Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Do you have what it takes to get hired in China?

I subscribe to the feed from The Epoch Times, and usually their stories, while important for knowing what's really going on in China, are a bit of a downer ("Activist begins hunger strike", for example, or "Local farmers killed for opposition to Party policies"). However, not all of them are. And this one shows how modern Chinese employers are using very old-fashioned Chinese techniques to (as the prof quoted says - this was my interpretation, too) either pick new employees who would be auspicious for them, or obtain a good excuse to dump otherwise viable candidates they just don't like (how many western companies would kill for a mechanism like that?).

Your "Sign" Is Key to Getting a Good Job in Sichuan

In Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, some employers have recently been using criteria other than an applicant's education and experience to decide who should be hired. These employers focus on an applicant's birth date, Asian zodiac sign, name, birth star, and a calculation to determine that one's birthday does not conflict with the company. Expert numerologists are also used to determine the new staff member's future.

. . . The manager said that the company is in a merchandising business and that employees' resumes are not very important. The "fortune" of the employee and how well that "fortune" fits in with the company is considered the most crucial factor for determining their suitability for hire. When the fortunes "match," then the employees will do their job well and the companies can operate profitably. Conversely, neither the employer nor the employee will benefit if mutual "good fortune" isn't predicted. The president of this company has also hired a fortuneteller from Hong Kong to predict the futures of the new hires.

According to this report, in addition to using one's birth date to select employees, the meaning of one's surname is considered. For example, in private enterprises that must make a profit, applicants whose last names are (in English) "Gold," or "Money" are more likely to be hired. But people with names like, "End," or "Loss," won't have much of a chance.

. . . Professor Hu Kuangfu, a researcher in the Social Science Academy of Sichuan Province, believes he has uncovered the two main reasons why these types of bizarre interviews occur. One is that superstition can help ensure success and the other is that these criteria are used as an excuse to refuse the applicant.

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