I've been asked to create an Employer Branding and Sourcing strategy for our Chinese recruitment team.

Can you recommend any sources or share experiences?

We are looking at

1) which job boards (for scientific profiles)
2) any social networks (is Linkedin popular in China, are they others)
3) How big is campus recruiting in China.
4) Are recruiters used to direct source candidates? How do they work?
5) What are the attraction drivers for Chinese people? How to position the EVP?

I'm sure there are a million other things we need to think about but any feedback is great

thanks

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My name is Emile Mac Gillavry, co-founder and managing director of Maximum Employment Marketing Group in China. Given our expertise and past experience in China, I’ll try to answer now your questions.

 

1) Which job boards (for scientific profiles)


We are actually not big fans of job boards and here is why:

  • They only reach active seekers and miss out on the important group of passive seekers;
  • They bring too many unqualified candidates, generating unnecessary workload for recruiters;
  • They actually use your brand and jobs to attract their members, while charging you to access them;
  • They force candidates into a hyper-competitive environment (reselling your candidates to your competitors).

There are far more effective ways to spend your recruitment dollars. However, you will still need of course some presence on those job boards, so please find below, ranked in order of importance, an overview for your reference:


Industry websites (incl. career section)

  • bioon.com
  • dxy.cn
  • pharmnet.com.cn

Niche Job Boards:

  • Healthr.com
  • Jobuy.com

General Job Boards:

  • 51job.com
  • Zhaopin.com
  • ChinaHR.com

If you decide to engage on job boards, it’s recommended to include also some email direct marketing in their package. This is the only way to target some of the passive seekers who normally never visit those job boards.
 

2) Social Networks


Social media landscape is totally different from any other country. Some of those major overseas social media sites are not accessible from within China: RecruitingBlogs.com, Youtube.com, Facebook.com and Twitter.com are prime examples of websites that don’t go through the so-called “Great Firewall of China”. China has it’s own versions:

  • Youtube.com = Youku.com and Tudou.com
  • Facebook.com = Renren.com and Kaixin001.com
  • Twitter = T.sina.com and T.qq.com

LinkedIn is the only exception and is gaining popularity within China. There are some Linkedin local versions on the market:

  • Linkist.com
  • Wealink.com
  • Tianji.com

Regarding Linkedin, I did a quick lookup using the following selection criteria: Country: China and Hong Kong, Industry: Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals. The result gave 13,396 members representing only 1% of the total people registered on LinkedIn within these two industries (total of 1,320,705). We did book some great success with social media and have effectively used channels like Youku.com, Renren.com, T-sina.com and Linkedin.com


3) Campus Recruitment


Campus recruitment is a very popular way to create brand awareness and recruit both interns and graduates. Most companies visit different universities and hold campus talks in September and October. They only try to attract candidates from first-tier universities, therefor forcing companies in hyper competitive mode with limited return on investment. If a company wants to make an impact and stand out at those top universities, it needs to have a very creative and differentiating campaign. You might want to ask your agency for advice or if you have limited resources you might want to focus on second-tier universities to have better outcome.

 

4) Direct Sourcing


I have not been very impressed with the way people try to source good quality candidates. Most of them just focus on job boards and headhunters. By doing so, they put themselves in a very awkward situation or in other words a prisoner dilemma. They have to screen through all those bad quality candidates coming in from the job boards, their department gets overwhelmed, so they need the support from overpriced headhunters who only care about their own brand reputation. Headhunters consume most of the budget leaving almost no room for other channels.

 

We have successfully used many different channels for recruitment purposes. Some of my favorite and proven (based on cost-per-hire and quality-of-hire) recruitment channels we used for our clients, including several clients within your industry, are:

  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Email Direct Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Industry websites

5)    Attraction Drivers / EVP

This question is hard to answer and my post is already getting very long. Attraction drivers are different for each target audience (and industry). Medical Representatives might be looking for a company with a strong product pipeline, while researchers care more about the work-life balance and corporate social responsibility of the company. We did some research on the market to discover and published a report called ‘Inside China’s Talent Market’. Drop me an email at emile.mac.gillavry (at) mxmm.cn and we will send you a hardcopy of our report.


I hope this was useful to you and some of the readers out there.  If you have any question about our activities in China, I’d be happy to meet, email, chat, talk, text or tweet with you!

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