The logistical impossibility of verifying TEFL job ads
Reasons it turns into one big 'time-waster'
Questions from teachers and job-seekers
“Are you sure that the advertiser isn’t a teacher placement agency?”
“Are you sure that the job ad is stating the correct salary because it seems a little high?”
“Is that a legitimate job ad because something doesn’t quite feel right?”
Fair questions. But unfortunately verifying the details of a TEFL job ad in Thailand is nigh on impossible.
Getting to first base is hard enough
The first step of any verification process would be to actually call the school and ask to speak to the person responsible for posting the job ad in question. For this task, you need a Thai person or someone almost native Thai fluent. There’s every chance the person answering the phone will have little more than a basic command of English and the task becomes even more of a hurdle when you’re communicating on a telephone.
I touched on this in a previous article, but many employers and schools don’t consider teacher recruitment a top priority. It can be something of a ‘necessary evil’. It’s a responsibility invariably given to a person who doesn’t really want it. The job of person in charge of recruitment can be passed around like an unwanted parcel before dropping in the lap of someone the least qualified to do it.
You can sometimes have a dozen staff members in a school admin department, one staff member will have the job of recruiting foreign teachers and the other eleven staff members won’t have the first clue which one of them it is.
All they know is that by some miracle, a fresh-faced foreign teacher usually arrives at the school on the first day of term.
Little surprise then that if one of the ‘other eleven’ is first to pick up the phone when you call to verify a job ad, you are met with painful silences, blissful ignorance and a trail that immediately goes cold.
Almost no Thai person is going to react well if you call them up and start picking apart their job ad. ‘Are you sure the salary is correct? Where will the teacher actually be working? I don’t understand what you mean by….? etc.
Thais generally don’t like being put under the spotlight. They don’t do cross-examination or enjoy giving straight answers to straight questions, especially when you are indirectly scrutinizing their job capabilities.
In these situations, you can often get an answer of ‘yes, that’s correct’ purely to get you off the other end of the telephone.
Even when you have an actual person’s name, things are rarely straightforward. The recruiter you are looking for is often out of the office, gone to lunch or throwing a sickie.
“In that case, could you get Khun Wanaporn to call back”
- “Yes, certainly”
They never do.
Numerous times I’ve had the following conversation with Thai company staff;
“Could I speak to Khun Abawat please?”
“Sorry, he’s not here”
“What time will he be back?”
“I don’t sure” (this is far more common than ‘I’m not sure’)
“Will he be back at work tomorrow?”
“I don’t know”
“Khun Abawat doesn’t work at the company anymore does he? He’s resigned”
“Yes. He resign already”
See what you’re up against? No one has the time to be bounced from pillar to post, recounting the same situation to several different staff members before eventually finding out the person you need resigned yesterday.
No one even wants to make the time.
Calling up and verifying job ad information can be a logistical nightmare. No, I’ll rephrase that – it’s a logistical impossibility.
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"if you think working in Thailand is extremely difficult or impossible, don't do it"
"If this more positive opinion offends you, well, then you can be offended by an opinion that working in Thailand is not hell on earth"
"you are entitled to be miserable if this is what you prefer"
Wow! You've just written a load of words and had a conversation with yourself.
By Liam, Thailand (11th February 2019)
I am not sure what I wrote which offended you so much, it does seem some teachers get really upset if their negative opinions about teaching in Thailand are not universally confirmed by all others.
It is interesting to see a "positive," or at least a non-negative, comment about the topic of this website being considered as being negative.
Of course each of us are entitled to our own opinions, if you think working in Thailand is extremely difficult or impossible, don't do it. I don't find it all that bad compared to other places I have worked so I will probably stick around for awhile longer (on the other hand I don't find working in Thailand easier or better than in other countries either and if a great job offer comes up from outside I will consider leaving). .
If this more positive opinion offends you, well, then you can be offended by an opinion that working in Thailand is not hell on earth. I am not trying to convince you to like working in Thailand, you are entitled to be miserable if this is what you prefer, just adding a different perspective from the normal doom and gloom postings.
By Jack, Out of town (7th February 2019)
"Maybe I am missing something, but I don't think working in Thailand is substantially any more difficult than working in other countries"
Yes, you are missing something. You've formed your opinions based off 'your' experiences. Others will base their opinions off 'their' experiences. That's the wonderful thing about opinions - you're entitled to have them. If you can't accept other people think differently to you, the internet is definitely not for you.
I've employed a few teachers over my time at a few different schools. After my first experience, I didn't want to do it again. I only did so as a favour, and I certainly won't ever do it again. For me it was a thankless task made impossible (for me) as I wasn't given the information I needed. 'Farangs' seem to like to ask questions about the job and I didn't have the answers. I made up answers and that came back to haunt me a few times. No way am I doing that again. My integrity means a lot to me.
If anyone out there has had nothing but good experiences of employing for their schools, good for you. I have no reason not to believe you. You continue doing you and I'll continue doing me.
By Liam, Thailand (5th February 2019)
While I can kind of understand the psychological motivation of some English teachers to paint all Thais as incompetent and unprofessional, I haven't consistently had all the same problems others seem to constantly complain about over my past couple of decades in the country.
Maybe I am missing something, but I don't think working in Thailand is substantially any more difficult than working in other countries.
By Jack, Land of smiles (1st February 2019)
I despair over the poorly spoken and written English displayed by so many Asians workers/employers and some Asian businesses in Asia.
It is indeed scary to see so many Asian workplaces behaving in such an unprofessional manner, regardless what their intention really is.
By wpass, In another part of Asia (31st January 2019)