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Case study banner: teacher recruitment services for ef hangzhou


Part of a global school chain operating in over 60 countries, EF Hangzhou is one of the largest regional English First franchises in China. Providing English lessons for kids, teens and adults across nine centers (with two more in the pipeline) is no small feat. At any one time, the centers employ 200 teachers, 100 of whom are international.

Although most international teachers sign up with EF Hangzhou for 15-month contracts, and over half extend to two years, International Recruiter James was always on the lookout for promising new candidates for his schools. Teachers can be hired (and leave) at any point during the year, meaning staying on top of staffing in his nine busy centers was a constant challenge.

The Challenge

EF Hangzhou were looking for teachers with Bachelor’s degrees (essential for Chinese visa requirements), who were English speakers with a 120-hour TEFL certification, or equivalent experience. From experience, James knew their positions and the lifestyle in China typically appealed to teachers in their 20s or 30s without families.

Each year, James aimed to get 100 candidates to sign letters of intent to work in his schools. Although this averaged about 10 signed letters of intent per month, in reality, recruitment needs varied with the ebbs and flows of the school year.

In quiet months, the school had to be wary of having a surplus of teachers, and in busy months they needed to hire quickly. Their overall goal was to maintain a steady flow of applicants throughout the year to ensure teacher numbers reflected demand for classes.

With targets changing month-by-month, James needed a highly flexible recruitment solution and he was always looking for new and innovative ways to source candidates and establish interviews.

His existing strategy meant nearly 50% of candidates came through recruitment agencies, and he was left to fill the gaps with teacher referrals and headhunting on social media. While broadly successful, this strategy could also lead to high-stress recruitment periods when EF Hangzhou needed teachers quickly and the recruitment agencies didn’t have any candidates to offer.

So when Teach Away reached out to James, he decided to give our platform a try.

teacher interview - teacher recruitment services

Our Solution

Teach Away provided flexible, fast and large-scale access to applicants that EF Hangzhou needed.

After talking to our team, James came away confident that he’d found a company that understood his needs and signed up for a monthly subscription on our platform. Happy with this initial experience, he then decided to try a three-month subscription in spring to boost recruitment before their busy summer period. These flexible teacher recruitment packages were an effective way for James to get his vacancies in front of a large audience during peak hiring periods.

“Teach Away is great because it has a large database and talent pool. They are good at marketing vacancies and it’s a convenient way to access a wide scope of teachers, who you can speak to in a relatively quick time frame. As candidates have registered their interest in EF through the job posting, when I reach out they are responsive and I can quickly proceed with an interview.”

EF Hangzhou was also happy to find that Teach Away’s solutions were more cost-effective than the agencies they had been using previously. With no per-hire fees and unlimited teacher recruitment services included in each Teach Away subscription, they quickly found that the more teachers they hired through Teach Away, the more money they saved.

teacher being hired at school - teacher recruitment services

The Impact

Since starting a three-month subscription in March, EF Hangzhou has hired eight teachers through Teach Away and expects to hire two more, fulfilling their recruitment target for the month.

“After recruiting through Teach Away for one year, we’ve hired some excellent teachers and really like the service. It’s become one of our main channels for sourcing teachers and finding candidates to interview.”

According to James, his experience with Teach Away has been so positive because we are:


The platform has a clean layout with all the relevant information he needs, allowing him to find candidates quickly.


Our team is communicative, supportive and always looking for new ways to improve his service.


Teach Away is open to finding new solutions to make life easier for their clients, such as online job fairs.

As a company that’s always on the lookout for new recruitment solutions, EF Hangzhou has found one they plan to stick with in Teach Away. They have been so pleased with their results they have decided to extend their subscription with us for another three months, and plan to use our platform throughout the coming school year.