Hung Lee Profile picture
Curator, Recruiting Brainfood

Jul 22, 2021, 24 tweets

Recruiting in China in 2021

How do you go about doing this? I spoke with recruiters, employer brand consultants, career coaches and headhunters currently based in China to find out.

A thread 👇 on #recruiting in #China

1/ Tier 1 Cities - 4 universally accepted as ‘Tier 1’. These are Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzho & Shenzhen. Tianjin, Chongqing sometimes appear also. Classification is based on pop, GDP, infrastructure. Elite employers HQ in these cities in order to attract the best talent

2/ Hukou is the internal migration system, effectively an internal passport. People can move, but Hukou is tied to access to public services (i.e kids education, healthcare etc). Employers compete by offering relocating workers support in switching Hukou - not an easy process

3/ Great Firewall - global brands need to have local presence on domestic platforms. Cannot rely on ‘universal’ platforms i.e LinkedIn. Recruiters from outside China will need to be aware that local candidates may not have access to the same communication / assessment tooling

4/ Data Protection - China’s Data Security Law comes into effect Sept 1. Similar to EU GDPR in the separation of data owners, processors and 'demanders'. Main recruiting challenge likely to be the cross national data transfer of candidate data (i.e need ATS with local server)

5/ Remote working revolution - didn't happen. Effective pandemic response + micro management culture = office for work is default. Demand for flexibility has increased but NOT widespread abandonment of office or revolutionary push for remote work

6/ Provincial regulation = significant barrier against 'work from anywhere'. Employer contributions to employee social security is tied to local authority; i.e. local government. Practical problem for employers to cater for employees relocating or working from anywhere

7/ '2+1 Employment contracts'. Fixed term rather than open ended contracts are default. FTC cannot be renewed more than 2 x consecutively, open ended contract must then be offered. Good tip for recruiters: track tenure of candidates in anticipation of attrition

8/ Candidate outreach - any means. Phone, text, social message. Email declining in use, especially for younger generation (desktop first technology, think mobile first communication channels)

9/ Candidate assessment - high expectation to be assessed in a standardised way. No expectation of choice of assessment or whether results can be disputed. Implications for CX - lack of standardization may be perceived as lack of fairness or even sloppiness in assessment.

10/ DE&I is a Tier 1 big city, big company conversation - mainly on gender, particularly in senior management / board level participation

11/ WeChat / Weixin. No real equivalent in the Western Internet. a) social network b) private / public services (i.e food delivery / pay your taxes) c) digital wallet. Over billion users worldwide as of 2021. Everyone in China uses WeChat / Weixin - employers MUST be on it.

12/ WeChat / Weixin? Two versions of the same app, same tech but separate entities delivering to different target audiences. WeChat = International, Weixin = Chinese. Employers are going to need to be on both, separate language teams. Good breakdown 👇(…)

13/ 3 x types of Corporate WeChat Account. Most employers choose subscription account - can be followed and are able to interact 1-2-1 with followers. However, only allowed mass messaging 4 x per month to prevent spam. Used for promotions, bulletins or even pseudo newsletters.

14/ QR Codes in WeChat - automatically created for your corporate account on set up. Users also have built QR scanner, so the way to get followers is to your QR code out there, get users to scan - no contact form or other social login common in Western Internet. Very fast UX

15/ QR codes bridge on and offline marketing, no need to separate field vs online marketing teams. Users just need to point their phone at a QR code and they follow the account or register for an event or apply for a job. Code could be anywhere - even in the sky👇

16/ WeChat - powerful employee referral engine. Digital wallet means rewards can be distributed directly to referrers. Existence of 'proAm' recruiters who are just users with large networks, who make money referring contacts to jobs, kind of like a mega affiliate marketing scheme

17/ Boss Zhupin ( “Talk to the boss directly”. Big new thing in China rectec - direct hiring manager only site, candidates directly talk to HM via mobile chat. Dynamic CX, fast outcomes, ideal for blue collar. Recently hammered by CAC crackdown on big tech

18/ Lie Pin (
Skilled professional / digital worker platform. 11 million professionals, 100,000 headhunters. Looks decent for posting engineering type roles.

19/ 51 Job (
First online recruitment portal in China.Ttaken private in a deal this year that valued it at about US$5.7 billion. Plays the role of former innovator, now getting outcompeted by cooler offerings. Generic job board / CV database service

20/ Bilbili ( - video share / commentary site. Decent place to try a job ad, given demographic and audience size

21/ Recruiting in China in 2021
All of the above information came via conversation with recruitment experts in China 👇

22/ Brainfood Live On Air
Watch the show on replay if you want to hear the original conversation 👇…

23/ END
1️⃣ Thanks to Beecher Ashley-Moore, Janet Liu, Anne-Marie McCaughan, Sergei Mak, Brian Su and James Morely-Kirk for the insight.
2️⃣ RT if you think this has been useful
3️⃣ Reply if you want to add, update or correct any details in this thread

#brainfood #china #2021

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