Staff Recruitment

An Expert's View about Employees in China

Last updated: 22 Feb 2011

7.1 Ways of Staff Recruitment


Under China's new Labour Contract Law, enterprises can decide for themselves the timing and means of recruiting staff as well as the relevant requirements and number. At present, enterprises may hire staff through various channels.
7.1.1 Public Employment Service Organs and Employment Agencies

(a) Public Employment Service Organs and Employment Agencies

At present, the majority of public employment service organs in China are organisations under labour and social security departments as well as personnel departments. They can provide the following services according to the requirements of employing units: (1) guidance in staff recruitment; (2) staff recruitment; (3) cross-regional staff recruitment; (4) professional services such as corporate human resources management and consultancy; (5) handling of labour security affairs; and (6) other employment service projects as required by employing units.

There are also profit-making employment agencies run by enterprises, organisations and individuals. These agencies are usually called "employment centre", "human resources market" etc. In recent years, head-hunting companies specialising in recruiting high-calibre senior executives have also emerged.

(b) Points to Note

Before using the service of an employment agency, an enterprise may request the agency to provide proof of its legal status, approval certificate issued by the labour department, information on the scope of service, charge standards, name and telephone number of its supervisory authorities etc.

When appointing an employment agency, an enterprise should present a letter of introduction on the enterprise itself, its business licence (copy) or other proof of registration as a legal entity, a profile on recruitment requirements, and identification document of the person-in-charge of the recruitment exercise. The profile on recruitment requirements should contain information such as an introduction of the enterprise, number of staff to be recruited, job duties, terms of employment, remunerations, fringe benefits, social insurance coverage and other information prescribed by laws and regulations.

FIEs which have not applied for incorporation and have only set up representative offices or offices in China are not in a position to directly recruit staff. They can only recruit staff through foreign enterprise service companies authorised by the state. Technically speaking, employees working for representative offices are not staff of the representative office but are staff deployed by the foreign enterprise service company to work at the representative office. Representative offices must sign labour contracts with foreign enterprise service companies with regard to the deployment of staff to work at the representative office. Since Chinese staff working at the representative offices of FIEs in China are paid their wages and benefits through foreign enterprise service companies, foreign enterprise service companies charge certain fees. Representative offices can sign a supplemental agreement with their Chinese staff on specific labour issues.

7.1.2 Mass Media

With the prior approval of the local labour and social security department, an enterprise may place recruitment ads in the mass media such as newspapers, magazines, and radio/TV stations. Without such approval, recruitment ads are not permitted to appear in the news media.

7.1.3 Human Resources Fairs

Currently, human resources fairs are a popular way to recruit employees in China. These events are specifically organised for enterprises to recruit staff, such as senior executives recruitment fairs, FIE staff recruitment fairs, and dedicated interview sessions with university graduates. These events are usually organised by employment agencies with participating enterprises setting up recruitment booths and job seekers admitted for a fee.

Enterprises planning to hire staff through these fairs should consider various factors such as whether the events are well organised and the reputation of the organiser.


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Posted: 19 February 2011, last updated 22 February 2011

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