How to Increase Your Chances of Being Headhunted in China

Are you pleased with your professional life in China? Great! Yet, surely you wouldn't mind upgrading to something better? To be headhunted is to be hired by a(nother) firm that is actively seeking someone with your specific set of abilities. How do you raise your profile in China so that you attract the attention of headhunters? If you want to know more, read on!

In China, there is a common belief that if you are recruited to move companies, the employing party should pay you a rise of 20-30%. This makes the idea of being headhunted highly appealing. Seem like a lot to you? It is. But obviously, those kinds of figures are reserved for fields or locations where skilled workers are in short supply.

Being headhunted is, for the most part, associated with having a very excellent negotiating position, unless, of course, the head hunters are members of a drug cartel. The greatest strategy to advance your career in China is to be open to new chances and to let recruiters find you, rather than to aggressively pursue them.

Expectations will, however, be quite high if you’re headhunted in China, so you’d best live up to the magical picture the recruiter has conjured up of you. Here are a few strategies you may take to make yourself so appealing to recruiters that your CV will receive more activity than your Tantan profile.

Update your profiles regularly

Look through your CV, your profile photo, your portfolio, your website and all the things that matter for the employment you’re aiming for. Maintain uniform accuracy and veracity throughout.

Once all that’s taken care of, it’s important to switch on any relevant internet alerts that signal you’re open to new possibilities. Our sister site, eChinaJobs, is a good place to start. When you post your resume online and indicate that you are interested in new job prospects, employers will start contacting you. Learn more about our application process here!

LinkedIn is now one of the few Western social media sites not restricted in China, but having a presence there is still a good idea because of the site's popularity in this country.

Don't be reticent to hand out business cards.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that business cards are as cutting edge as a tape recorder; a throwback to the days of shoulder pads and paisley ties. That is, until someone asks for your business card at a networking event and you realize it's time to get serious. Business card exchanges remain an integral aspect of Chinese business etiquette, even if WeChat is widely used as a backup.

If your present employer gives out business cards, you should always have a stack on you, or at least while you're in a professional setting. Rather of waiting for the corporation to provide them, you could just make your own. It’s inexpensive!

Third, make your presence known where it counts.

It’s a good idea to attend trade exhibitions, networking events, conferences and job fairs if you’re trying to be headhunted in China. Look the part, however; your appearance will likely carry more weight in the eyes of your superiors than any list of accomplishments could.

For the love of employment, bring your business cards and CV to a job fair if you want to be headhunted (pro tip: have your CV laminated for extra points). The ultimate indicator of being an overachieving professional is attaching your business card to your laminated CV. Professionals in the hiring process will be smitten with you at first sight.

Take in any and all calls from strangers

Telemarketers that call out of the blue are a major turnoff, and they, along with the rare fraudster masquerading as a family member, are common in China. But if you're trying to be headhunted, none of them is more than a little distraction.

You never know who could be behind the anonymous call you receive at the dinner table, but sometimes it's a recruiter. If your phone number is on your resume and connected to your profile on job search sites, you really have nothing to lose by picking up every call.

Never rest on your oars

There's no denying the ego boost you get from being "headhunted." Even if you're headhunted, it doesn't mean you're guaranteed a new job. Of course, you'll still have to prove yourself in (many) interviews and maybe even a test. Salary discussions are next and they warrant their own write-up.

Oh, you got the job, right? Congratulations! While this is certainly something to celebrate, beginning a new job in China is no picnic; adjusting to your new surroundings, making friends at work, and locating the next 7/11 are just the easy parts. You’re also going to have to transfer your work permit or apply for one for the first time if your former employment was a little dubious.

In a predicament such as this, what is the last thing you want to think about? Refreshing your resume, online profiles, portfolio, and site. It's dull, tiresome, and a waste of time when you're already swamped, but it's essential if you want to keep your options open and take advantage of the best possibilities. Perhaps the job you have accepted is in such great demand that you will be inundated with offers from other firms right away.

By being open to new experiences and presenting oneself in a positive light to potential employers, you may increase the likelihood that your ideal job will come knocking on your door.

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