Site Search:
 

Banner

Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index Teacher Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Hiring the right people

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index -> ESL Management
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
corey



Joined: 17 Jun 2003
Posts: 34
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2003 8:22 pm    Post subject: Hiring the right people Reply with quote

Hello,

It seems we have a lot of lurkers here, but not many posters. So in my own humble way to try to get info from others, I am going to start giving some by posting some things I have learned along the way. If you think I am wrong or have something to add feel free.

Today I am going to start with a topic that perpetually plagues us - hiring the right people for the right job.

First, let me start off with a time-tested axiom - "You get what you pay for". In my experience, even in third world countries, the quality of teacher you can recruit and retain improves dramatically with pay scale.

Second, recuiting has never been a problem for me, but I understand that in some places (i.e. Asian countries) it can be. Every day I see ads on job boards for teachers (sometimes not even teachers!) that are scary. Take one recent example from Dave's job board. A chinese school, in the middle of the SARS crisis was advertising itself as "SARS-free". Honestly I think they would have been better not mentioning SARS at all. Did anyone really believe they could guarentee their school was SARS free? In my opinion this lowers credibility.

I also feel that it is incumbent on the schools to treat teachers with respect and understanding, instead of treating them like chattle (a common complaint). I cannot tell you how many teachers I was able to hire because of good references from past or present instructors.


The Interview

I'm a big believer in intuition over metrics. Of course it is nice to have a prospect fill out a form with a little information, but anything more than one double-sided page is overdoing it IMO.

I think it goes without saying that you should look for people who are long-termers (either residents or have a good reason to stay i.e. boyfriend/girlfriend).

With regard to certification and experience, if you an find someone with a GOOD certificate AND experience - HIRE THEM!!! However, if you are forced to choose between a certificate and experience, this is where intuition comes in.

One girl came into my office with only a certificate (a CELTA mind you) but no experience. The course was going to start ASAP (not uncommon if you know what I mean!) and the choice was between her and a couple other people. They had been at some local private ESL institutes, but I just didn't get that "feeling". I hired the girl, gave her some basic training and let her go. She was one of the best hires I ever did.

I also try to keep the interview informal. The prospect is probably nervous enough without me giving them the evil eye. This is important because I look for people who look "comfortable". I'm not a big fan of super-hyperactive teachers, although I have met some who do a good job.

A final word of advice - CHECK THE REFERENCES - I know sometimes it is hard or we are pressed for time, but it is definitely worth it. And don't promise anything in the interview you can't deliver. A good teacher can easily be turned into a disgruntled teacher.

Good luck,

Corey
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
shmooj



Joined: 11 Sep 2003
Posts: 4
Location: Chiryu, Aichi, Japan

PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2003 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I made two big mistakes because I forgot (can you believe that!) to check references.

Personally, hiring was the worst part of my job. I'm grateful now that the school owner does this though of course I have to take the rough with the smooth. If the teacher comes with baggage I have to sort this out.

Personally, one of the downsides of TEFL being an international thing is the difficulty in getting candidates for interview. Some people can really sell themselves on the phone or on paper but when you meet them you know in two minutes they would not fit at your school. I can't really see a way round this.

Also, you would not believe (or maybe you would) the kinds of replies you get to ads. These people can hardly write English and want to teach it. Do you bother replying to those?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
sita



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 261
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2003 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hiya!

I am happy how easy internet has made life...

You just mail a CV and a covering letter

and maybe you are interviewed on the phone.

My question always is: Do I want to teach for the school?
Not: Will the school employ me?

It may sound arrogant but I am honest Twisted Evil

Best wishes
Siān Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
corey



Joined: 17 Jun 2003
Posts: 34
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2003 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Shmooj,

Would you believe I caught a fugitive by checking. Very important to check references.

As for the people who can barely speak English - that's what the trash can is for. Cool

Corey
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Sherri



Joined: 10 Oct 2003
Posts: 3
Location: Tokyo

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2003 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello
I only just found this forum. Hiring the right people is so important and so hard to do. I am lucky that when I started doing this I worked with some really professional people who taught me the ropes. I work in Tokyo, so we have the luxury of being able to demand face-to-face interviews. I always insist on the candidate being available for this. I just can't tell what I need to know with a telephone call or emails. I totally agree with checking out references and previous employers, one of the worst hiring mistakes I ever made could have been prevented if I had done this (he sexually harrassed the office staff!).

Another thing I think is important is to conduct the hiring process with at least one other person. It helps me so much to be able to go through the pile of resumes with someone else to short list and to be able to discuss the interview with someone else afterwards.

I like to call the shortlisted people first and have a chat with them on the phone. It can save a lot of time because you can clear up contract conditions right away, so if someone is not available at the time you need them, you will know right away. I also spell out what they can expect at the interview, how long it will take and start dates.

After the usual first questions we like to set up the candidate with a hypothetical lesson situation. We leave them alone for about 15 mins to brainstorm lesson ideas based on some of our materials (usually a video clip). Then we can see how they think on their feet and can ask very specific questions about how they would handle certain situations.

Our whole interview can take about 2 hours for a candidate we like. It is a very exhausting procedure but I think it is one that works. I always tell the person when we will let them know the results, good or bad and I always get back to the candidate. I think it is awful to bring someone in for an interview and not let them know the results. It is hard to make a "rejection" call, but I try to make sure they understand exactly why they were not hired. I have even had people come back after a year or so to reinterview after hearing what they needed to do to improve.

Still it is a very inexact science isn't it? After all that 9 times out of 10 I can tell whether someone is going to be hired in the first 10 minutes of meeting them!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Lionel



Joined: 16 Jun 2003
Posts: 4
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 1:48 am    Post subject: basic interview Chcklist Reply with quote

Hi Corey & everybody. Just reading Corey's comments regarding
hiring people and in my experience he is dead right! Even good HR people admit that the interview questionaire/metric tests serve only to back up intuition.

Having said that, I am looking for a questionaire that I can use for hiring IELTS tutors that will assist in an "objective" selection of good teachers.

Cheers
Lionel n NZ
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Clarrie



Joined: 02 Jun 2004
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 5:50 am    Post subject: Good (general) teacher or IELTS teacher? Reply with quote

Strikes me that this distinction would very much determine the types of questions you ask!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
aclay



Joined: 21 Jun 2004
Posts: 2
Location: USA/Georgia

PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 2:17 am    Post subject: The value of instinct when hiring a teacher Reply with quote

Yes, I agree with the value of instinct when hiring a teacher. I receive many resumes for a single position. Many are retired public school teachers with many years of experience and many qualifications, but they just do not have the personality to teach an ELP class.

All of the postings have given me valuable information and pointers on hiring. Thank you.

Anne
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
suzyteach



Joined: 04 Sep 2011
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I definitely think that you should use your instincts when hiring people for teacher jobs. Your instincts always seem to make the best choices. However, I would also say that you should double check your references on everyone that you are hiring! They could definitely save you from a disaster.

Best,

Suzy Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
EnglishRyan



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

suzyteach wrote:
I definitely think that you should use your instincts when hiring people for teacher jobs. Your instincts always seem to make the best choices. However, I would also say that you should double check your references on everyone that you are hiring! They could definitely save you from a disaster.

Best,

Suzy Very Happy


I worked in recruitment for a time and what Suzy says definitely rings true. A few of the ESL teachers we were looking at weren't completely truthful about their qualifications and background. If new teachers cannot provide you with original copies of their qualifications and letters of reference, something is fishy.

Anyway, just my two cents. Good luck all! Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
naturegirl321



Joined: 18 Jun 2003
Posts: 10
Location: Suwon, Korea

PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

EnglishRyan wrote:
I worked in recruitment for a time and what Suzy says definitely rings true. A few of the ESL teachers we were looking at weren't completely truthful about their qualifications and background. If new teachers cannot provide you with original copies of their qualifications and letters of reference, something is fishy.

Anyway, just my two cents. Good luck all! Smile

While I totally agree that asking for originals is a good idea, in this day and age, it's simply not enough. It's easy enough for people to get fake degrees. Do a google search and you'll find places online selling them, and places like Bangkok have them for sale. Walking around the tourist area there, I saw fake degrees, references, as well as international driver's licenses for sale.

So while getting the original is a good idea, I'd also ask for transcripts and would try to contact their alma mater to see for sure if they'd graduated.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address
raptorjesus



Joined: 14 Sep 2010
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:44 am    Post subject: Re: Hiring the right people Reply with quote

corey wrote:

First, let me start off with a time-tested axiom - "You get what you pay for". In my experience, even in third world countries, the quality of teacher you can recruit and retain improves dramatically with pay scale.


Sadly a large percentage of private institutes will pay terrible rates and demand more than the teachers are required or even able to give.

Quote:
Second, recuiting has never been a problem for me, but I understand that in some places (i.e. Asian countries) it can be. Every day I see ads on job boards for teachers (sometimes not even teachers!) that are scary. Take one recent example from Dave's job board. A chinese school, in the middle of the SARS crisis was advertising itself as "SARS-free". Honestly I think they would have been better not mentioning SARS at all. Did anyone really believe they could guarentee their school was SARS free? In my opinion this lowers credibility.


I'm in China and I've always been able to find teachers. Getting my bosses to hire them is another story. The first school I managed had this endless struggle of getting the school to understand that unless they actually offered something to the teachers, there was no motivation for them to stay.

Seriously, this made me snigger just remembering this just now..

Boss: "Americans should be happy to have jobs. Their economy is terrible! Why do American teachers only stay 6 months and then move on?"
ME: "Economy might stink in America but it's great for American teachers here in China. They are rice farmers who you can abuse and get away with it..."
Boss: "I treat my foreign teachers great!"
ME: "I know and so do the FTs. They've heard all of our screaming matches you and I have had over them......"

So yeah.. funny how that works out.

Quote:
I also feel that it is incumbent on the schools to treat teachers with respect and understanding, instead of treating them like chattle (a common complaint). I cannot tell you how many teachers I was able to hire because of good references from past or present instructors.


Yeah.. can't say it much better myself.. I tried easing the load for my FTs in regards to marketing. No Foreigner, except maybe a blind deaf mute, wants to stand on a corner in China and pass out flyers. I don't even much like it even though I took on a large extra load of it to ease all the stress of it.


Quote:
The Interview

I'm a big believer in intuition over metrics. Of course it is nice to have a prospect fill out a form with a little information, but anything more than one double-sided page is overdoing it IMO.

I think it goes without saying that you should look for people who are long-termers (either residents or have a good reason to stay i.e. boyfriend/girlfriend).

With regard to certification and experience, if you an find someone with a GOOD certificate AND experience - HIRE THEM!!! However, if you are forced to choose between a certificate and experience, this is where intuition comes in.

One girl came into my office with only a certificate (a CELTA mind you) but no experience. The course was going to start ASAP (not uncommon if you know what I mean!) and the choice was between her and a couple other people. They had been at some local private ESL institutes, but I just didn't get that "feeling". I hired the girl, gave her some basic training and let her go. She was one of the best hires I ever did.

I also try to keep the interview informal. The prospect is probably nervous enough without me giving them the evil eye. This is important because I look for people who look "comfortable". I'm not a big fan of super-hyperactive teachers, although I have met some who do a good job.


Super-hyperactive teachers annoy me. Most of the complaints I dealt with regarding teachers talking too fast were from the hyperactive ADD fiends.

Quote:
A final word of advice - CHECK THE REFERENCES - I know sometimes it is hard or we are pressed for time, but it is definitely worth it. And don't promise anything in the interview you can't deliver. A good teacher can easily be turned into a disgruntled teacher.

Good luck,

Corey


Too true.. check the references and check the resume. I weeded out many teachers simply by googling various items on their resume. I asked one fellow why he put down the name of a person who didn't work in the company he did for a reference the guy came right out and admitted he faked over half his resume.

I passed him onto English First. That's my typical mode for low performers and liars. Pass them onto EF.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index -> ESL Management All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Teachers College, Columbia University: Train to Teach English Here or Abroad
SIT

This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group