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5 smart solutions for hiring talent in China post-covid

China's zero covid policy has shaken up the country's job market and sourcing talent is harder than ever – here are 5 strategies and their benefits to ensure you're hiring smarter

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In the post-Covid era, finding talent has become a major challenge for companies in China. Knowing essential recruitment strategies can help businesses attract top-tier candidates

As the rhythms of daily life in China return to normal, consumption is expected to recover at an accelerated pace. At the same time, scientific and technological innovation and green transformation are driving investment in manufacturing. China’s economic growth forecast for 2023 has improved significantly, and the Chinese economy is expected to become the main engine of global economic growth once again.

Given this context, talents are anticipated to become critical resources for companies of all sizes, playing a significant role in determining their ability to achieve success during China’s economic recovery.

Here, we outline several essential recruitment strategies that companies can implement to attract top-tier talent.

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1. Offline and virtual job fairs

Job fairs are an effective channel for recruitment, especially for companies that need to hire large numbers of people.

With the rise of remote work and online communication, job fairs can be held virtually. These events can be hosted on platforms like Microsoft Teams, allowing job seekers to explore opportunities, network and interview from their own homes.

However, with travel restrictions and other Covid-19 control measures mostly lifted, job fairs can once again be held offline. This facilitates more candid and direct communication between the two sides, enhances understanding, and avoids the potential negative outcomes of virtual interviews.

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2. Skills-based hiring

In the post-Covid era, many industries will need to go through major changes to their business structures, supply chains, commercial targets and business strategy. Against this background, skill-based hiring can help companies find the best-matched talents for their success during the economic recovery period.

Unlike traditional recruitment, which focuses more on candidates’ qualifications such as education, career background and certificates, skills-based hiring focuses more on the skills of candidates that are essential for handling the job and their ability to adapt to new challenges.

This approach can help companies attract a more diverse range of candidates and ensure that businesses have the right talent pool to meet changing demands.

3. Upskilling and reskilling programmes

As businesses recover from economic downturns and face significant gaps in in-house talent capacity and knowledge, upskilling and reskilling programs can be a valuable investment for companies. By providing current employees with the necessary skills to succeed in changing industries, businesses can boost employee morale, increase retention rates, and ensure they have the talent required to succeed.

From an enterprise perspective, staff training can improve the capabilities of employees and the decision-making abilities of leaders, strengthen collaborative working relationships at all levels, promote operational quality and efficiency, and help the enterprise grow more efficiently and strategically.

For employees, effective training can stimulate their potential, improve their adaptability and cultivate a sense of belonging to the company. It can also help to improve their knowledge base, confidence and enthusiasm for their work.

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4. Referral programmes

Referral programmes are a popular recruitment strategy for companies in China. Companies can incentivise their current employees to refer qualified candidates for job openings. This can be done by offering bonuses or other rewards for successful referrals. Referral programs are a great way to find top talent quickly while also boosting employee engagement and retention.

5. Collaborative hiring

Collaboration between companies and recruitment agencies can help to create shared talent pools, with agencies providing access to a range of skilled candidates. This can help businesses quickly and efficiently identify and hire the best talent while reducing the costs and resources associated with traditional recruitment.

In recent years, collaborative hiring, especially headhunting, has become increasingly popular in China and is frequently chosen by enterprise managers. This is mainly due to the following advantages:

Strong level of confidentiality: One of the most basic rules of the headhunting industry is confidentiality, which includes not publicly disclosing information from clients and candidates.

Time- and cost-efficient: Headhunting firms usually specialise in certain industries, and consultants have long-standing contact with the best people in those industries. It can take years and a lot of networking to develop these types of connections. Headhunting consultants also have professional talent search technology and databases, which are more efficient than other recruitment methods.

High-quality candidates: Headhunting consultants have many years of experience in human resource management and can conduct scientific and effective interviews. Through background investigation methods, such as CV verification and personnel investigation, they can repeatedly select candidates who closely match the job requirements.

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Lowered risks: The accuracy of headhunting increases the rate of successful recruitment, which means that companies usually do not need to hire again in the short term for the same position. Additionally, companies typically only make full payment for headhunting services after the talent has successfully passed their probation period, which not only reduces recruitment costs at the outset, but also mitigates the risk of unsuccessful recruitment due to unforeseen factors during the onboarding process.

Value-added services: By collaborating with headhunting companies, in-house HR teams have access to industry trends and can receive authentic feedback from candidates indirectly through the headhunting process. Furthermore, once recommended candidates are successfully onboarded, headhunting companies offer a range of services to help them quickly acclimate to their new position, maximise their skills, and drive value for the company.

Identifying suitable candidates who can help achieve business objectives and growth targets is a major challenge in the Chinese market. Without the necessary skills, approaches, and a dependable recruitment partner, many companies can spend significant time and resources without successfully securing the talent they need. To maintain a competitive edge in talent acquisition, companies are encouraged to adopt the latest and most effective recruitment strategies.

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This post was originally published by Dezan Shira and Associates’ China Briefing as ‘Top recruitment strategies in China in the post-Covid Era

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