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Five ways to work well with recruiters if you want to move to China

1) Be targeted in your approach

Robert Parkinson, founder and managing director of RMG Selection, says: “The opportunities are never ending in what has to be one of the most voracious jobs markets that’s ever existed. Obviously, there is an endless proliferation of recruiters, headhunters, jobs fairs, networking events etc. Many of these events aren’t focused on one specific specialisation and therefore it is relatively easy for a job seeker to get lost in the crowd of generalists and opportunists.”

2) Choose two or three good recruiters

Selecting a good recruiter is equally important as choosing an employer. As a 14-year veteran, Parkinson reckons certain parts of the industry are notorious for their high staff turnover and inexperience, so it’s often difficult to distinguish good recruiters from bad ones. “Candidates should look carefully and seek out specialist recruitment firms and other organisations that cater specifically to the area of work they seek.”

3) Visit China and meet recruiters face to face

Travelling to Shanghai or Beijing for meetings is better than just talking on the phone or emailing. You get a first-hand understanding of the local job market and you demonstrate a willingness to relocate to China. And when speaking face to face with recruiters, you have the opportunity to make a personal impression on them. They will get to know you and hence be better able to understand your needs and find you a suitable position.

4) Ask intelligent questions

The questions you ask recruiters will show your level of professionalism and knowledge of the market. All interviews should be two-way conversations where the candidate is entitled to probe and ask questions about the recruiter’s experience and background, says Parkinson. “Be ready to challenge recruiters and ask precise questions which produce confidence-inspiring answers. ‘Which other clients do you work with?’ or ‘For which positions have you made placements within the last six months?’ are perfectly acceptable questions.”

5) Make sure your attitude is right

“It is important for candidates to realise that they are competing on an equal playing field with mainland Chinese, so they should not expect special treatment in terms of compensation. This attitude should be reflected in interviews and meetings with prospective employers as well as recruiters,” says Parkinson.

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