Recruiting in China – To Outsource or Not to Outsource

Recruiting in ChinaRecruiting in China for China is not core data for most companies.  Therefore, it often crushes them in China. We can think strategically on this.

Following on from a previous post on How to Find a Good Recruiter for your Business, I wanted to cover outsourcing here.

People are the key to your business.  You should not casually outsource.

If you have a good system, and you are getting the right hires consistently, then confirm the system and maintain it diligently. It is valuable.

It requires people who are good at screening and people who are good at connecting with candidates and good at interviewing and good at getting facts beyond the interview and resume. In  summary you need everything from the last post in house full time. We find three years of training and practicing can grow a good recruiter in house.

It is unreasonable to presume that all hiring managers will have a good eye for talent. Outsourcing to a company that partners with hiring managers then makes a lot of sense.  Most companies did not hire line managers to be recruiters. Candidates should be vetted, so the hiring managers should NOT see anyone who would not help the business.  There are a great number of hiring managers who are not good at choosing and even some in China who choose candidates to serve their interests instead of the company. Beware.

Recruiting in China When HR is Outside Their Bandwidth

HR, in  fact, is a very broad topic. There is always a limitless amount of people work for HR to do inside the business. The detail and confidential work of HR combined with the relational ability are already a stretch for many departments.  One possible work for HR could be reinforcing the vision and values of the company by all conceivable means. In this generation, HR is weak. It is often best to not hire an HR manager and just have a supervisor.  Even the detail work can be outsourced.  Line managers need to be responsible for vision and values on the inside for sure, and most HR people and managers fail to get how to assist that most critical thing. That cannot be outsourced.  See also Knowing Your Core Values in China

I see problems inside many Western companies in China, and most times messy hiring is how companies got where they are today. Most companies would do well to outsource recruiting and some should even outsource the detail work of personnel records. Then they could get back to the work of building and maintaining a strong culture.

Finding a Recruiter to Partner With

However, you need to find a recruiter to partner with. If you outsource recruiting, then they need to really know you. Casually outsourcing would lead to bigger and bigger cultural problem on the inside no matter how good your HR was. Chinese HR managers almost always oppose paying for quality as Chinese people emphasize cost over value in this generation. Cheap solutions for recruiting may not give you best ROI.

In summary, recruiting in China well is the lifeblood of your company. If you want to do it in house, then invest all the energy and talent necessary to make sure you have the right ability to build your team without adding to complexity by the kind of people placed.  If you are not focused on this, then outsource and make sure you get the right group. Then partner with them as you need them to be deep with you.


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Posted in: China Recruitment - Getting Good People, Decision Making, Leadership

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  1. Allen Shepard August 27, 2014

    Nice read! outsourcing recruiting can very difficult at times, I
    must admit. Bring in the right talent is easier said than done and these
    insights should help out a lot. Thank you so much.

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