After a week (or two) of stress, excessive drinking, temper tantrums and sleepless nights you finally get a job offer. Now what?
The average time it takes for a job offer to arrive is 2 weeks after the initial interview. Chances are that your recruiter only scheduled one interview for you, and when you don’t get a job offer more will be arranged. But let’s assume that you did get a job offer, and more importantly, let’s assume it’s from the school you liked the most. What do you do? Buy champagne and celebrate?
I won’t recommend celebrating just yet. I know you are excited, and that you waited very long for this to happen. Unfortunately there is still a lot to do. Let’s start with the contract. The recruiter will send you a contract (which should be in English and Korean). Read through it thoroughly. If you do not understand something, ask your recruiter to clarify it with the school and amend the wording in the contract. If you have friends already teaching in Korea ask them to read through the contract for you. You will have approximately a week before the school will want an answer. In the case of the EPIK/GEPIK/SMOE programs you will have less time, since intakes happens seasonally. Do not sign anything you are not happy with, but also be realistic. This is not South Africa, and work ethics and procedures will be different. Be reasonable in your requests for amendments.
When you are happy, you will inform the recruiter and she/he will inform the school. From here on onwards you will have to keep your head clear and your spirits high because it’s about to get messy! There is quite a lot to do before you can start celebrating and before you are officially hired. I am going to explain this in listed format, just to avoid any confusion. You will benefit from referring back to my posts about Documents and Requirements (check Categories & Tags at the bottom of this post).
The recruiter will send you an email with a deadline for document submission. It will be somewhere between 10 days and 14 days from the date you received it. Do not make the mistake of thinking you have a lot of time – you really don’t. Take away the weekends and the 3 days it takes for shipping/courier and you have maybe 5 days total.
2. Tick List
If your recruiter did not send you a checklist of all the things you need to courier before the deadline, ask them to… This is not your (or my) job, and you do not want to incur any extra costs by having to send two different parcels across the globe. Once you receive this list, get all your documents ready. Try to get an unused space in your room/house where you can make little stacks. Use paperclips and sticky notes to keep everything sorted. You should not need any running around to get all this done if you followed my guidelines in previous posts.
3. Follow direct instructions
If your checklist specifies something, don’t do your own thing even if the instructions seems idiotic to you. If they ask for three copies of the contract, signed on each page – do it. If they ask for things not to be stapled, don’t staple them. As a rule of thumb, keep the documents in the order they appear on the checklist. When you have everything sorted in order of appearance, place the checklist (checked) on top, and place the whole stack in a plastic sleeve (the ones you will use for a lever arch file). Place smaller items such as your Passport photos in an envelope before inserting into the plastic sleeve, but keep it in order of the checklist.
Remember to make copies of all the things you send them, especially the original documents like the SAPS clearance etc…if it gets lost somewhere along the way at least you will have a copy.
Choose your courier service. I opted for DHL simply because it’s the only one we had in our town. Other options exist, so choose the one you feel most comfortable with. Ask your recruiter to email you the address in both English and Hangul. Print this out, with your recruiter’s email address, cell number and office number. Take the whole lot to the courier. Here you will have to ask some help with the completion of the waybill. Double check everything before sending. Remember to keep the amount the package is worth below 100 USD, anything more goes through customs which causes a 3 day delay. Get a tracking number. Depending on the service you use, the cost should be between R1000 and R1500 (2016 prices for a document parcel weighing less than 0.5kg). The more you send, the heavier it gets and the more you will pay. Simple math.
Email your recruiter the package tracking number, and check with them if there’s anything else you can do in the meantime. Our recruiter sent us a pre-application form for our Visa. If you get something like that, don’t wait around to complete it. The faster you move, the faster they get to finalize your application.
Now you can start to celebrate!
*In the odd case that your Visa application gets rejected or somehow the school changes their mind, just remember, if one school wanted to hire you there’s probably 1000 waiting in line to do the same. Do not give up, ever.