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Using recruitment agencies

June 06, 2006

Can recruitment agencies deliver?

Hello again,

Schools looking to recruit native-speaker teachers are faced with a long and costly process of advertising, selecting and bringing short-listed candidates to the country for interview. And if the first trawl is not successful, then the whole process has to begin again. In addition, as school owners, you may feel that your own English is not up to the job of interviewing. So a recruitment agency ...

...could be a good solution. But there are some caveats before you decide to take this route to solve your teacher employment needs.

First make sure you select a specialized and reputable agency. You need an agency that understands all the implications of ELT recruitment and also one that is familiar with the country you operate in. The agency will be the intermediary between you and prospective teachers, so you want them to be as well informed as possible. It would be invidious to make recommendations here but there are several methods of finding an appropriate agency. You might have a regional ELT association that can make recommendations; you could enquire at your nearest British Council office or you could run an Internet search and compare the services of several agencies.

Next check that the agency gives a clear description of its services and its fees. It should be willing to advertise extensively, to guarantee minimum teaching qualifications, to interview all short-listed candidates and to offer some kind of replacement policy should a teacher fail to show up or drop out.

It should also be clear what it charges for. You should not normally have to pay a registration fee or, indeed, any interim charges. A reputable agency will charge you only for a successful placement.

Finally an agency should show itself responsible in relation to recruits. Expect a reputable agency to request references that can confirm your school’s standing and financial status.

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