Ten years ago, I led a micro-finance company and had an experience that changed my view dramatically. It is my only experience getting burned by Chinese Managers.
I had always focused on the character of my hires, and had had little problems. Another partner organization asked me to provide oversight to a micro finance site in Inner Mongolia. I lived a 24-hour trip from that remote place. They asked me to interview a guy a close Chinese friend of mine recommended. So, since he recommended this guy, I just got to know him a little in the interview. He had a good resume. I did not really dig or do a background check. He started the work up there and hired two people, and they started making loans. Some time later, my auditor discovered a discrepancy in their books. Digging around showed that those three altogether had stolen 100,000 RMB by conspiracy.
We recovered much, but not all of the money. From there on I systematized and trained and oversaw hiring like a hawk. I defended the door of that organization, and we never had another incident. I have never changed since that time. Getting burned is not usually criminal, but rather is a slow bleeding in efficiency over years. It is Hard to Avoid Hiring Jerks, Especially in China.
Avoiding Getting Burned by Chinese Managers
We should not casually accept any person into a position of responsibility in our recruiting for our clients now. Now, in all my businesses, if someone recommends someone for a position, we check even more closely. Chinese people will recommend a friend even though they are not the best because they hope to get a favor of some kind. If someone we know recommends, we increase our vigilance. It is a lot of specialized work to get done but helps our customers a ton. Getting Good Chinese Managers.
Most companies I visit are getting burned by randomly hiring in the character column. They then get a mishmash of attitudes that makes the people of the business unhappy and inefficient. The key to not getting burned is having a way to guard the door. Finally, if the person works remote from you, then you need to have a better check and a better system. Check closely and trust all you hire. Do not tempt anyone with a weak system. Hire people who want to do right, and then do not tempt them.