Recruiting Your Talent in China: Part Two – Making the Perfect Hire

Screening and shortlisting

Effective telephone screening and shortlisting of potential candidates could be the deciding factor for successful recruitment in China. From an initial screening call (conducted in both English and Chinese) ,an experienced bilingual recruiter can evaluate the language skills, professional experience and career plan of the candidates, and then provide the hiring manager with specific reasons for shortlisting them .A good articulation of the company’s business vision and Chinese market strategy by the recruiter will also help the applicants better understand the job description (JD) and verify their interest in the role.

To help make the recruiting process more effective and less time-consuming, thoroughly prepared screening notes and highlights of shortlisted applicants’ relevant experiences by the recruiter can help prepare hiring managers ahead of interviews with candidates if they have no knowledge of the Chinese market.


Between interviews and job offers

Communication between employers and candidates is vital in the time between interviews and job offers. In most situations, international hires need a ‘middleman’ to bridge the communication gap due to language and cultural differences. When we work with our clients, one of our consultants always follows the recruitment process from the very beginning. That means he /she understands the needs of head office and therefore can adjust the expectations of both sides when needed.  Our consultants guide hiring managers in the company headquarters to overcome the cultural differences and understand how and why Chinese candidates communicate differently on the topics of salaries, benefits and career development plans.

Here is an example. One of our clients had a regional sales vacancy in China and the hiring manager was satisfied with one of the candidates we recommended after the first interview. However, the candidate was hesitating to progress to the next round. Our consultant called again and found out that the candidate thought there would be more business potential in another region rather than the advertised region for the vacancy but was not sure if the company had plans for this role to explore new regions. Understandably, the hiring manager had not wanted to disclose the company’s mid-term business plan before the employment started. The candidate also wanted clarification on the commission structure but was not comfortable to ask about this directly. Follow-up calls by our consultant with both sides identified these issues. They were addressed openly in the second interview, and the candidate happily accepted the job offer soon after it was made.


Local expertise can make all the difference

Ideal employees, especially first recruits for a new market like China, are those who have several years of work experience in relevant industries with ambitions to take on new challenges. Many SMEs seek people with around five years’ industry experience for their client-facing roles; individuals who have access to the industry network and at the same time have the ability and attitude to drive growth for new entrants and new technologies. However, hiring managers may often miss this group of high-potential candidates when it is hard to relate unfamiliar Chinese company names in applicants’ CVs to their industry and when candidates have not included cover letters to describe relevant industry background. In those situations, companies need to rely on local expertise and consultants with relevant industry experience to guide them through the process.

Salary structure can be another sticking point when recruiting senior sales professionals in China. SMEs may lose talented candidates because they are offering less competitive salary packages compared to global companies. On the other hand, they can offer other opportunities that high-potential talents are looking for, which can include career development and the excitement of innovative technologies created by SMEs. Startups and scaleups can attract highly experienced candidates if their USP and long-term plan are communicated effectively during the recruiting process.

Recently we successfully helped various technology clients to recruit in China, including senior key account managers to help increase market share and engineers to work on local implementations and technical support. We provided guidance on salary benchmarking as well as optimising the job specifications and expanding the clients’ ad posting channels in China.

Together with recruitment consultants on the ground, Crayfish can support you in finding the right people to boost your growth journey in the Chinese market at any time. Get in touch and book a free initial consultation with us and discuss your China recruitment needs.