Chinese Wisdom for Recruitment

Chinese wisdom for recruitment

Sima Guang

Chinese wisdom for recruitment from a Chinese man named Sima Guang shows a lot about our recruiting philosophy. Sima Guang is very well known in China and a big statue of him stands outside the Suzhou train station.  He was a historian, writer and politician of very high repute here. Let’s look at what we said about recruiting.

Chinese Wisdom for Recruitment From 1000 Years Ago

才德全尽谓之“圣人”,才德兼亡谓之“愚人”,德胜才谓之“君子”,才胜德谓之“小人”。凡取人之术,苟不得圣人,君子而与之,与其得小人,不若得愚人。

His priority and thought on who to hire is:

1. Holy Man: Talent+Character

2. Gentleman: More Character than Talent

3. Foolish Man: No talent No Character

4. Vile Man: More Talent than Character

Surely you need talent, but I cannot advise strongly enough that character must come before talent as Sima Guang noted.

Note how he says that it is better to hire a fool than a vile man. Why would he say this?

The fool cannot pull the wool over your eyes. The fool has no ability to overcome your system and cheat you. The vile man is talented and uses it for his own purposes and never for his company foremost I think we could all agree with this idea. However, few companies apply it in hiring. We say we want character, but we do nothing solid to ensure it past a possible gut feeling to protect us. The most vile men can easily cheat your gut feeling and gain your confidence.

Why do we trust our gut feeling? My gut feeling on people is great and got me into the recruiting business, but I am experienced enough to know I should not make my excellent gut feeling the final measure.   We use a process that verifies if gut feeling is accurate. My LinkedIn post casts light on this as well.

You need small data that can confirm or refute your gut feel and that must be the last word.  Gut feeling can give you guidance, but again I say it must not be the final word or the vile man will be your common hire when you cannot afford even one. Your company will be better when you apply this thought I have used successfully over nearly 20 years. Another good read for you could be How Do You Know Your Candidate Has Enough Character?

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

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