I did have a huge post written, but then I realized it could all be summarized in one or two short paragraphs.
Despite washing out of HESS’s training program fairly recently, I still highly recommend HESS (and regret washing out, but that’s another story.)
HESS specializes at training new teachers. I’d even say it’s their business model, even. They provide excellent, intensive training which leaves you much better prepared to teach than other companies.
HESS is also one of the biggest buxibans in Taiwan, and are a lot more legit as a result - they make an effort not to cut corners and to stick by the rules in their contracts. What this means to you is that you won’t have to worry about being deported in police raids, you won’t have to worry about being given too few hours each week, and you won’t have to worry about being screwed by the company - all things you should worry about with other companies.
The biggest advantage starting with HESS has, is that once your contract finishes, it puts you in a very good position. You can of course continue with HESS, or you can look for work in another buxiban - and being able to tell them you’ve worked for HESS for one or two years will improve your bargaining position a lot.
There is only two real downsides specific to HESS - that both the training and teaching are quite stressful, and that HESS pays on average, between 50 to 100 twd less per hour than other buxibans. There are other complaints you could level at the company, but as these would apply equally to all buxibans, I don’t think I really need to put them here.
Long story short, if you can put up with the stress, HESS is the best way of starting your career over here.