You will have worked with Explore CRS for 4 years when you finish your contract in June. What has kept you here for this long?
I’ve enjoyed everyone that I’ve worked with, and interacting with all kinds of people, from principals to hiring managers, and fellow recruiters, and of course teachers. You are working with people from all over the world, so it’s just been really exciting and interesting.
You were teaching before moving into recruitment. What skills have you been able to bring with you?
I think the main benefit is that I knew what it was like to teach, so I had an understanding about what teachers wanted, and what teachers were looking for. Most of the schools that we work with are bilingual schools, so understanding Chinese students is helpful when talking to teachers. You can give advice to teachers about what it’s like to work in a Chinese bilingual school, the pros and the cons, and how to navigate the whole system here, and what to expect, if you have done it yourself.
The kinds of teachers that Explore CRS recruits are often a lot more specialised than your typical ESL teacher. What are some of the differences that you’ve found when working with these different types of teachers?
A majority of the teachers that I’ve worked with over the last 4 years started working in their home country first and then they came to China. They have proper curriculum experience from whatever country they are coming from, be it AP, A-level or IBDP, or even a combination of these. It’s a matter of seeing which curriculum experience they are most comfortable with, and then trying to refer them to a school that would be a good fit for them.
I have also worked with TEFL teachers who aren’t fully qualified, and who are maybe in the process of getting that qualification, such as doing their PGCE here. In the US we have TEACH-NOW and TeacherReady, which are specifically designed for those teachers who have been abroad for a while who want to stay abroad, but want to get the certification from the States.
Especially now, with travel restrictions being what they are, a lot of schools that we work with are willing to hire those teachers who aren’t fully certified yet, but are in the process of getting that certification. A lot of schools have needed to become more flexible in that way.
What challenges did you experience when moving from being a teacher to being a recruiter?
I had never really worked in an office setting before, so this was the first time I’d ever gone to board room meetings and worked at a desk in front of a computer for most of the day. That may sound trivial, but that was something that took some getting used to.
I started in the summer of 2018. That was actually a good time to start in this job, because it was the slow period. Most of the schools had already hired all their teachers, so there wasn’t actually a lot of recruitment going on. That was a good time to really build up that network of teachers, through LinkedIn, though referrals, or through teacher registrations on the website. I had the chance to learn about the role without being thrown into the deep end.
How have you improved professionally in your time with Explore CRS?
I’ve been able to develop my communication skills a lot. Talking on the phone with teachers and having multiple calls in a day, 5 or 6 calls sometimes, and even ZOOM calls, was a new experience for me. I remember actually being quite nervous sometimes, sitting in the office and having a phone call with a candidate or a client, and thinking ‘Oh my god, everyone is listening to what I’m saying.’ I think that’s something I’ve improved on a lot, being able to communicate clearly.
I’ve also gotten better at being able to manage a lot of things at the same time. From having many phone calls in a day, to being involved in organising the job fair, to handling everything during the busy season, which usually runs from after the October holiday up until Chinese New Year. In my first two years we held two job fairs, one in Shanghai and then we flew straight to Abu Dhabi for a second. It was hectic, but they were great experiences.
What advice would you give to your replacement?
They would be starting in the summer, which is a good time to settle into the role. I would recommend doing some research about the three types of curriculum that we hire for, that is A-level, IBDP and AP, as I remember this was something I wished I’d known more about before I started.
I’d also recommend really getting to know the schools we recruit for, because there are a lot of really excellent schools to learn about – what their curriculum is and what they are looking for in a candidate.
Above all I would say give the job time. It can be really rewarding, both at a professional level and on a personal level. At the end of the day we are helping people. We are changing lives, not just for the teachers we recruit but also for the students they will work with. That’s something I’ll always be proud of being a part of.
Join Explore CRS!
If you would like to work in a dynamic recruitment team, Explore CRS would love to hear from you. Read the Explore CRS Consultant job description to learn more about the position and to apply.