One reason interviews are especially suspect in China is that they are the Grand Masters of First Impressions.
I have on been to about a dozen countries, so I should not claim to be knowledgeable about all countries.
I can say that in the West we are all aware of the importance of making a good first impression. Chinese go much farther.
As foreigners, we have all had the experience of being treated almost royally just because we are from a favored ethinicity who Chinese believe has money. Note Chinese people work very hard to make a good impression on the people who they think have money. See also Chinese People Are All Trained Politicians.
China has a well known word called taohao ( 讨好). It means to ingratiate yourself, curry favor, fawn on someone. We really have no word for this in English but Chinese have a world that is in common use. Most Chinese are taught to do this from childhood. Many bosses are confused that the Chinese person was so good in the interview and so poor as a hire. You might also gain from reading Chinese Are All Natural Born Actors.
Yes, First Impressions in China Are Emphasized
Chinese people know what to say. They are well practiced. Some are amazing at it. You cannot even know it is happening, but you feel better when you talk to them as they are not too obvious but know how to make you feel good. Many of them do not even do it on purpose but find it happens even against their will as placed so deeply within them.
So this once again points out that we are in deep water when we come to China.
My team does its best to give candidates safety when we interview them so they can be their normal selves better. It helps, but those who are committed to putting on a face will not be moved, and so we employ a specialized interview with our very deep background check to make sure that what you see is what you get.