My review of Employment Process: DaDaABC

I am going to describe in this blog the initial contact, the interview process, and the pre-demo training session for DaDaABC, a Chinese company that I have interviewed for and my overall opinion. I will also add a few tips and pointers for those readers who might be coming here seeking such things.

DaDaABC is not the only Chinese company offering this type of work to English-speaking teachers who want to teach Chinese children via the Internet from home. You are contracted by these companies to teach short ESL lessons on their platform. What they are looking for is the following:

You have to be at least 18 years old.

You have to be what they consider a “native English speaker.” I believe they will make some leeway here.

Your English must be fluent and impeccable and there are requirements regarding your current citizenship that you really cannot get around.

I believe they prefer if you have had a college education or are pursuing a college degree or “certificate” as they put it. That I know of, an associates degree would certainly be acceptable.

Your degree does not have to be in Early Childhood Education! It can be in pretty much anything, I imagine. What they want to hear is that you have had experience with kids, have worked with kids, or have taught, and they want to hear that you have had experience with very young kids especially.

You will be expected to upload your degrees and documentation after the interview. I was asked to scan in .pdf. Actually, I believe I may have forgotten and scanned in .bmp format instead, but they did receive my documents and we went ahead with the next step.

Let me back up for those of you that might be wondering about the initial steps. They have an application form on their website. I have seen many such forms on company websites and theirs is typical. You don’t have many fields to fill in. I believe it is all done on one single page and then, you submit. I believe you upload your resume and state you are legal to work.

I noticed on the form that you cannot submit the form without a picture of yourself. Unfortunately this is the case. I am not certain how legal this is.Since they hire in my country, USA, I believe they have to respect our hiring laws. My concern is not over skin color but I know many would be concerned. I knew right away that the pic would give away my age. I am 60. I could pass for 40, but still……. Knowing that this was not legal, I wondered what would happen if I uploaded a picture of my dog, or a landscape picture, just to get around the pic issue. I toyed with the thought of scanning an old picture of myself at 23. Now, I really have to laugh because I doubt  they’d have even noticed. Read on.

For those of you who may be concerned, there was no statement about “criminal background check” nor did they ask any questions like that. I am making this statement because I support the Ban the Box movement and I also sympathize with those who have survived the penal system. If you are an ex-felon, take note: This just might be your chance to get back on your feet again! However, if you are still on probation, check to make sure that working for a foreign company is okay according to the terms of your probation.

What about those of you who may never have had teaching experience? Here is my suggestion! You may still be able to teach for DaDaABC or similar company IF you love children and if you have had experience working with children in your life at some point.

Now here you must use what I call your Thinking Cap. Common sense, creativity, and a little ingenuity all rolled up into one. Using your power of memory, look back on your life and remember a time you spent with children. Did you ever do volunteer work? What about sports? Did you ever lead a group of children in a sporting event, or work as a team leader or mentor? Did you ever coach a team, or lead children in games such as checkers or Monopoly? Did you ever volunteer to read stories to children, or watch your neighbor’s kids, or supervise toddlers on a playground?

Now all this, all this wonderful life experience, this is so valuable right now and you can use this as your kid experience. What you need to do is tell the recruiter very specific information. How old were the kids? How many? Describe the details. How long were the classes or groups? What did you like or dislike, and how would you have changed the experience if you could have? Did you have a favorite class you taught or favorite lesson you loved? The recruiter is likely to ask about the children’s ages, so be prepared to answer this.

The interview is done over Skype. I submitted my application in the middle of the weekend and I was contacted at the end of the weekend, I believe Monday morning, Beijing time. I picked up the email Monday morning my time, early. Right away (after I walked my dog and fixed up my hair) we had the interview, at 18:30 Beijing time, which was 6:30am Daylight Savings Time Eastern (New York) Time. The difference is 12 hours, in case you are wondering.

That I know of, the interview lasted 10 minutes, no more. Now I thought I would mention that the very first question was “How old are you?”

Yes, I was floored. Yikes. I answered but I was not too happy about this, having dealt with age discrimination you young folk will not have to deal with till you are 55 or so. Not yet! (When you get to 55 you will nod and smile and say, Oh my goodness, wow, that lady blogger was right!) Asking “Are you old enough to legally work? is okay. Asking your age is not legal in the USA!

Now at this point, I had to repeat….Sixty. She repeated it…I suppose wanting to make sure I had not said “sixteen.” Gotta laugh.

I passed the interview. We scheduled for the next day. She told me to send her my documents (my degrees, as I have a bachelor’s and a master’s), a pic, and my phone number. You will need also to send a scan of your passport or your license and Social Security card…Honestly I am not sure precisely what they wanted since I sent my passport and that was that! I am fairly sure they will not accept an expired passport, but you’ll have to ask. USA passports last ten years then expire and yes, I know they cost a fortune to obtain! They do offer alternatives.

Next was the pre-demo training session. This will only last 10 minutes. Be on time. I was! Now this is how it went, in case you are curious.

I was up at 2am my time. I checked my email. I looked and looked and saw nothing from DaDaABC. Checked Spam. Obsessively. Checked my messages on Skype. Then I thought…Maybe they never received my documents. I saw that Elsa, the recruiter, was online (in the office) on Skype, so I sent her a message. I asked her if she was still planning to meet with me at 18:30 later today and if she had received my documents.

I did not stay at the computer as I had things to do in the kitchen. I returned to the computer to see a message something like, “Hello! I can do the training now!” The time she had sent this was 4:40 in the morning, roughly two hours early.

I thought about this. We had agreed upon 6:30 my time, not 4:40. Shall I make her stick to the time we agreed upon, or shall I accommodate and jump to bend to her whim?

This is one of those employer/employee questions I hate dealing with. Being on time means being on time. That means sticking to the scheduled time. Okay, so Elsa wanted to leave work early, and she wanted to push her appointments earlier so she could go home. I get it. I get it now that I have had a chance to think stuff over.

I didn’t pick this message up immediately, since I was over in the kitchen and I didn’t have my sound turned on. When I returned to the computer it was after 5am. I told her, “In 15 minutes.” This gave me time to fully test my equipment and give it a last-minute shoe-shine. In 10 minutes, I told her, “Okay.”

Yes, I know, I was being accommodating. “Nice.”

This is what happened next. I opened the link she provided and logged in.

All I can say is thank goodness for those kind YouTubers who did demos of this interface. I had watched them last night and tried to soak up as much as I could. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I would highly recommend that anyone watch these.

Elsa went though the slides so fast that I would not call what she did “teaching.” She constantly interrupted me and did not let me ask any questions. The main reason I did so was to show that I was listening and engaging with her! She told me over and over, “Hurry up!” She even told me several times that she had to rush to train other trainees and did not have time for me!

We finally got to the end. I was relieved and told myself I was so glad it was over! This was the rudest “training” I’d ever experienced. No one tells me to “hurry up” like that. If you do, you are hitting me in a sore spot indeed. (I really should not say that publicly!)

“Hurry up! You are a slowpoke!” (Were you called that too, when you were a little kid in school? See what I mean?)

Unfortunately, the lesson wasn’t quite over. Now, Elsa said to me, “Go to the ‘Translation’ button.” Uh oh. I did not see any translation button there. None.

She said, “On the right.” I looked. Nothing.

She said, “A red button. On the left.” Seriously, she did. I pointed my mouse to every single red button, saying, “Is it this one? This one?”

You could hear just how exasperated she was! No! No! Why can’t you see it!

I couldn’t see it because it wasn’t there for some reason. I had now pointed out all the red buttons and had not left any out.

Now, she tried to show me with her mouse. Her mouse pointer disappeared behind the front window we were working in! Yep, it really did! When I pointed this out, somewhat apologetically to Elsa, she told me, “That’s not possible! We see the same screen!”

Are you readers as tech-minded as I am? I know as a fact that it’s not only possible, but probable, that two people from two different computers (and two different monitors) likely do not see the same screen!

“What’s wrong with you! I need to hurry up this lesson!”

She needed to hurry up because she’d either squeezed me in between lessons to get me over with, or wanted to get out of there and go home. I could hear a lot of talking in the background, and in fact, I could see behind her other people and I knew suddenly she wasn’t working from home. She was at a large call center where other recruiters were working. I could hear them in the background. Maybe her supervisor was bullying her.  But that’s no excuse for treating me like a piece of poop. I’m not poop. I’m me.

Now, she totally lost her temper and said we’d have to redo the lesson. She ended the call.

I want to ask anyone who is reading this….Is this how to treat your employees if you are a trainer? Is this how to teach? Isn’t a teacher supposed to be patient? I would assume the last thing a teacher should say would be “Hurry up!” I certainly would never say that to a child or to an adult I was teaching. That makes for unprofessional company relations, and for bad human relations in general. It reflects poor communication.

Not only that, but Elsa failed to understand a basic human rights concept. We humans do not have the same viewpoint. We do not see the same screens, just like we do not see life the same way. I do not see life as you do. We have different likes and dislikes, different life experiences, and different beliefs.

This, our differences, is what makes us so unique and beautiful as human beings. Our differences are to be celebrated for what they are. We should embrace our differences, respect them, and regard them with awe and loving amazement.

After the call ended, I knew my experience with DadaABC was over. I don’t want to work for a company that does not respect me as a worker nor follows its own principles of patience and kindness.

I also knew that Elsa had been hurtful to me, and I needed some recovery time from that. I was nearly in tears afterward. Nearly, though, is not the same as outright crying. I don’t really cry anymore. My “mental patient” days are long over. (Those of you who might be curious about that can read some other entries here in my blog.)

I thought about the experience, and suddenly, I was laughing out loud. I realized that this was yet another event I could turn into a useful story to give to the world. And that, in fact, is exactly what I have done. I have written it up for you all, to laugh over or cry. You pick.

I was on the phone shortly after with a wonderful man whom I might name, Marc Miller, who is a person who gives advice regarding age discrimination. He has a website called Career Pivot for us older folks. Right after speaking with him, I signed up for a course in setting up a home business. This is a class that is very inexpensive offered in my community.

My DaDaABC experience helped me fully realize that although I do want to work from home, I do not want to work for someone else. Not for some “company.” I want to work for myself. After all, I am nice to me! And I can!

I have written up this story for you all, which I did on my own time, just for fun. I know in my heart I have the energy and talent and all kinds of things to give to the world. At 60, why waste it any longer? I want to do what I have always dreamed of doing.

I challenge anyone out there. Are you doing what you want to do? What if you had very little time left? Think in those terms, because you really do not know when the clock will strike. You don’t know. No one knows. If you could look back on your life right now, would you say you had regrets? Would you say you wished you had done something, or you wished you had not waited? Or wished you had not wasted time?

What are you waiting for? Go do it now! Life is so short, and so precious. Take the step and live your life.

8 thoughts on “My review of Employment Process: DaDaABC”

  1. I’m dealing with this same recruiter right now and she has hardly been helpful. The initial interview over Skype that should be 10 minutes was reduced down to a 4 minute conversation of her speaking 100mph. I asked her a couple of times to repeat whatever question she was asking me and her response was “Yes”.

    I’m a very patient person with people who speak English as a second language and I am very capable of understanding a variety of accents, but I swear she was hardly breathing while she spoke verbal cursive. I felt lost after that Skype convo and she decided on the time for the next step to her comfort disregarding even letting me give any input. I just agreed to what she said and hours later messaged her via Skype saying I wasn’t going to be ready for the interview in the morning as I was having trouble finding the platform or material to review. She didn’t reply until wayyy later and luckily she agreed to change it.

    I’ve messaged her a couple of times today asking for some guidance on what I’m supposed to be reviewing and if there’s a platform I can practice in. Not one reply. I’m just not going to show up for my interview. I had a gut feeling about this company when she hung up on me the day we were initially supposed to do the Skype interview and didn’t contact me or reply to my messages to try to call again until 2 days later.

    I’ve interviewed with 2 other companies and they have been so good with communication and feedback. Thus far, Dada has been the complete opposite. Like you said, if this is how it is for interviews and training, I hardly expect to be treated much better being an employee. No thanks.

    1. From what I have learned, they bribe employees to write good reviews on the employment sites and to post glowing YouTubes. I am saddened that these sites can’t be relied on due to the number of fake reviews on there. I also know people post glowing reviews just to advance in their companies and win favor with the managers. The real story is that many of these places treat their workers horribly. I posted this review in hopes that it would be found by someone seeking honesty. They aren’t likely to find me here and since I’m not an employee, they aren’t likely to be able to retaliate.

      1. I’ve paused my application with Dada for now because I want to see if I can get lucky with other companies. I know people who have worked for Dada and they gave me honest reviews from the inside. But the thing is these are people who weren’t very interested in advancing or getting any bonuses. They just wanted the work they got and to get paid. So they didn’t really have too many complaints.

        I also read some reviews of late payments or being docked for things that you can’t control or fight to get back after they’ve decided it. The way I view Dada compared to the other companies I’ve interviewed with is like a zoo. They get their employees, lock them in and whip them into the style of teacher they want and abuse the power when necessary. I mostly wanted to work at Dada because it’s 1-on-1 with consistent students. The other companies I was look at are 4-on-1.

        1. I also ended up talking to insiders privately. You have to get off of YouTube where DaDa advertises and monitors like crazy. They monitor reviews on job sites like Indeed, and they respond, and even refute, too, which is unprofessional to say the least. They didn’t respond to my review of the interview, and I don’t think they monitor those, but the review of the job itself….they do check. As I see it, current employees are not going to bitch and moan on there, not unless they’ve left the company. Also, some, I imagine, put up good reviews to kiss ass.

          DaDa isn’t likely to find me here, even though I tagged the blog post (so folks like you could find me). There’s nothing they can do about me. I’m not lying, so what I am doing is totally legit.

          The insiders that I spoke with via email said that the company treated them horribly. One said she was hanging onto DaDa until she got another job, and the other said she kept the job because she didn’t yet have an alternative.

  2. Hi there!
    I’m so sorry you experienced that, I’m certainly not patient or tolerant to any form of abuse. She should be fired! Honestly!
    However, I did my interview 2 days with such a lovely woman called fairy, she seas so sweet and and experienced me feel so comfortable, even though I was quite nervous she was wonderful. I got my offer today, so now just to start the job. I hope it’s all it says it is. The only thing I find quite strange is they asked me for a criminal background check, but I’ve asked other teachers on dadabc about that, and they all said they weren’t asked. Strange! I have no problem providing it but why me?! I’ve been a teacher more than 15. Anyway, if anyone else got this request do share, maybe it’s the country I’m from? No idea!

    Again, I’m sorry you had such a terrible interviewer!!!
    Good day and good night :))) 😴🌙💤

    1. I have no clue what the woman’s name was! She was not at all sweet. She was cross and impatient. I don’t have a clue how they can do a crim background check from China. My only thought is that this might be a new policy. I do not support such policies. I think the principle and movement behind this is called Ban the Box, referring to the box you have to check saying, in essence, that you are are a former criminal. The idea of the Ban the Box movement means that we believe that all people deserve a second chance. I would imagine that performing such a background check would be extremely expensive from China. Did they make you pay for it?

    2. Hi I had an interview with them today (Oct. 10, 2018) and they warned that they’ll be requiring a background check if I shall be offered the job. Unfortunately, I am a US citizen living in Thailand so obtaining an FBI background check (assuming thats what they require) probably takes several months to acquire without returning back home.

      Could anyone please confirm what kind of background check they are now requiring so I can prepare or move on.

      Cheers

      1. I also lived abroad for a while. I would contact the county where you last lived, or the town hall or local police and explain the situation. Of course that’s assuming you have a clean record, you could give them the contact info for DaDa, hopefully email or better yet USA Fax. They could Fax the info over there. They would only want to know that you haven’t committed any crimes. I don’t think they care about your credit history. I know the country where I lived needed background checks for heavy-duty stuff like gun ownership should any of us “expats” ever want one, and that’s how they did it usually. It was up to us to contact our local gov.

Feedback and comments welcome!