?
    8. What additional training will we have to provide for you if we hire you?

     

    Experience

    1.  Tell us about yourself.
         Focus on the aspects of your experience that apply specifically to the position that you're applying for.
    2.  How are you qualified for this job?
    3.  How does your current job qualify you for this position?
    4.  How does your experience qualify you for this job?
    5.  Describe a typical day at your present position.
    6.  What were your three greatest accomplishments on your last job?
    7.  What are some of the things on your current job you have done well?
    8.  What is the most difficult assignment you have had?
    9.  What accomplishment on the job are you the most proud of?
    10. What steps have you taken to improve your job skills?
    11. What significant contributions have you made to the operation of your work group?
    12. How has your current position prepared you to take on greater responsibilities?
    13. What makes you more qualified than the other candidates?
    14. Why do you want to leave your current job?
    15. How has your job prepared you to take on greater responsibility?
    16. Tell us about your qualifications for this position.
    17. What actions have you taken in the past 10 years to prepare you for this position?
    18. What steps have you taken in the past two years to improve your qualifications?
    19. In the areas where your experience falls short for this job,
          what steps will you take to make up for this shortfall?
    20. Describe yourself.
    21. What skills and abil ties do you have?
    22. Recall an incident where you made a major mistake. What did you do after the mistake was made?
         What did you learn from this mistake?
    23. What is the greatest failure you've had?  What would you have done differently?
    24. What action on the job are you the least proud of?
    25. Tell us about a difficult situation that you encountered and how you resolved it.

  • What about the horror stories of working in Korea I have he

    Our company can understand any trepidation or worry you may have about going to Korea. Also, you will probably come across a variety of horror stories, rumours and incorrect information, as we regularly do.

    Problems with a number of schools and franchise organizations do exist but they are often a result of lack of knowledge with regard to the law. Also, many recruiters are only working as part of a chain of people and only receive payment for passing on a name. Unfortunately, some agents do not provide realistic information or give full facts about employment laws. This can lead to problems. Also, remember that private schools are not regulated by the government and their adherence to employment law is often naive and simply.

    Sometimes taxes are avoided and old approaches to managing problems are taken. Add to this the lack of knowledge about cultural differences and you have disasters waiting to happen. As you will hear about in some stories. Also, many people are unsuitable for work in the classroom because they have no training. Even if you are white, have a degree and a passport from USA, there is no guarantee it will be a success. Many people arrive in Korea and are shocked about what they learn of themselves and employment in general. Some try to apply their own attitudes and countries employment laws to Korea. Also, some people get demanding and nasty with the employers.

    99% of the stories you hear happen because of these circumstances rather than a school setting out to harm and overwork a teacher. It costs the school a lot of money to employ a teacher and pay airfares. Why would they want to waste this money by deliberately hurting teachers?

    We recommend that you do as much research as possible. We provide applicants with a huge amount of employment information and often you can speak to teachers at the school.

    We do not work with middle agents and never have. Our company is based on working directly with head offices and schools. We provided a 12-month help and advice service and will investigate problems and breaches of the law. No one will ever be able to give you a guarantee. The same employment situations can happen anywhere in the world. You will not be doing yourself any favours if you arrive in Korea expecting something to go wrong.

    Many teachers are having fantastic experiences in Korea. It is a pity that they don't post their happy stories.

    Any agent should be able to give you an honest view of the work situation. We can assure you that the general market is not as portrayed in many stories. We have placed hundreds of teachers and have never seen a person fired after 11 months to avoid severance, yet we hear of this as a common horror story! Sadly we have encountered numerous teachers blatantly breaching their own contracts by teaching illegally in addition to teaching at their own school. Rules go both ways.

    If you are actively looking for the reasons not to work in Korea, then don't do it. Our company will help as much as possible, but we are not going to hold your hand when decisions have to be made. You are a mature adult making a rational decision. You must pick through the lies and distortion of facts. Please research as best you can. If you decide to use our company that is fine, but check everything else out yourself. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Try not to get caught in the hype of going to Korea and forget to check out where you are going as carefully as possible. You must learn when to trust as well and whatever you do it is your decision and you live with the outcome.

  • What if I want to leave my job after I have started?

    In Korea your visa is attached to an individual employer and a specified work location. This is very different to how visas work in Japan. You can leave your job after you have commenced work, but you must carefully check all of the legal provisions and immigration requirements to do this legally.

    It is not an easy process or simple to organise, and can become a very stressful experience. Therefore, any decision to leave an employer after you have commenced work should not be taken lightly.

    If there is no breach of the contract by either party and the departure is agreed to by both parties, the following applies:
    • You should always give 30-60 days notice (in writing).
    • If you have worked less than 6 months you will be expected to repay the original air ticket cost to your employer.
    • Don't assume that your teaching hours will be taken in lieu of your repayment for the air ticket. Airfares and wages are separate issues and must be negotiated on a case by case basis between the employer and the employee.
    • Under the labour law, the employer has to correctly pay you all wages and cannot suddenly deduct new 'unaccountable charges'.
    • If you have a land-based phone the school may be suspicious of you making (or have made) expensive toll calls. The phone bill will not come for up to 8 weeks after calls are made. It is a good idea to ask for the phone to be disconnected prior to when you will be leaving.
    • If the boss respects you and is happy to release you then he/she may be prepared to write you a release/reference letter for any new employer (stating that he/she is happy for you to find new work). This is a very important letter.
    • You cannot force, threaten or demand that your employer write you a release/reference letter. If you threaten to withdraw any services (eg. not attending classes), then you could be instantly dismissed without warning. This is legal under the labour law because you are causing a hindrance to the smooth running of the business!
    • You cannot apply for new work until you are cleared in immigration from your past employer and he has released you in immigration. He has 15 days to do this after you finally leave his employment. This same 15 day is also the time you have left in the country after the completion of a contract before you become an overstayer.
    • Once your employer has released you at immigration you are free to gain new employment and submit a full set of your documents to a new employer. This new employer will then check with immigration for your present status and in 90% of cases he/she will phone your old employer, especially if you have an unfinished contract on record at immigration. Sometimes personal information is passed on that will result in the new job suddenly being withdrawn, or the new employer may pay your old boss for immigration clearance so that he/she can employ you. Every negotiation and transfer to new employment will be different.

    Leaving suddenly without notice.
    If you decide to leave without good manners (eg. giving suitable notice) then don't expect kindness or sympathy from your present boss, or any new employer you approach for work. Your first employer has the capacity to not clear you at immigration for the remaining months of your contract, and this would mean that any new employer will not be able to employ you. You will be unofficially blocked from getting a new visa job until your initial 12 months expires.

    Leaving if you think your employer is breaching the contract.
    If you are 100% convinced your boss is breaching your contract and you can provide correct proof of this (not emotional validations as to why you think he is breaching) then you should first consider applying to be heard at a local labour court. Perhaps contact your recruiter first, for their honest appraisal of the situation and for contract information. However, DON占폯 expect that your recruiter will accurately know the labor law and be able to clarify your situation.

    However, our company does have extensive knowledge of employment law in Korea applicable to foreign employees. We also provide a free advice service for teacher we have placed, but may be unable to assist and advise teachers placed by other agents.

    Do not always assume that you are being ripped off, and have no recourse.

    In fact, in many cases the teacher's initial assumption of their contract being breached has been based on misunderstandings of the employment law, lack of employment protocols and behaviours, listening to gossip, or reading unproven internet stories of past teachers experiences. Do not assume that because you have seen a 'blacklisting' or bad report for your school, that it will be true.

    No previous employee's 'grudge' can legally form any part in your own employment complaint.

    IMPORTANT.
    At the time of your very first concerns you should request information on the law and your contract conditions from your recruiter, and if needed ask for mediation with your employer to explain and solve the breaches you feel are happening.

    Most breaches of contract are 'naive' rather than 'malicious and planned'. And if mediation is done correctly you may find that everything is resolved easily.

    If you decide to confront your boss and demand an answer to a believed breach of contract, then you may very soon find an atmosphere of mistrust and anger forming. This usually happens because both parties do not understanding the extent of the situation and will not budge from their positions.

    A true example of a misunderstanding of a contract.
    "A young male teacher complained to us that he had not been paid correctly and had worked overtime without payment.

    What he failed to mention was that he had presented a note (in Hangul) to his boss on payday accusing him of being a robber and a cheat and that other Korean staff had read this. The teacher had not checked with us if the pay was incorrect, and when we checked the timetables we found that he had been overpaid for his hours!

    Things were now turning ugly at the school with a very stressed atmosphere. The teacher wanted to immediately run away rather than face the truth that he had been in the wrong and had made a false allegation.

    This whole problem could have been resolved early on if the teacher had checked first and later given an apology for his actions."


    Departure within the first 3 months.
    All recruiters and Korean schools have a written (or unwritten) agreement that ensures the employer has a 'guarantee' that the teacher placed is suitable for the job and can do the job correctly.

    It is important that you understand what will be in place (whether you have been told of this or not). If your employer deems that you are totally unsuitable within weeks of your arrival he may be able to demand that the recruiter replace you at no cost.

    Of course, if you have decided to arrive on a tourist visa then your chances of being dismissed are higher. For example, if someone better has applied for your job off the street. You do not have any rights if you are working without a completed E2 visa or if your documents are not in immigration. Think carefully about requesting a visa be completed before you arrive. You have no comeback if you don't have a completed visa and you are working in the school. You may find you are on the street with no job!

  • I am over 40 years old. Would I get a job?

    There are differences between working for state schools and private schools in Korea. br>
    For the government programs there is an official upper age of 55 years. In the private sector there is no official age but most employers prefer to hire younger applicants. Many employers specify the applicants should be between 22-38yrs. In most cases schools treat applicants individually and will consider employing older applicants if they are impressed with their teaching experience and personal character.

    The determining factors for older applicants is appearance (especially your photo) and resume.

    If you look old, grey haired, bald, or tired looking, then job offers will be minimal. It does not seem to matter to employers that you were highly qualified or have excellent previous teaching experience. Your appearance will be the major factor. It is usually more difficult for older men to gain work because many Korean schools are owned by men and they do not like to employ males older than themselves. There is a respect for elders and age in Korea but this is usually only applicable within the family and not applied to employment (especially when employing foreigners!)

    Most Korean employers make their decision based on their gut instincts, our evaluation of you, the phone conversation and what you look like in a photo!

    Employers usually want to know the following. Why do you want to come and work for them? Why did you chose Korea?

    If an older person has varied history of employment and travel the employer may see this person as transient and unsettled. The employer may fear that you will not like children if your resume doesn't show that you have worked with children of 4-12 years of age (90% of jobs in Korea have children this age).

    Your resume should be short to the point and only promote the aspects related to your suitability as a teacher. Details of clerical work, computing, HR management, finances, computer programming or certificates and awards from 20 years ago are not needed and may even work against you.

    Sometimes it concerns employers that older foreigners may make requests for employment based on their values and personal Western lifestyle criteria. As opposed to thinking that their lifestyle in Korea should be based on the reality and realistic capacity of successfully gaining employment in another culture.

  • What are recruiters responsible for and for how long?

    Recruiters do not require you to pay any fees or costs for the services they provide to you. Therefore, you have not contracted and paid for a recruiter to work for you.

    You have simply offered your personal application to an agent to help you gain employment in Korea.Becasue the recruiter is giving you an 100% free service he/she does not have to jump to any demand and request you make.
    Nor can you blindly expect that if something goes wrng in your employment many months later that the recruiter will 'jump' to defend you. Any good employer will look at the situation without bias and offer mediation and advice, not just one-sided support.
    A Korean employer contracts a recruitment agent's service, and when a teacher successfully arrives in Korea and commences work, the employer pays a recruitment fee to that agent.

    This means that the employer is officially the business contracting and paying for a service from the recruiter, not the teacher.

    Unless you have a prearranged guarantee from your recruiter for advice and employment mediation for the term of your employment, then you are not entitled to expect any help, other than what may be offered to you out of goodwill.

    We offer a full advice and mediation service for the full 12 months of any contract- to both the employer and the employee.
    In conclusion, the teacher is paying nothing, but getting a lot of free service.

    Unfortunately, many teachers seem to assume that their recruitment agent should be responsible for everything that happens to them for the full 12 months of the work contract, NO MATTER WHAT!

    This simply is not the case. Employment agencies do not take the role of 'nurse maids' and 'mentors' for long periods of time after placing you in a job in the USA or New Zealand. Why should teachers expect that recruitment companies working for Korean employers would be different?

    You must take the time to carefully read all of your responsibilities and obligations, and the responsibilities of both the recruiter and your employer.

    Also, you cannot assume that other agents will conform to the recruitment standards our company uses. In fact, we are sure that a large percentage of agents will not have a policy for recruitment standards, let alone paperwork to back up their 'sales pitch'.

    The recruiter is NOT your employer and it is vital you understand the process of employment and how ongoing employment situations operate.

    Many applicants also have 'misguided assumptions' that all recruiters are simply looking for a 'warm body' to place in Korea (with little or no work involved). And that every recruiter is simply after the monetary rewards and is not concerned about the teacher's best interests.

    A large number of bad recruiters do exist, therefore, it is vital that all applicants do research, complete a legal visa process and get details of the recruiter's history.

    A well constructed, fancy rigns and bells website does not automatically make a good agent. It just means they have paid more for their website!!! 90% of agents that were operating 4 years ago have now closed down or remaned themselves. There are always new agents thinking they will make a lot of money, others making amazing service promises and some looking like they have historical tenure in the market, when in fact they don't.

    Try to get proof that the agent is adhering to standards and systems, has an excellent knowledge of the market and a proven history.

    In conclusion, in the Korean market many recruiters are seen as unprofessional and unorganised with no follow up services or assistance to either the teachers or the employers. However, once a teacher has settled in, has adapted to the new work environment and there are no problems, it is unfair to expect that after nine months a recruiter is responsible for a bad placement simply because an unexpected issue has arisen. You can increase your chances of having a successful time in Korea if you use an agent that promises (in writing) to offer help and employment advice for the full term of your contract.

    In the employment world, any employer and employee who have a written contract together should be able to follow procedures for resolving issues that arise before they seek mediation from a third party, such as a recruiter.

    Sometimes there is a false belief among teachers that recruiters will believe them, and agree with their version of events and if this does not happen they can be extremely hurt and may complain or even blacklist the agent for their lack of help.

    All teachers need to fully understand the roll that agents play in their employment before the employment commences. If an applicant contacts an agent who is promising amazing things and he/she believe them without first checking their claims, then sadly it is not always the recruiter who is to blame. In this case the applicant is part of the problem because they have not double-checking the claims presented to them.

    'Sales pitch' and 'fast sell and sign-up' methods are rampant in this industry, so all applicants should try and balance the unbelievable offers against the honest ones. Any responsible and professional recruiter should provide terms and conditions for employment and should be working under professional recruitment standards.

  • I am an ethnic Korean. Can I apply?

    In our experience, 90% of Korean employers will be expect hire someone with Korean heritage on an F visa. This visa allows people with Korean heritage to travel to and work in Korea. The qualifications for this visa are quite different to the E2 (teaching) visa.

    If you are from the USA and have a US passport but you were born in Korea or have family connections to Korea (such as relatives or parents born in Korea) you can qualify for this visa.

    Employers understand this visa, and often it allows them to employ American speakers for less pay and benefits than a person on an E2 visa.

  • How much can I save? What is the cost of living?

    If you are only considering Korea so that you can be assured of large savings then you may be disappointed. It is not a good idea to simply try and convert Korean won into another currency and work out a living and saving income based on what you know in your home country.

    Benefits:
    • Your housing is provided free.
    • Your airfare to Korea is reimbursed to you on arrival.
    • If you complete 12 months work you get 13 months pay.
    • Tax rates are exceptionally low .
    • If you work 12 months you get your return airfares paid for you.
    • Everyday food and transport is extremely cheap.
    • Your housing is usually very close to your school making your daily transport costs minimal or nil and your travel times to and from work small.
    Costs:
    • You must pay apartment utilities of $50-150US a month.
    • You may need a cell phone to survive.
    • Foreign food outlets are very expensive (except McDonald's and KFC).

    Usually most people can live on 400,000-600,000 won a month, thus saving at least $1000 US a month. General taxes are about 5% and compulsory. Many employers try to avoid the 4.5% compulsory pension tax. If you get both taxes taken correctly it is about 9%. Do not jump for joy and consider you are saving more if your employer takes no tax from you or only 3-5%. It may be reassessed later at the correct rate!!

    Do not judge any job offer on the basis of tax, because tax laws are the same for every school and legally every employer is expected to tax you correctly. If a job offer is saying 'no tax' it is breaching the law unless they are a university or government institution with special tax exemptions for foreigners.

    Currency conversion rates tend to go up and down according to world events and this in turn makes it difficult to give accurate savings and costs at any particular time. However, it is always cheap to live well in Korea.

  • Are there any charges or fees I have to pay?

    No, you do not have to pay any fee to our company. Your application is free. Korean employers contract our services and when a teacher successfully arrives in Korea and commences work, the employer pays a recruitment fee. This means that the employer is the business contracting and paying for a service from the recruiter.

    The teacher is not financially responsible for any payment to either the recruiter or the employer. The teacher pays nothing and gets free service and a lot of help.

    Your only financial responsibility is to pay for visa documents, passport processing costs and postal charges. 90% of the time, you will also be required to purchase your own one way ticket to Korea, with the understanding that this cost will be refunded to you once you commence work.

    Generally, recruiters do not require you to pay fees for the service of getting you work in Korea. If you are asked to pay for such a service please review carefully what you are paying for. We have known of some agents to charge fees for a service that is provided free by many other agents.

  • How should I get paid?

    In Korea all employees get paid monthly. Your employer must designate a certain time of the month as your payday, and then make regular payments at that time. You get paid for working the hours allocated in your contract. This is recorded as class contact teaching time only (normally 120 hour a month).

    Public school contracts are usually for 22 hours classroom teaching but 40 hours total onsite. Only hours over 120 hours classroom teaching a month, or over 40 hours a week are considered overtime. In the majority of schools there is no guarantee of any overtime because employers plan staffing to meet the timetabled classes. Also, any hours up to 40 a week are paid at the ordinary rate as the Korean working week is 44 hours. The law only states that it should be time and a half after a 44 hours a week.

    Preparation and planning time is unpaid and so is time between classes (eg. 10 min breaks). You should seek clarification with your director or agent regarding expectations and your job description along with a simple explanation of unpaid tasks that will be part of your contract.

  • How far ahead can I apply?

    You can make an application at any time.

    Jobs are available every month. The timeframe for starting is dependent on your documentation being ready. When you have your diploma issued then you can usually begin a job, with a visa, within 6-10 weeks.

    We will send you information to help you with the paperwork and help you understand the employment process.

    If you were intending to go to Korea within a very short time frame (less than a month), you will now not be able to as your paperwork wil take longer than this to complete. Also you must now apply fron out of Korea for your first E2 visa.

    Any ordinary travel as a tourist will require that you have a return ticket or a ticket for onward travel. There are many other important factors that need to be taken into consideration as well. Please check our website regarding the time frame of the visa process.

    It is our company's policy to advise all applicants of the problems involved with a entry as a tourist.

    We always have some jobs available for ASAP (with a visa of course) . For instance, an employer may have been let down by a teacher not arriving as planned or they may have under estimated their staffing needs.

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