Interview Help

Hi all… I just received an email from Hess. They want to do a phone interview with me on Wednesday evening (Thursday morning in Taiwan). Any thoughts or suggestions on the interview - how to prepare, what to expect, etc…?

Any thoughts on Hess as an employer - positive or negative? Though, if you have something negative, make sure it is constructive criticism. In otherwords, I want to hear a logical reason behind your opinion. Not just, “I HATE THEM! They are screwed up!”

This is a flame free post! Thank you.


Hi LJ,

Maybe you could check out this thread, if you haven’t already:
Hess is good

I have had friends work at Hess in the past, and as far as I know, they’re a mega-buxiban.

The thread Alien mentions refers to another, more ominous-sounding thread. But I can’t find it anywhere. It may have been called “HESS=MESS” (I found one other reference to it when I searched for “Hess”. Does anyone know where to find that thread?


I have no personal experience with Hess at all, HOWEVER…go to and do a search on “Hess” for the past 6 months or so. The overall opinion I get from the posts there is that Hess is just about the worst place you can work.

But check them out for yourself…

LJ, you can get better pay at a better school easily by arriving first and then looking for work. I really suggest you do that. Sorry, no exact details here, but Hess does have a bad reputaion amongst English teachers and you should consider that there may be a goodd reason for that. I’ve never worked for them, but I never would, just because of what I’ve heard about them and the fact that the pay about 75% or less what others do. I think your best off arriving and getting a feel for it beofre you look for a job.


Many teachers at Hess have never taught before, so I’d think that when they ask questions it’s more just to find out if you’re really sincere about going and that you come across as a capable, earnest person, not a total slacker or whatever. Probably the most important thing is making sure you haven’t got a strange accent.

I had a good experience coming over with Hess. I appreciated the week-long training and enjoyed the opportunity to get to know all the other teachers who came over at the same time. We were worried about where we would live after the training was over. I didn’t find out until the last training day that our branch had an apartment set up for us. The rooms weren’t much bigger than the beds, and the rent wasn’t a bargain, but it was clean and we could move out as soon as we wanted to. However, every branch does things differently and while they say they’ll help with housing, there’s no promises.

Hess does pay relatively lower than other schools and they do ask you to correct homework and prepare for your classes on your own time, though after awhile it doesn’t take much time since the lessons are quite structured.

They have you sign a contract saying you pay (NT$30,000?) if you leave before your year is up, so if you are having a bad experience at your branch or you find a great opportunity, you may feel really stuck. I had a good experience. My fellow NST’s were great and we didn’t have any major problems at our school. I was at the Nei Hu branch, but that was over four years ago so I can’t say how it is now!

I think it’s not a bad way to go if you want to have something lined up as soon as you get here and you’re willing to accept the risk that you might end up in a branch that isn’t what you expect. However, if you don’t mind spending a few weeks living in a hostel and checking ads for teachers and housing, you’ll certainly be able to find both in a short period.


I will admit the overwhelming response is negative. That could be because they are really THAT bad. Or, it could be that people who are unsatisfied are more likely to complain, when given a chance, than are people who are happy. (It’s one of those tenets of marketing.) I don’t know. My interview last night was very positive and professionally done. Though, that may not mean anything.

I have heard some positive comments about HESS, though. Most of those who have good things to say admit that the salary is not as high as other places and that things can be challenging for some. The belief seems to be that it depends on the branch and the attitude of the teacher. Again, I don’t know.

My own philosophy as a career counselor, as well as the training I received from my perpetual boy scout of a father (be prepared!), rebels against the idea of making the move without a job waiting. Though, I can’t deny that finding a job in Taiwan from half way around the world has its own challenges. I don’t think I can ignore, either, the advice and suggestions of those who’ve been through the experience before.

If Hess offers me a job, I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I’m trying to evaluate all information, so I can make an informed decision. If I do choose Hess, I’ll do it knowing there is a risk.

Just taking it one day at a time.


P.S. The fee is NT$20,000. And, from what they said, it is only after the 1st month. The 1st is a “trial period” wherein I can leave if I’m not happy, with only 7 days notice.

LJ, have you considered Kid Castle and ELSI? They also recruit teachers from aborad, so can be expected to offer competitive packages.


I’ve heard of those two… though, I haven’t yet applied. However, they are on my list. Thanks for the suggestion.


So LJ, what did they ask you? Was the interviewer a non-native speaker of English?

I had a phone interview for a “highly-rated” school in Mexico once and the first question was, “what do you think about highschoolers and how would you handle misbehavior?”

Needless to say, I made a hasty, yet gracious exit from the call…

quote[quote] So LJ, what did they ask you? Was the interviewer a non-native speaker of English? [/quote]

The interviewer was a native English speaker. Though, from his accent, he wasn’t a fellow American. He sounded Australian. His questions were about my abilities, how I would teach English (gave me a scenario - nothing about discipline problems), how I would like/survive living in Taiwan, etc… Like I said, it all seemed very professional and well done.

quote[quote] If you are not in Taiwan by July 1 you will have 20% income tax withheld and you will not get it back. If you arrive before then you will still have it withheld, but you will get 14% of it back. [/quote]

I will be in Taiwan by 17 May (my flight leaving here on the 15th). However, I’m not sure why the deadline of 1 July and what the issue is. Could you please explain?

The tax office and immigration deliberately don't talk to each other. If you pay taxes the tax office doesn't care about your immigration status. If you have paid your taxes like a good boy, it cuts no ice with immigration.

Could you also explain this?



Thanks for the clarification.


Another question… I just received an email from Kojen English Language Schools. They would like to interview me when I get to Taiwan in May. What is the appropriate dress for an interview in Tawian. Is it like the US? Business suit and tie? Please advise. Thanks.


For English school interviews I typically went in business casual.