I have had this question come up a few times in peer circles so I would love to know what others have experienced when recruiting senior management talent for a corporate client expanding into China for the first time.

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Carl,

As someone who has been based in China for 13 years, and hiring for corporate clients coming into China for the first time, I can give you initial thoughts:

- Tell the client TIC - This is China Nothing will operate as it does in the US and you have to be flexible. Really flexible.

- Lower their expectations somewhat. International exposure is not that common in China for obvious reasons.

- China is like the internet, where no one knows you are a dog. In China no one knows that you are the biggest West Coast producer of widgets, or razor blades or car seats. A degree of humility is needed, and a great deal of hard core customer branding, marketing and selling. If you are on the ground in China you will have time, if not then it would have to more oriented towards hard core selling of the job, and the company. The worst thing you can do is assume knowledge of the company and go into that awful spiel about "So, why do you want to work for XXXXXX?"

- If you choose an overseas expat you will pay much more. If you go local you pay less but lose visibility. Your client needs to know this (not sure which side of the hiring fence you are on ..... )

- China is not one market but many. Your client needs to think this through because of the sheer scale of China, and the varying rates of development around the country.

- China has many myths but the biggest is that it is cheap. It was but is not anymore. Your client needs to know this because I have seen a number of companies fall into this trap.

There are a lot more issues but at least that's a start.

Frank
Hi Frank
My apologies for the LONG delay in my response to your post. Your tips were very helpful and concur with some advice I received from a few other people on other networks I am part of on Linked In. A book I found very helpful in working with my clients lately that someone recommended is "When Cultures Collide" by Richard D. Lewis . The book is available on Amazon and it an easy primer on many things you need to know when working in various countries -- not just recruiting related.

If I get the project to help them with their expansion talent planning, I will be sure to connect with you for your help again. Best wishes.

Carl Kutsmode
www.Recruiting-Consultant.com

Frank Mulligan said:
Carl,

As someone who has been based in China for 13 years, and hiring for corporate clients coming into China for the first time, I can give you initial thoughts:

- Tell the client TIC - This is China Nothing will operate as it does in the US and you have to be flexible. Really flexible.

- Lower their expectations somewhat. International exposure is not that common in China for obvious reasons.

- China is like the internet, where no one knows you are a dog. In China no one knows that you are the biggest West Coast producer of widgets, or razor blades or car seats. A degree of humility is needed, and a great deal of hard core customer branding, marketing and selling. If you are on the ground in China you will have time, if not then it would have to more oriented towards hard core selling of the job, and the company. The worst thing you can do is assume knowledge of the company and go into that awful spiel about "So, why do you want to work for XXXXXX?"

- If you choose an overseas expat you will pay much more. If you go local you pay less but lose visibility. Your client needs to know this (not sure which side of the hiring fence you are on ..... )

- China is not one market but many. Your client needs to think this through because of the sheer scale of China, and the varying rates of development around the country.

- China has many myths but the biggest is that it is cheap. It was but is not anymore. Your client needs to know this because I have seen a number of companies fall into this trap.

There are a lot more issues but at least that's a start.

Frank
Frank,

You forgot to mention the "Guanxi". Businesses can live or die without it. When I first was in Beijing in 89, there was an Italian company trying to set up an office. They were set on doing it the 'right way', the 'international way', and they kept filling out forms after forms after forms. For all I know they are still trying to do it that way.

"Guanxi" pronounced 'guan she', mean 'matters', its a loose term for 'contacts'. In China you can save yourself a great deal of money for heartburn medicine, by paying off certain government officials. Most Western companies who have reputations to protect, will hire a local consultant to do the dirty work and allow them the veneer of deniability.

One company who was involved in the the Asian Games held in Beijing in 1990 wanted to promote themselves to western media. So their Head Office quite reasonably hired a Hong Kong based PR firm to set up a press conference, with free food and booze. Hardly a handful of local newspaper reporters showed up. The Chief Rep of the company in Beijing met the Reuters Beijing based Reporter and was told, "you, I know. those others...nope. If you would have called, I could have had this placed filled for you."

Guanxi. It matters in China.

Charles

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