Hiring in China When Building a Leadership Team Overseas
China is hugely popular for outsourcing, along with being a major hub for global business. As a result, if your business gets big enough, you’re eventually going to want to hire a team over there. This can be tricky due to the distance, language barriers, cultural barriers and more. However, technology makes hiring overseas in China much easier, provided you start by hiring the right leadership team.
The trick here is in the vetting. As leadership will have quite a bit of autonomy, you’ll need to be very careful who you choose. The process of checking backgrounds and references in China is much different than in the US. Remote hiring tools are the key to getting this done efficiently while protecting your company from a bad hire.
How Hiring in China is Different
Business isn’t just business in China. It’s the basis of its class system. Having a good job with a well-respected corporation raises a person’s social standing, so competition is fierce. Many things are different in the hiring process in China. Those who don’t go in informed are likely to stumble a bit when it comes to setting up a leadership team. Here are some of the key things you’ll need to consider:
- The laws are localized – In the US and most other countries, employment law is made at the federal level. In China, it’s left to local municipalities to decide what they want to implement. Before you start hiring, you need to know exactly where your office is going to be located so you can follow the laws specific to that area.
- Most employment is contractual – Most companies in the US and the UK are “at will” employers. That means the employer can fire the employee at any time, and the employee can leave at any time. Leadership positions are implemented via contract in China. If you’re trying to hire a leader away from an old employer and they haven’t finished their contract, you and that employee could get sued for damages. Before making an offer, make sure that the person you’re hiring is clear of any existing contracts.
- Hiring private investigators is almost always illegal – For positions of high responsibility in English-speaking countries, a private investigator is sometimes brought on board to do a thorough review of the individual’s background. In China, the use of a private investigator is almost always illegal. The creation of private investigation agencies was outlawed in 1993. While some firms still choose to operate this way, know that you’re very likely committing a crime if you engage an in-country investigator.
- Background checks are streamlined – In China, criminal records for citizens are stored in one centralized area, with the exception of small, rural regions that don’t have access to these systems. If no criminal record is found, a Certificate of No Criminal Conviction will be issued. These usually need to be collected in person, so generally, the applicant will do it. This is required for anyone with a job title of director, supervisor, or senior manager.
The main thing you need to know about employing people in China is the applicant will likely supply much of the investigatory items. As you’re likely not familiar with these records, it’s possible for them to be forged by a clever scammer. To get around this, you can take advantage of technology and improve your odds of making the right hire.
Leveraging Technology When Hiring in China
Hiring in China is a bit more complex, which is why you might want to take advantage of some useful technology and services that you can use to vet your potential management staff in China. These tools allow you to vet remotely, which saves you time and expenses in the hiring process.
- Online form filing – Before you can check the references of a prior employer, you must get the applicant’s consent in writing. Using online form filing, with eSignature options, is the ideal way to get this done quickly while staying compliant with the law.
- Meet-Up agencies – Networking is a major affair in China and there are many companies online that specialize in arranging meet-ups to help employers find the right candidates. This is a good tool when you’re looking to hire a management team, as you’ll get to meet them while using an efficient process.
- Remote Risk Assessment – Remote Risk Assessment is an interviewing tool that uses a brief, automated telephone interview consisting of closed-ended questions to assess the risk of a given applicant. This can be done remotely, in any language, and in under ten minutes. This is good for checking a candidate’s risk without the legal gray area of hiring a PI.
- Online background checking agencies – While many agencies provide background checks, you want a background agency that specializes in Chinese background checks. There are licenses, forms, and certifications that these agencies will know to check that you may not even have heard of. Arm yourself with knowledge by selecting a well-respected agency that specializes in the region.
China is a tricky country to hire in, especially when you don’t have the benefit of being able to meet in person. There are laws that you need to follow and procedures which are common there, but not anywhere else. The worst part is that, if you hire the wrong employee, it’s very hard to get rid of them.
That’s why AC Global Risk offers RRA as a solution for companies looking to set up shop and hire leaders in China. Our technology is quick, efficient and can be used in any language. If you’re interested in creating a better overseas hiring in China process, contact us.