5 Top Hiring Mistakes in China

I´ve just been watching the webinar “The Talent Management in China and How to Overcome it” presented by talent management expert Michelle LaVallee, Founder and Partner at Management Success in China. The recording is full of good insights and lessons on talent management.You may watch this webinar at China Business Webinars.

On the recruitment topic, Mrs LaVallee emphasizes on the fact that desperate and urgent hiring leads into hiring the wrong person 75% of the times. Today I will share with you Mrs LaVallee´s “Top Hiring Mistakes in China” list and some of her recommendations:

1.Basing decision on resume content and short behavioral based or hypothetical interviews.
Some resumes are just out of this world. Quite frankly, the great majority of them are simply not true. They are made up, there are all kind of mistakes with titles and responsibilities.
Checking those resumes and making sure that they are factual is an incredibly important step to increase your hiring success in China.

2.Using vague job descriptions to recruit and interview.
Most job descriptions are just quickly put together to do some recruiting. They are too long, the employer does not look at them, they are not used in performance reviews, development or coaching. If you are not using them, they are just a waste of time and you may need to rethink that strategy.

Mrs LaVallee explains that the best alternative is to create what she calls a “job scorecard”. A job scorecard is a brief document, could be just two pages an it will cover the following points:
-Identify the mission for the role, in simple language

-Identify 5-7 yearly key accountabilities with specific measures of success and actual deliverables for a High Performer

-Rate Minimal Competencies- the skills you must have to get the job (so you can actually rate the candidate as you are conducting interviews).

3.Not investing in interview training for hiring managers
The most important decisions regarding “talent” are too often based on poorly conducted interviews.It is all based on hypothetical questions and, unfortunately, your interviewees know well how to answer hypothetical questions and know how to give answers that sound great (they have done plenty of interviews!). You need to base the interviews on specific questions on their experience, on what they have actually done and not on “fake questions”.

Some advice to improve your hiring success:
-Invest in interview skill training for all hiring managers

-Make time in your schedule to do tandem interviews (2 people) with your hiring managers

-Observe your hiring managers interview skills

4.Not conducting thorough reference checks
If you do not conduct thorough reference checks you are setting up for failure. There is here the myths that it is not culturally appropriate to do reference checks in China. Reality is quite different as most companies are happy to share their experiences about colleagues and you are able to ask a lot of questions.

5.Failing to look within for promotable talent
There is a lot of talented people in China. There should be a special focus on assessing them early and developing them.

“Talent review” is simple but very useful tool that helps you measure the success of your hiring and promotion decisions (the presentation shows an example of this tool). It helps you understand and track performance, suitability to the job and plan carrier steps and promotions.

What do you think? Are you following the right hiring steps?

If you are interested in this topic you may also like to read the following posts:

* 3 Trends in the Chinese Labour Market
* 5 Recruitment Tips for Entrepreneurs in China
* 7 Tips on How to Recruit Managers for SMEs in China
* Retaining your Chinese Employee
* 6 Tips on How to Retain your Chinese Talent
* 10 Reasons Why your Chinese Employee is Leaving You
* Why are your Chinese Employees Leaving You?

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Foreign Companies: Sexy No More

Last week I attended an event hosted by Servcorp Shanghai where Christian Groeger and Valourie Xuan, from Fiducia Management Consultants, delivered a presentation entitled “Winning the Talent War (in China) in 2011”. I will be writing a few posts based on insights from that presentation.

One of the first watch-out points was that foreign companies are no longer the preferred employer for Chinese graduates. It may not be breaking news but the fact is that foreign companies seem to be losing the talent war. The reality on the ground is that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and private Chinese companies are successfully pitching for that limited resource. I have already mentioned this in a previous post entitled “Top Challenge for Foreign Companies in China: Human Resources Constraints” quoting key findings from this year’s AmCham Shanghai China Business Report.

Mr Groeger shared the results of a survey published in 2010 by Universum. In this report (32.561 participants divided by field of study) graduates expressed their employer preferences. The top results for business graduates were as follows
1. Bank of China
2. China Mobile
3. Procter & Gamble
7. China Development Bank
8. Citi
9. China Merchants Bank
10. SGCC

Do you see a lot of foreign companies in the list? (you can read the Top 100 ranking for 2010 here).
Some other surveys paint an even grimmer picture. An article from China Business Review mentions the results of a survey conducted by ChinaHR.com (a poll of 200.000 students across 700 universities). The list of top 50 preferred employers included only four foreign companies, down from 21 the previous year. That sounds like a big switch in preferences in just one year.

Do you also feel it is getting tougher?

Human Resources in China: Structure your Needs and Plan for Growth

I’ve just read a very good post at All Roads Lead to China. The article is entitled “Managing a good team in China requires process. Not luck”, and I fully subscribe it. I think Richard Brubaker’s recommendations are universal and apply not just to China but everywhere else in the world.

 As an overall strategy, he tries to answer the following questions:
1. Where are the critical gaps in the organization
2. What skills & talents are required
3. What is the Job Description – and articulate the need in a way that will attract right people
4. How will I ensure I retain them

 From a practical perspective he takes you through some steps to help you build a good hiring strategy (some of them also to help retain your current staff). These steps cover your “homework” before you get out there and start looking for new employees:
1. Have and org chart. Know what people are doing or supposed to be doing
2. Write clear Job Descriptions for all positions. It will help hires and managers equally
3. Ensure your organizational structure allows for professional growth (if not your staff will soon grow demotivated )
4. Share your org charts with your current employees to input their views and insights in your decisions
5. Plan for unexpected growth/ Have a growth strategy in place. Where are the bottle necks?

I would probably add the following comments (insights coming from my interview to German Torrado, who has set up & managed HHRR award winning companies. You can read the complete article here):
6. Invest on the tools that will allow you to identify the right candidates (Do not base your recruitment decision on intuition! There are good tests that will help you make a more rational decision)
7. Define personality profiles required for every position.

I recommend you to read the full article from All Roads Lead to China here

 What do you think?