Hiring in China? – Start With These Questions

Updated: Oct 14, 2019


Are You Asking the Right Questions?

Western executives ask me fairly regularly what my sector focus is. And that’s a fair question in a talent rich, mature market like the U.S., where a major challenge is paring a long list of well-qualified candidates down to a manageable set of best choices. Someone intimately familiar with your industry or sector can help you make those distinctions.

But China isn’t the U.S.. China is a talent scarce market. The challenge is not slicing through a large surplus of highly qualified candidates and eliminating all but the best. It is constructing and executing an effective, well-crafted, tailored plan that will lead you to a sufficient number of well-qualified, highly motivated candidates attracted to your particular offering – executives who are as likely to come from outside your immediate sector as within. In this scenario, a recruiting partner with a narrow sector focus may not serve you as well as it might in the U.S.

So, when you’re recruiting in China, you need to ask entirely different questions – ones that will help you navigate a talent scarce market, and move you closer to hiring great candidates and growing your business… Here are some initial questions to ask your search partner...


> “Will you actually do all the work on my search?”

> “What percentage candidate can I expect from you?” (top 5-10%?)

> “Can you define that top 5-10% for me?”

> “How will you get to know our company’s culture so you can bring us tight-fit candidates?”

> “What, in your view, is our value proposition for this role in the China market?”

> “What do you believe will be our biggest challenge in recruiting for this role?”

> “What would you suggest we do to defeat that challenge?”


The answers to these will begin to move you into a much stronger position to decide on the best recruiting firm in China, and in turn, make it much more probable that you’ll hire good people for your company as a consequence.


These are questions that none of your rivals are asking – giving you a huge hiring advantage at zero extra cost. But it’s entirely up to you to extract advantage from it.


If you might be hiring in China in the coming 3 - 24 months and you believe more insights like these would help you hire better people, call or shoot me your questions via email and I’ll see if I can do them justice.

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