Why recruiters on LinkedIn need not to think like a typical recruiter

Ahh, recruiters! You can’t bear them, yet you can’t live without them. Actually, it’s not that you can’t find a job without recruiters, you CAN! It’s just that, you want to network with every possible lead that has the slightest chance of landing you your next big job.

Okay, so we all know by now that recruiters work for the employers (Chinese schools for example). We all know that they have financial incentives by these employers and the more positions they fill the more money fills their pockets.

Most people don’t mind whether or not a recruiter gets a commission for something as simple as introducing two parties. But things get complicated when…

Teaching in China: Why you should be lying to your recruiter!

About a decade ago, when I was fresh out of highschool applying for jobs through recruitment agencies, agents knew that I had little to know experience in a work environment (in a place like Sydney, experience is crucial even for the most basic jobs). They were smart enough to give me tips on how to convince my potential future employer how I was a suitable candidate and yes, that included lying and manipulating words to your advantage.

At the end of the day, these recruiters understood that employers weren’t going to be paying me an hourly rate of $18/hr for my looks, obviously they already had a system in place to make quadruple the money invested in me back in sales or services rendered, etc.

Fast forward some 10 years, now that I have my university education and expertise in my field, every single recruiter (in China) wants to sign me up tomorrow. Of course, I had to work hard to get to this point and I have high requirements. When I tell them what my salary expectations they quickly get offended replying with comments like “this is china” and “too much”.

You might be thinking that’s great for you, but how’s this relevant for me?

Here’s the thing, people like me are rejecting alot of teaching jobs that are coming out of China. The recruiters for these jobs are the laziest people that you will be in contact with. The literally see all of their clients (on both sides) as a quick cash grab. You can use this flaw against them.

Are you getting rejected by recruiters because:

  • You don’t have a degree.
  • You dob’t have the citizenship of a so-called “Native English Speaking” country.
  • There’s some requirements that’s automatically disqualifying you from the job within the first 2 minutes.

Well here’s the solution for you, LIE!

If anything, you will be doing these recruiters a favor as they are getting a nice sum of $$$ for every teacher that successfully signs up at a school. All you are doing is bypassing their lack of skill, in other words you’re doing their job for them. I am quite serious about this, lie and cheat your way until you get a chance to impress the school (interview/demo lesson). Once you have impressed the school (and negotiated your benefits), you can bring up your flaws, treat it like there’s been a miscommunication.

Schools WILL hire you if they like you enough!

Chinese rules and laws only apply when it suits them, this means that they don’t necessarily comply with their own laws if they don’t feel like it. I personally have witnessed schools hiring people that don’t have any of the requirements listed on their job descriptions. The fact is, schools will hire anyone if they are desperate enough. That person could be you if you know how to play your cards well.

So, the next time you have a recruitment agent questioning you. LIE! Even if the agent bothers enough to get off their ass to find out that you’re lying. You’ve burned your bridge with 1 agent, there’s 1000’s of others to burn :D. In the telemarketing world we call these people “Gate Keepers”, because they’re standing in-between you and your future job!

5 Tips on acquiring high paying teaching job in China.

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. The schools are out, students and teachers alike are enjoying a well earned break as the 2015-2016 academic year comes to an end in China.

Tip 1: Don’t underestimate your value!

Too often I see skilled teachers with years of experience accepting salaries way below their potential. Even if you weren’t a teacher back home, it doesn’t mean you don’t bring highly needed skills and knowledge into your potential future classroom. Never under sell yourself, because Chinese recruiters and schools generally aren’t as generous as they should be (especially since you will be the main reason why most parents will be willing to send their kids to that particular school).

Tip 2: Do your research thoroughly!

This is another very common mistake first time teachers make in China. Training centers and recruiters do their best to convince us that 6,000 – 10,000 RMB is a huge amount of money (especially since local teachers are getting paid less than you *the pity card*). The fact is, as a newcomer to China, everything will cost you more than it does for the locals, even other expats would have found ways to save money over the years. Do you research on forums, join Facebook groups of the region your interested in going and ask around what is the average salary for someone like you (don’t go on what recruiters tell you).

Tip 3: Negotiate and Negotiate Hard!!!

Business in schools is very much the same as in class discipline. If you come across weak, desperate for a job, willing to accept any salary they offer you. You’ve already lost. After your probation period, it won’t be long they will make excuses to pay you less, make deduction from your salary because you were 2 minutes late to class, etc. By negotiating a higher salary from the get go, you are telling your employers that they need you more than you need them.

Tip 4: Know when to accept a job.

If you play it safe and accept the first job that comes your way, the chances are you won’t be receiving the highest possible salary that you deserve. Think about it, when are schools most likely to make the highest offers? When they are the most desperate of course. The trick is to not be desperate to be hired yourself. Let me share a personal experience with you all.
This time last year I was living with my parents in Turkey, after searching and applying to 100’s of jobs I was getting desperate to find a job and get out of Turkey (away from my parents, hehe). It was so bad that I was considering training center jobs that paid as low as 10,000 RMB. But, you see I had already done my research and based on my experience and qualifications, I knew I wanted 20,000 rmb after tax (because that’s what I deserve). It was then that a recruitment agent put me in contact with an international school. Before long the school offered me 22,000 RMB after tax plus free accommodation on campus. Eventhough I hadn’t negotiated a higher salary (since it was the highest offer I had received). They tried to reduce their offer to 20,000 RMB at a later date and I refused. I told them they would either higher me at 22,000 or I wouldn’t work for them (that was a very risky bluff), they accepted to pay 22,000 RMB.

Tip 5: It’s a numbers game!

I’m sure you have heard of this line many times before in many other topics. It also works true for finding your ideal job. If you apply to enough jobs, if you have done your homework and your salary expectation is within reason. Then you will definitely find that high paying job that you’re looking for, there’s no doubt about it.

A weekend away – Xi’an Edition! (places to go for expats living in China)

In this series of posts I’ll be sharing some of my travels in China. To start things off I’ll be giving you my experience getting to Xi’an, the hotel I’d selected and visiting some of the attractions there including the fabulous Terracotta Army!

IMG_20151128_133816

1. Nanjing to Xi’an – train or airplane?

easid-7768-media-id-1302

Whilst it is possible to take trains the easiest and fastest way is to fly. The major pro to taking a train is that you get to have an enjoyable night ride where you can socialize and make new friends. Flying is a good option if you want to save on time or if the timing of the train departures clash with your work or personal schedule.

Whereas the Skyscanner app is useful for international flights, domestic carriers all have deals that are available on Ctrip. You can purchase your tickets online or call them directly. You can even visit them in person at their airport branch or at their office in Nanjing.

Flight duration: 2hrs        cost: between 600-800RMB

Train duration: 8hrs        cost: from 608-684RMB

2. Airport to Hotel – shuttle or taxi?

d698f95d577f4aa183a5c6c7

There is an extensive and inexpensive (average 25RMB) shuttle bus system that can take you close to or even to your hotel, depending on where it is and what time your flight arrives. If you happen to miss the last shuttle bus then be prepared to fork out a bit extra to a taxi driver. Always remember to insist on their using the meter, though, or you will be paying way over what you should.

As a side note, the train station is located fairly close to the city center (3km from the Bell Tower Hotel) and all the major attractions, it is possible to catch cheap buses or even walk to where you need to get to if you wanted.

3. Where we stayed: pros and cons.

Bell Tower Hotel02

We stayed at the old but lovely Bell Tower Hotel. The staff were extremely nice, and the location of the hotel is second to none in Xi’an. However, the hotel has been around for a long time and some of the rooms may look slightly run down. The view from the window, in my opinion, made up for the worn state of the room and facilities.  We had a direct, unrestricted, view of the beautiful Bell Tower of Xi’an, which is absolutely gorgeous at  night.

4. The Drum tower and Muslim food street.

IMG_20151129_125833

I would suggest visiting the Drum tower around eleven am or three pm as there are daily drumming shows put on for the public inside the tower. The entry fee is 35RMB for the Drum tower and if you wish you can purchase the tickets for the Bell Tower there as well. (As much as we admired the Bell Tower from the outside, we didn’t have enough time to visit it).

IMG_20151129_131420

The Muslim food street is right next to the Drum Tower so after visiting the tower many people head down the street in search of good food, souvenirs and the like. My favorite thing for a long while on that street was a spicy breaded and deep fried squid – there’s nothing quite like it on a cold night. Also, coated and fried bananas are really excellent, as well as all the noodle dishes you can lay your hands on – a Chinese friend once told me that noodle dishes from Xi’an are especially delicious, and they are!

3. The Wall and the Beilin Steles Museum.

xi-an-in-one-day-terracotta-warriors-city-wall-day-trip-from-chengdu-in-chengdu-148974

Now, it’s not the Great Wall of China, but it is a pretty nice wall to walk around or go on and have a stroll or a bicycle ride around. Every ancient Chinese city had it’s own wall, Nanjing has the remnants of one and so does Xi’an. Xi’an’s wall is the most intact due to fortifications and rebuilding of certain sections so a bicycle ride around it is a great sightseeing and a light, refreshing workout.

stele-forest

The Steele museum is another one of my favorite attractions in Xi’an – it is a museum comprising ancient stone tablets which scholars used to record important academic and political works, poetry and even art. The stone tablets filled me with a sense of awe at their different sizes, engravings and ages. The surrounding courtyards are quiet, clean and very charming. A really relaxing getaway from the city bustle.

4. The Terracotta Army.

IMG_20151128_132414

This world famous attraction is quite far from the city and it takes about 40mins to an hour to get there by public bus. There will be many tours offered and taxi drivers will be shouting at you left and right but the best and cheapest way is to go to the bus depot and find bus 306, get on and sit down. Sooner or later the driver or the fare collector will come by and sell you the ticket for about 5-7RMB one way. The entrance to the warriors itself is about 90RMB and I would strongly advise not to accept any tour guides that try to convince you to hire them at the gates. Anything they can tell you will already be in your booklet or online…plus a lot of them just try to get their groups to buy things from the stores.

IMG_20151128_122301

There is a sort of standing, all-walls covered, cinema with the history of the Terracotta Army and how they were discovered on loop in one of the buildings, in English and Mandarin with English subtitles. It’s not long and it’s totally worth a visit after walking around and seeing all the cool excavation sites and what’s in them.

When you’re all done you can easily catch another 306 bus back into town, sometimes these buses will not be in the parking lot they dropped you off at by at but the roadside parked facing the direction to head back to the city center.

As a final note, I’d advise that you try to leave the site no later than 3 or 3:30pm as the traffic, by the time you get to the city, will become nightmarish if you leave after those times and you really don’t want to be stuck in traffic after a day of exploration!

If you have any questions at all about getting there, things to buy (or not buy!) or even getting around; I’d be super happy to help out! Post your comments and questions below!

IMG_20151128_212717

How economies effect a foreign teachers salary.

In this article I will discuss how economies effect a foreign teachers salary and I will also touch on why it’s important for you to be aware of it.

Okay, let’s say that you signed a contract early August 2015, you flew out to China by September and you have been teaching and saving your money (for whatever purpose; paying of debts, funding your next trip abroad, saving up for a business venture). Early August 2015, the conversion rate of Chinese RMB to US Dollar was: 1 USD = 6.3 RMB approximately. At this point, you might be saying, what’s the point of all this? Well my friend, you’ll see soon enough.

Now, again let’s assume for the sake of the argument that you are a qualified teacher in your home country and you accepted an offer for 19,000 RMB over a 10 month contract. Now this is the part how economies effect a foreign teachers salary. When you signed up over a year ago, you did your math and calculated you would be getting paid $3K USD per month, giving you a net pay of $30K over a 10 month contract, Great! Fast forward to today, as I am writing this article (6/July/2016, 10:55 AM) RMB hit a record high: 1 USD = 6.959. It’s a record high, that’s great right? NO!

How economies effect a foreign teachers salary.
The graph of Chinese RMB losing value over a period of 12 months.

What this means is that over that period of almost 1 year, the money that you have saved has just lost value be 10%. So, in reality, you didn’t accept a job for $3K per month, you accepted a job that was paying $2.7K per month.

There’s a similar story if you had accepted a job in Malaysia. If you had signed up for a 2 year contract around July/August 2014 where $1 USD = 3 RM (Malaysian Ringgit), you would be surprised to find out for the past year, it has been floating around $1 USD = 4 RM. So last year, all foreign teachers received a 33% pay cut (unless some were lucky enough to renegotiate their salaries).

How economies effect a foreign teachers salary.
The graph of Malaysian RM losing value over a period of 24 months.

So, before you accept your next job offer, consider the state of your target countries economic state and negotiate well accordingly.

Investing in Australia’s property market.

Having been to a place like China, I was amazed at the number of empty buildings and “ghost cities”. My amazement was further climaxed with the news from one of our local Chinese friends who informed us that anyone who buys property in China can only lease the property for 75 years. Afterwards, the land and property goes back to the government.

Initially, that was quite confusing for me as I grew up in a place like Australia. Australia, a beautiful country, a place where you can buy land and it will be forever yours. See, it’s not just the idea of keeping land forever in your name, but in Australia we have the general notion that the value of Real Estate, whether it is land or property that it should “double in value every 10 years”. This is what Australians consider solid “Capital Growth” where we are enjoying both the increase in value of the property and we can also be enjoying higher returns by renting out the property.

If you’re a smart investor, you know where to look, what to buy and when to buy it. Growing your wealth anywhere from 10-20% per year is a common experience.

Now, you might start thinking “well that’s great news if you’re Australian!”. Actually, I would say that Australia is quite “open” to people wanting to invest in the property market in Australia.

In fact, investing in Australia has other benefits like the potential of becoming an Australian citizen. You heard me right, at this moment in time the Australian government is offering an investment visa to people willing to invest $1.5 million Australian dollars (or 7.25 million RMB at this point in time) over four years. It is my understanding that people under this visa  would be eligible to become an Australian citizen after 4 years, having this kind of arrangement can be ideal especially for Chinese parents and families who want to send their kids to prestigious schools and universities in Australia. Even though this opportunity is out there for everyone, I see this as an extra convenient arrangement for Chinese parents who want to invest their money for their kids and grand kids allowing them to have a bright future.

Sources:

https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/891-

http://emergingmarkets.me/guest-article-chinas-aggressive-hunt-overseas-property-yuan-goes/

How to find a job in China

how to find a job in china

China

A country, an idea, a dream come true, an exercise in patience. People who visit China for a short term rarely have the opportunities to really experience the incredible and many times, unbelievable, things that will happen to you while living here. Those that want to come live here very rarely have any clue as to what to expect or how to navigate their way to better jobs, apartments and places to buy the things they need. In this post I’ll look at how a person wishing to come to China to find work as a teacher can secure a decent job via the worldwide web.

How to find a job in China:

Step 1. Sign up to a few major job search websites.

Websites like the famous Dave’s Esl cafe, Serious Teachers and (my personal favorite) EChinacities are the starting place for all teachers who want to work as foreign teachers in China. Ensure that your CV is up to date and well formatted, and documents such as your degree certificate and/or any other relevant certificates are scanned and clearly visible when you open them on your device. Go to the above websites and create accounts, upload your documents and begin sending applications to all the jobs you want. They are free to register with and use and their databases are huge as schools in China are very well aware of them and use them as a main source of finding their foreign teachers. Cover letters are a nice touch so if you see a job that looks like the right one for you be sure to write one going into some detail as to why you’d be the best teacher for the job.

Step 2. Ask all the questions.

Seriously. Ask the person that contacts you about doing an interview everything you can. Questions like what salary range is being offered for the position, if the figures quoted are before or after tax (that actually makes a huge difference in numbers, I’m talking thousands of RMB worth of difference here), if there’ll be any extra duties or if you’ll be required to work on weekends or evenings. Things like how many sick days you’ll be getting and whether your insurance is paid for or not. Also, most importantly, ask about their disciplinary policies for teachers – deductions from your salary for punctuality/behavior/not turning in lesson plans on time? Ask about airfare reimbursement and housing allowance. Be extremely careful if they make a salary offer at the beginning of your talks and change it after a few days because you don’t have some special qualification or the other – that’s just untrustworthy and a real red flag that the school can actually afford to pay you way more than what they’re offering but being stingy to funnel the money meant for foreign teachers elsewhere (yes, that is a personal experience I witnessed and went through myself!).

3. Read and re-read the contract they send to you.

And do not agree to sign until you confirm that they can fully provide you with a Z working visa and something called an FEC (Foreign Expert Certificate) or an Alien Employment Certificate. Schools that are registered as such in China will provide teachers with FECs but places like language training centers and places designed for after-school lessons can’t hire ‘teachers’, only employ ‘trainers’ so their documentation requirements are slightly different. Furthermore, after you sign a contract no changes should be made to it. no adjustment of any pages, policies – nothing. I have heard stories of contracts being altered in front of the people who signed them. That is illegal, do not let anyone tamper with your contract.

Notes on recruiters

Once you sign up on one of the websites and keep applying for jobs, it won’t be long until you have recruiters calling you every minute to set up interviews. Always stand your ground and insist on what you want – they need you more than you need them. Teachers are much more in demand and much less available in China than other Asian countries. My partner Mustafa highlights some of the struggles he faces with recruiters on our current job hunt for positions in China in the video below.

When you are hired

Remember that you will not have your passport for a couple of weeks after you arrive, that’s how long it takes for the PSB in China to get your FEC. So, don’t book anything too far in advance or anything that you can’t cancel easily! Also, there will be an adjustment period that could be potentially difficult – give yourself at least two months before making any decisions as to whether you want to stay at that job or find another. With that in mind, don’t stop searching and applying to jobs until those initial two months are over. Most likely those two months will be a probationary period as stated in your contract and you could leave (or be fired!) with very little to no negative consequences for both yourself and the school.

In all, that’s a little bit from me and Mustafa on finding jobs in China. More posts on this topic will grace this website soon, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and we’ll get back to you, pronto! Good luck!