Mark Newman

How long is long enough?

You've attended the job interview. You need a yes or no answer.

"Once you have attended an interview, what do you think is a reasonable time-scale to wait for either a yes, you've got the job or a no, you haven't?"

This question was posted on the Ajarn Facebook page recently.

Good timing, too. (It's April and everyone who is hiring is either on holiday, doing summer school, or binge-watching 'Thailand's Got Talent!')

Naturally, one of the questions that you asked in the interview was "When should I expect to hear from you?", right? In this era of agencies who do all the dirty work, it's nice to know that there are schools that actually do hire directly.

Of course, the variables to this open-ended question are endless... but it's still worth going over a few scenarios.

I'm guessing that the person who asked the question is applying to a government school or a lower tier private school. Later, we'll get into some of the more different options there are for teachers looking for work.

You've done the interview and you think you've done well... but it's been a couple of days and you haven't heard back: Is it you? Did you do something wrong? A yellow tie on a Thursday? Scuff-marks on your sandals?

Well, if you're asking this question, then it's almost certainly NOT you.

So, what could it be, then?

First off... timing.

Schools like to let it be known that they are hiring almost as soon as the old year has finished. (Around March.) The thing is, they're all in 'vacation mode' and with Songkran and the summer break... well, despite there being vacancies for the upcoming academic year, there's nobody to follow up on all the applications.

If you really want this job, then show up again on the day the school year starts (May) and let them know you're still available. Yeah, the office will be full of parents and the staff won't seem to have much time for you... but actually, if you're willing to sit around and wait, they'll eventually notice you and beg you to start right away.

And - incredibly - hiring farangs isn't on the top of the list of things to do when school starts again. There's stuff like handing out the new text books, catching up on the gossip and unblocking the urinals!

Applying for full-time work at any other time of year, the reasons could be varied:

Maybe they aren't hiring.
Maybe they are hiring but they are just crap at it. (More likely!)
But I reckon if you haven't heard back within three days then either contact them again or move on.

When the school year is in full flow (June thru February) there's no excuse for them not to have contacted you unless they have either filled the vacancy or you made a pass at the office girl during your demo lesson.

My rule of thumb is that they do want me to work there... but they just might not know it yet.

The higher up the food chain you go (as far as Thai schools are concerned) the more (marginally) better organized they are. You should know within a working week if they are interested in you. It doesn't hurt to ask for a business card from the person who interviewed you or at least some other way of getting in touch with them.

If you're applying for work at a language school, you'll get hired on the spot or at most within a couple of days. If you haven't heard back from them by then, then it's that massive, hideous growth on your face or you whipped out your privates during the interview, in lieu of a CV!

That's not a knock at language schools. I love them. They are great places to work in certain circumstances. (More on that in another essay.) I got taken on at one of these places within 24 hours and spent over a year there. Brilliant experience, it was.

If you're applying for corporate work then expect to wait weeks or even months to get a call. Sure, by that time you'll already have found other work, but that's how this area of 'education' works.

It takes months for corporate employers to hammer out contracts, then find willing teachers who live nearby the client and then finally get around to hiring the staff. (One of the best jobs I have ever had was as a result of me being fortuitously located near the client. I was the absolute last person on the list to be offered the job but nobody else would do it because it was just too far away from the center of Bangkok.)

So, there's no good answer to this question, really. There's also a lot of luck involved, too.

In conclusion - go with your instincts. If you're told that there are vacancies where you are interviewed and you feel you should be in the running, then badger them. It'll probably pay off for you.

Good luck.

Mark Newman

You might be interested in....

Tackling the Skype interview - Having an interview on Skype is nothing to fear if you are well-prepared

The dreaded demo lesson - How to make sure your demo lesson goes as smoothly as possible


I've always found here (Thailand) that timing really is a big part of the outcome. So, I'd say that if it's something you really want or think you're a god fit for, then I'd be sure that I was more 'aggressive' (while remaining polite and professional of course) in insuring that the key decision makers there know you're interested and available.

By Michael, Bangkok (2nd May 2016)

With only 60 days available to most new arrivals (unless you have a decent amount of cash and/or a Thai wife/hubby), schools need to realise that such applicants need a quick answer.

After uni, I'll be heading back out to Thailand with about 4 grand (pounds) and a 60 day tourist visa. That gives me about three weeks to find a suitable job and then four/five weeks for any potential employer to get my non-B/work permit sorted. I hear that the 60 days may be extendable by a further 30 days etc ,but you'll still need the employer to be on the ball and honest. Potential employees can't go swanning off on umpteen border hops anymore. Those days are over.

I guess that you can't just hang around and wait for ages for the school to act on your behalf (WP etc)? It may be reality that some schools still think they can do this, but I will be asking when I caould expect to hear from them as I don't want to overstay etc.

I don't think there is anything wrong in mentioning that during interview. In fact, it could save you a lot of bother.

Perhaps it might be better trying to arrange a few interviews before arriving (if possible)? Personally, I will be trying to do just that.

By Neil, UK (25th April 2016)

Interesting points Mark and good advice for those who worry a lot when they arrive in Thailand that they wont find a job.

Come at the right time and you can be offered a job during the interview or a couple of hours after. I got my language school job 48 hours after interviewing and was told as long as I came to interview I would get the government school job I had before.

It would be interesting to hear from someone who works at a higher level school to see what the differences are in the hiring process.

By Richard, Nawamin (22nd April 2016)

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