Monday, November 19, 2012

possible good news from afar

I got this cryptic email from my buddy Tom just now:


The head teacher is talking to the office today for your recommendation. If needed, you need to be here. On the 8th of decision, I think.

That is your daily update.


I wrote back:


Thanks for the update. Not sure what "for your recommendation" means. The head teacher saw my file and is recommending me to the Powers That Be? If so, that's mighty kind of him/her. Also not sure what "on the 8th of decision" means. Sounds as if you're talking about cricket. Heh. Does it mean that "a decision will be made by December 8th"? Or does it mean I currently rank 8th in the candidate pool?

Thanks in advance for clarifications!


So now I'm on tenterhooks. At a guess, Tom means, first, that the head teacher is asking the higher-ups to consider me, and second, that I'll need to be in Korea on December 8 for the interview... which really isn't that far away. No time for me to lose 50 pounds and appear more svelte for the sit-down.

UPDATE: I got the following reply from Tom:

I believe that the interview Is on the 8th.

He wants a good fit for office. I td him all about the big h.

I responded:

Thanks, man. Please let me know whether I even MAKE it to the interview round.

That clears up the second issue, but not the first issue.

UPDATE 2: Tom wrote back:

Of course!

You made to second round last time I heard........

That's interesting. I wonder what made them dump me last time. Credentials, perhaps? I don't have any TESOL/TEFL/ESL/EFL/CELTA certificates or degrees, but I have gone through Georgetown University's certificate program for foreign language teacher training. I made sure to note that fact this time around.



Charles said...

Is it OK for me to say that I think it is absolutely absurd that they expect you to fly out to Korea on your own dime for a job you might not even get?

If not, I won't say it.

Kevin Kim said...

I completely agree, and have told Tom that I think it's the world's stupidest policy, especially given how it screens out potential good candidates who are easily available for a Skype interview.

Am wondering whether there's some weird cultural pressure at work, here. I've long known that Koreans prefer more immediate forms of communication: face-to-face is better than phone; text message is better than email. Can SKKU's face-to-face interview policy be an example of that cultural quirk writ large? Or is it simply a matter of expediency, i.e., the unis would rather restrict their candidate pool to people who are readily available to make the switchover from their current job?

I've noticed quite a few job ads that say that one of the required application documents is a copy of one's alien residence card. Korean employers seem casually to assume that prospective employees are already on the peninsula.

Charles said...

Hmm. The expediency issue might be a factor. I took another look at the posting and saw that there was no stipulation for travel funding or housing/housing stipends. That would seem to indicate to me that they are not, in fact, looking for someone from abroad.

Compare this to job postings at HUFS. It is in our contract that we will be reimbursed for travel expenses and be provided with housing. Any school interested in hiring from abroad will make some mention of these factors, even if only to clarify that they are not part of the deal.

Obviously, this is conjecture, but the signs seem to point that way. If you make it to the interview phase, I would ask for an exception to be made (e.g., Skype interview instead--a perfectly reasonable alternative, if obviously not ideal). If they agree, then we're probably dealing with a cultural quirk writ large. If they do not agree, then they are not interested in hiring from abroad.

Nathan B. said...

I think they're not interested in hiring from abroad. It may not be an actual animus, though, so much as an idea that they may not have really considered.

Of course, I hope you get the position, and I think you deserve it. I hope that between you and Tom, you can convince SKKU that you are the best candidate for this job, even though you are not on the peninsula.

If I were you, I would purchase a membership in KOTESOL at the bare minimum in order to get a chance at this job. I would also recommend trying to get a CELTA or TESOL certificate. These things often mean more than actual teaching talent in terms of getting your foot in the door. Be the tiger on paper that you are in real life, if that unfortunate phrasing makes any sense! ;-)