Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sketchy Hiring Practices

UPDATE 6/12/2009
WinBe has been ignoring my emails, and they just keep being vague when I call them. I rescinded my interest via email, and will look for other opportunities.

As many of you are aware, I've been looking for employment in northern Honshu and Hokkaido for a few months now. After extensive online searches, I came across an opportunity to teach at the WinBe English School in Nemuro, Hokkaido. Here's what happened:

1. Sent in my resume through Gaijinpot and received an offer for a telephone interview.

2. Telephone interview successful. Offered a position at WinBe.

Here's where it gets sketchy. WinBe offered me a position without telling me where and when I would be stationed. No offense, but that's a pretty big deal. They attribute this to the time required to apply for a visa and receive my certificate of eligibility, but again, the maximum amount of time all of that could take amounts to four months or so, a fact which they confirmed...

"[Confirming the start date] won't be possible until we actually receive your certificate of eligibility. The timing of the arrival of the certificate of eligibility is extremely unpredictable. We have had it arrive in as short a time as two weeks and as long a time as 4 months. This is the unfortunate reality of dealing with a bureaucracy."

That's true, it can fluctuate... but why not just go with a start date around four months from the time of application? I need something to work around.

In addition to that, the company rep informed me all of their instructors are given a starting salary of 250,000 yen/month, despite the fact the ad on Gaijinpot stated a salary of 250,000-280,000 yen/month. When I asked for clarification on this, he got a little belligerent:

The starting salary is the same for all instructors, 250,000 yen per month with a 100,000 yen end of contract completion bonus.

If you are not satisfied with the conditions then it may be best for you to explore other options. There is not much more we can decide at this point and it would be in both of our interests if you were fully satisfied with both the salary provided as well as your location and the process by which you will be placed.

It is extremely important for us to recruit instructors who finish their contracts, and, in our experience, instructors who are satisfied with placement and salary are not only more likely to finish their contracts, but go on to extend their terms for 2 or 3 years.

For now, we will put your application on hold so that you can re-think whether this is really what you would like to do.

So essentially, I must the unstable one by asking why the company is offering a different salary than that posted. Not only that, but I called my first contact with WinBe today and she was under the impression I hadn't sent any emails since the offer of employment was accepted. Either the people at this company aren't talking to each other, or I'm just being really obtuse.

What do you think? I'm considering just dropping the whole thing and holding out for another option.


Psiclopz said...

This is all based on some research I did for a friend two months ago who also interviewed with WinBe. She didn't end up taking the position.

Branches of WinBe are usually franchises, independently owned. So the working conditions could be drastically different, and dependent on the owner.

They are typically a cram school, with english classes as well. So it's like an english school within a cram school. Hours seem to be 1/2-9ish. Since it operates outside of normal school hours.

Back in 2004 there was a big issue because the president was assulting teachers physically, and there were sexual harrasement allegations by some female teachers against franchise owners, but I couldn't find out much more.

Blurb about it on page 3 here.

inkawasaki said...

I don't know anything about this company, but I didn't really understand your comment about the salary...?

If their ad said 250,000-280,000, and they are offering you 250,000, then they are offering you a salary in the range they advertised, right? So they haven't misled you. I would imagine the upper range refers to people who've been working there a while (probably the salary goes up slightly after a year or whatever).

Still, if they won't tell you *where* you will be posted until you've totally finished going through a lengthy application process, it does sound like kind of a problem... perhaps they don't know in advance when vacancies will appear in certain schools...

The Tubes said...

I understood, from my phone interview with WinBe, that besides the completion bonus, there were incentives for new students, so though the base salary may be 250,000, if you're attracting and maintaining lots of new students, the incentive may top your salary up to the 280.

Though they said that they wanted to hire me, my start date was an issue for the specific school they wanted to put me in, and though I asked to be considered for other positions, should they open up, I've not heard from them since.