Are you looking for a university job in Korea but are worried because you can’t make interviews during the week? Then you’re certainly in the right place. I’ll answer the all-important question about whether Korean universities will do weekend or phone interviews.
Weekend or via Phone for a University Interview in Korea
This is a question that I got from a reader of mine:
“Something that worries me is my capability to be able to attend the interviews mid week. I know that my school would have a heart attack if I didn’t show up. There is no way that they would ever give me time to go for interviews but I have a great resume and think I’ll get lots of interview offers.
From where I am now, it takes me over 2 hours to reach Seoul and then God knows how many extra hours to reach the potential interview destination. Do universities do weekend interviews? How about Skype or phone interviews? Any advice you could give me would be appreciated.”
I’ve Been There Too
First of all, this was the very situation I found myself in when working at a hagwon. I just finished my MA and was applying for university jobs. I got two interviews and fortunately one was in the morning when I didn’t work. The other? Right during my work schedule. I think I ended up taking one of my vacation days. It wasn’t ideal, but getting a university job was certainly worth it and I made up for that vacation time later (5 months of it per year!).
Korean Uni Interview via Phone or on Weekends? Not Likely
You might be out of luck with the weekend/phone interview thing. Most universities are quite inflexible in terms of interview times and will often expect you to drop everything on short notice to attend. If you’re lucky, you may get a choice of a couple days and morning or afternoon or something like that.
Always remember though: the people who are interviewing you are more important and are likelier far busier than you. You’ll most often get interviewed by a panel of 2-5 people so finding a time when they can all get together is a minor miracle similar to the parting of the sea.
Plus, there are lots of you (the interview candidate) to go around so if you can’t attend, they’ll just go to the next person on the list.
The #1 guide for getting a university job in Korea: How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams
In-Person Rules All for University Jobs in Korea!
Basically, all universities want in-person interviews and if you’re in Korea, there’s almost no excuse that is good enough for why you’d need a Skype or phone interview. And nobody wants to work on a Saturday or Sunday, so I think you’ll have an extremely hard time finding someone that will schedule an interview for those days.
Remember that you’ll often be interviewed by a panel of people in Korea. So, it can actually be quite difficult to find a time when the 2-5 people can sit down together and do this. The day/times they have chosen is likely the only day or time that’s going to work for them.
There are a Ton of Applications
I don’t know exact numbers, but my guess is that there are at least 100 applications for each university job in South Korea. Perhaps the department secretary narrows it done to the best 10 in terms of experience and qualifications. Then they might interview the top 5.
If you turn down that interview, there are certainly lots of other people who will jump on that opportunity before you can blink your eyes. Don’t think that you’re the chosen one and stay humble. You will certainly have to compete for the job with other top candidates.
The Solution: Use a Sick Day?
I know your current school might have a heart-attack, but don’t you have a sick day or two in the contract? I hope you haven’t used them yet because that seems like your best option by far.
Sure, they’ll be a bit angry but it’s your life, you know? Why stick around at a crappy hagwon for longer than necessary just because they won’t give you a day off to attend an important interview.
If they hassle you about going to the doctor, or want to come over to “take care of you,” just tell them that you have the pukes and have to stay near the toilet at all times. That’ll hopefully put them off the trail and will give you a valid reason for not going to the doctor.
Or, a Vacation Day?
If you plan on applying for university jobs, save your vacation days. If you work at a hagwon, you’ll probably have 10. 5 will be assigned for summer vacation, and then 5 can usually be used at your discretion.
Universities will often give you at least a week notice of interviews, so use a vacation day if possible. This is often a better solution than calling in sick.
Get a leg up on the university job search competition:
Check out this Tip about Korean University Interviews
Have your Say about the Korean University Interview!
Have you heard of universities in Korea offering Skype interviews? Leave a comment below and let us know.
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