So, you are finally taking the plunge. Your company needs to expand, and China is a huge opportunity. So it’s time to bring in some Chinese speaking staff.
As easy as that?
Not quite! There are some things to be aware of before taking the leap…
What a lot of companies do is recruit a Chinese speaking member of staff, giving little thought as to what their role is to be, who will train them, how they will be managed and how to access their output.
Whilst they may have many cultural and language advantages over a UK intern, Chinese interns still need the same business and technical support, and some cultural support also.
With this support, their excellent academic backgrounds and motivation means they can be well above average contributors to your team.
Here are some tips to ensure a more successful recruitment process-
Have a clear job description and ensure that you have staff that can train the candidate in what is expected of them.
For example, recruiting a Chinese member of staff to run your Chinese social media and set up your Baidu account isn’t going to be very successful if they haven’t been trained in how to use these channels successfully. If you don’t have the expertise, ask your marketing agency if they can support and train your intern for you.
We have seen many candidates expected to fulfill the job of a Chinese marketing manager when they are still at intern level. Make sure they get the same level of technical training, as you would give UK interns.
You will have recruited a bi-lingual candidate. However, things get lost in translation. If you have recruited an intern, they may have little or no commercial experience.
Take time to teach them how to write business emails, answer the phone, get under the skin of the brand etc. Business communication in China is a lot more blunt than we find normal in the UK
Management styles differ in China and you might have to be quite prescriptive about the tasks you expect to be completed and by when. In the UK, we are used to an autonomous culture. Chinese culture is more rigid with clear lines of reporting and management.
Use a trusted Visa partner who will manage the visa for you. There are graduate internships programmes that can assist with sponsorship and investment visas.
So is it worth it?
It’s invaluable to have staff within the organisation that speaks Mandarin, if you are looking to expand your reach.
They can understand the culture, respond to enquiries, complaints and translate marketing materials.
Just don’t expect a junior member of staff to have all the answers, anymore than you would expect the same, if you recruited a UK intern. Use Chinese specialist agencies and partners to support you and your Chinese staff and you will flourish.
Emerging Communications are seeing such an influx of interest from both Chinese students and UK firms wanting to recruit them, we are now running training programmes to support both parties.
For more information, email [email protected]