Should We Accept All Chinese Cultural Differences?

Chinese cultural differences

Some Chinese cultural differences are more important than chopsticks or fork

Chinese Cultural differences should be respected when talking food preferences. What about differences in levels of honesty? Recently, we explained a lie on a resume to a client.  The client declined to go further even though the guy interviewed well. We heartily agreed to not move forward with this guy.

Chinese Cultural Differences in Lying

The Chinese candidate then contacted a Western Professor he knew in college to get the professor to support his application. The Professor said the following in support of the candidate who I call Jones here:

I believe that there has been a cultural misunderstanding. Jones was shocked when he found that the reason for his failure was the fact that in his last position he was employed as an engineer not as a manager as he stated on his CV.

As you know, if you have been in China for any length of time, this is a developing country and standards of professionalism and honesty are quite different from the West. Inflating your CV to get an interview is a common practice. Chinese companies in generally do not check applicants references. Positions here are often granted on the basis of performance in the interview, not on the statements made on the CV.

He could not have made our point better. Standards of honesty are different here in China. Jones had a good resume and great interview skills.   He also lied about his experience and about getting fired and more to appear perfect. None of us is perfect.  It did not take long for us to uncover this guy’s lying.  Being common practice does not make it any more attractive for my Western Client. My customers know the lie by their worker can cost them $10,000-$1,000,000 whether it is common and acceptable in China or not.  They need people who will speak from the heart back home and in China. We will make sure they get what they are after.

My client is smart enough to stay clear of these fast talkers who are smart, but you cannot trust. They are often smart enough to cheat you like this guy did with the resume to start.  If he got the job by lying, what would he likely do under pressure in the job?

Social Sharing

Posted in: China Recruitment - Getting Good People, Chinese Culture, Featured

Leave a Comment (0) ↓


  1. Tait Lawton November 17, 2015

    Interesting read.

    My answer is “No”. We shouldn’t accept dishonesty or immoral behaviour simply because many other people do it.

    We’ve found it’s really important to not rely on an people’s
    interpretations of the cultures of different countries, because it leads
    to uncertainty.

    Instead, in my company we promote our own company culture, and expect others to follow it. This culture is made apparent through our social marketing to potential employees, in the hiring process, training, and so on. We don’t expect people to fit right away, but we do guide them into it.

  2. Fluent Quest November 17, 2015

    Lying is very prevalent. I would be carful by saying it is acceptable for the CV presentation in China. It is not. Showing your better side is one thing but outright lying is something no hiring manager I know would say is ok.

  3. Jim Nelson December 25, 2015

    Virtually all managers have hired people who lied to them to get the job. It is why politics is rampant. Bad hiring is much worse than anyone wants to admit.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.