banner Exclusive Interview with, a Recommended Chinese Recruitment Company


Question:  The China Human Resources (HR) scene is changing fast.  Your company is a new company in the recruitment field but already it is a name that we are starting to hear a lot as an upcoming leader.  Can you tell us a little about your company  How it came to be formed, what your ownership structure is, who are the key members of the management team and why you feel your business model will ultimately be a success?

Answer:  Our company was formed by HR professionals and Technical people utilizing new web search technology.  We provide on-line Applicant Tracking System and targeted recruiting channel services to Corporate HR in both local and foreign companies in China. We also help our clients to motivate individual referrals and therefore become a leading referral based career solution in China.

HR staffs have lots of headaches in their daily recruitment work. The new generation of search technology makes it possible to do a much better job in on-line recruitment. Internet recruiting is growing very fast in China (50% growth, according to  iResearch report) every year.

Our ownership structure is based on partnership and angel investment (corporate executives who believe in the team and the model)

The reason why we feel our model will succeed is:

1.      the talent shortage in professional and higher level,, esp. in technical and financial fields will continue in the foreseeable future

2.      Internet recruiting is the direction the HR industry is going.  Lower than 30% of the total recruitment market is on-line now.

3.      New proprietary   technology plus HR knowledge base will help customers to do a much better job.

4.      Our model is representing the trend of the internet development: the value of the web is more decentralized/individualized, and users participate to contribute value

5.      We focus on one area and make it the Best. This will be the direction of internet recruiting. We will keep the 1st mover advantage and make our company the best in our field.

 The most important factor is we have the best team who knows HR, new technology and internet business.

Question:   There are a number of very big names in recruitment in China already, names like China HR, 51.Job, Monster or others?  Can you explain how your business plan differs from companies like those names above?

Answer:  We are addressing different market needs. They are helping to move the recruitment from off-line to on-line. They have a huge untapped market. They act as the agent/middle man between companies and applicants. As found in the US job market now, job boards have inherent disadvantages: fit and reach. Fit means spam resumes; reach means they only reach active job seekers. 70-80% of the talent in China are not looking for jobs actively. But in China, a career is much more important for people. When good opportunities arise, they will catch them.

The job boards only attract and pull; we will push the opportunists to the right/matched audience, presenting them to this audience.  Further more, we provide cash incentives to those who help to pass on the opportunities to our company;

As we said before, hiring is a big challenge for companies, by building up talent networks/referral networks, companies will have a talent pipeline for  “just in time supply”.

Question:  The HR market in China is still not totally open to outside investment at this time.  Could you explain the current restrictions on investment by foreign companies in recruitment and other HR based industries?  Also, can you speak to how this has affected the development of China-based HR companies?  Also, has it affected at all in your opinion the professionalism of Chinese HR companies or the rate of adoption of new technologies or business models to deal with human resource issues?

Answer:  According to the latest released market analysis, among the top 100 human resources service providers in China, 62% are foreign-funded companies and 38% are fully China local companies.   The HR market is open to outside investment in terms of headhunting services, training and consulting services and HR software services.  Currently the only restriction for foreign investment in the HR industry is the personnel outsourcing service, which includes social benefit administration and personnel file management.  The situation will remain unchanged in the foreseeable future.

The foreign investment headhunting and HR consulting services in China are much more competitive than local ones because they have a long history, global offices, strong capital support and most of them are listed companies in the international stock markets.  They also are more experienced in providing HR services in overseas markets.  China local companies will have a long way to go in order to replace the foreign consulting firm’s leading position in the market.

The competition between foreign investment HR software companies and training companies is pretty intense.  These two types of companies address different target clients and have an almost equivalent market share at the current stage.

Internet recruiting, on the other hand is a newly established industry even in the international market.  China’s local internet recruiting companies started together with foreign companies in 1995 and China’s advanced internet infrastructure, huge number of internet visitors, and strong capital support made local internet recruiting companies take a leading position in local and even in global markets. 

The current issue is that HR professionals in both local and foreign companies need to handle many things by themselves, most are administrative work.  In order to become strategic partners of their employer, HR personnel need a lot of help from outside service providers.  Jobmet is aiming to provide the most effective recruiting services to HR professionals.

Question:  As I understand your job model, your company focuses more on office workers, para-professionals and professional level positions like Engineers, Researchers, Computer or IT professionals?  Is this correct?  And, if so, what are the difficulties that China and U.S. companies experience in trying to attract these types of employees?

Answer:  Yes. The difficulties that China and U.S. companies experience in attracting talent are: There is a talent shortage at this level in the market, and there are many opportunities for employees.  High salary may help, but employees value  career development opportunities more than only salary.  Possibilities for personal growth are big motivators. Company culture is another key factor for Chinese employees. So an employers' brand name is very key to attract talent (that’s why suddenly there are so many rankings published  on “best employers in China”).

Another difficult factor is about the company location. People love to come to work in big cities like Shanghai and Beijing. It’s very hard to attract equivalent talent to medium or small cities. There is a high cost in relocating candidates to Tianjin, Hang Zhou, Nan Jing, Qing Dao, etc.

Question:  Referrals have always been a useful way to find employees.  Your model seems to rely on this approach, in doing so how does developing networks and referrals and automating the process play into your process?  Also, in terms of your staffing how much of your total company staffing is to meet the IT needs and how much is in other area?

Answer:  We try to help our clients to expand internal referral to external talent networks, track the referral chain and provide cash bonus to motivate the referral.  We also integrated a variety of channels to push the vacant position to the right channel and persons.

In Jobmet, half of the staff works on our IT needs and the other half works on HR consulting and sales needs.

Question:  Your company is based in Beijing but China is in many ways not a national market but a series of fractionated provincial and in some cases City markets.  Is this same model reflected in the HR recruitment business and if so, does your company help companies outside of Beijing and does that offer special challenges?

Answer:  Yes, these markets are different and largely seperate. Guangdong province, Shanghai and Beijing will be the most active markets for on-line recruitment. Different cities are different in culture too.

Our platform is internet based.  It is correct from a technical perspective. But as a new model, we need to meet the customers to sell, that will be our challenge -  to ramp up in the current stage. Beijing and Shanghai are our first focus markets.

Question:  Currently China companies are increasing their staffs, especially the numbers and qualifications of their local staffs just as much or more as foreign companies.  How much of the market in terms of recruitment is more local companies and how much is for foreign companies?

Answer:  Both China state-owned and private-owned companies are increasing their staffs, especially private-owned companies.  An analyses of the internet recruiting market shows approximately 50-60% of the market in terms of recruitment is local companies.  The remaining 40% is for foreign companies and joint-venture companies.

Question:  Could you give some current approximate ranges of salaries for Chinese based staff such as engineers, office managers, accountants and the types of other professional or para-professional positions that your company helps to find?

Answer:  The positions we are currently working on offer salary ranges from RMB8000 – RMB 20,000, For junior to middle level technical or sales staff , the employer would offer RMB 8000 – RMB 15,000 per month.  For some managerial staff, the salary can go up to RMB 20,000/month.  We also have some very senior level positions from multinational companies.  These are Director level positions and will be paid from 0.5 to 1 million RMB per year.

Question:  Do these figures include benefits and if not what is the standard percentage package that you feel would be a likely range to use in calculating benefits?

Answer:  Benefits cost will be approximately 25%-50% of base salary.

Question:  What would you note as the currently most prominent trends in the recruitment industry and how is your company addressing these to continue to lead your rivals?

Answer:  The most prominent trends of the recruitment industry are:

1.      moving to on-line which is growing very fast

2.      growing total market (rapid market growth).

3.      professional level (and plus)  talent shortage

4.      WTO, open, and global competition, industries integrating - lots of major changes. Recruitment solutions becomes a long-term strategic job.  In most well performing companies, recruitment is the most important job in HR or even the whole company. In long term, “easy to implement” solutions will be the answer.


About the Interviewer:  

Christopher W. Runckel, a former senior US diplomat who served in many counties in Asia, is a graduate of the University of Oregon and Lewis and Clark Law School. He served as Deputy General Counsel of President Gerald Ford’s Presidential Clemency Board. Mr. Runckel is the principal and founder of Runckel & Associates, a Portland, Oregon based consulting company that assists businesses expand business opportunities in Asia. (

Until April of 1999, Mr. Runckel was Minister-Counselor of the US Embassy in Beijing, China. Mr. Runckel lived and worked in Thailand for over six years. He was the first permanently assigned U.S. diplomat to return to Vietnam after the Vietnam War. In 1997, he was awarded the U.S. Department of States highest award for service, the Distinguished Honor Award, for his contribution to improving U.S.-Vietnam relations. Mr. Runckel is one of only two non-Ambassadors to receive this award in the 200-year history of the U.S. diplomatic service.

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