By Kyle Long
J.P. Morgan’s recent decision to hire Elaine La Roche as its China vice-chairman may have not been a difficult one, given her qualifications as a former chief executive of China International Capital Corporation.
Leading the large, successful, foreign-owned investment banking business left no shadow of a doubt on her capabilities, with many public decisions and achievements made through her run.
But what about companies looking to hire candidates without such an extensive and verifiable paper trail of credentials?
Many companies leave the HR process largely up to chance in China, subjecting the safety of their trade secrets, brand name, and reputation to harm, according to a recent article in the Shanghai Business Review.
Many of the same precautions that companies in the West use are available in China as well. You may just have to work at it a bit. While some criminal background information is not in the public domain, as it may be considered a state secret, there is plenty of info out there to be legally obtained. According to the article, “Asking candidates to sign a waiver authorizing a company to verify the information provided in their application form makes the legality of the check even clearer.”
Here’s how to go about getting the most information to shield you from letting in a future Kenneth Lay into your ranks, according to the SBR report:
• Design a standard application form with input fields far beyond what a normal resume provides. This will lend a fuller picture for sniffing out the classic “resume padder” in the verification process.
• Get copies of all certificates, documents and degrees listed. All such documents in China will have a serial number in the upper-right hand corner, which makes it traceable and verifiable with the proper authorities.
• A Certificate of No Criminal Record is obtainable by all mainland Chinese citizens. This must be requested by the employee in person at their hometown police office, which may cause some hassle for companies in Beijing and Shanghai, but may very well be worth it.
• Other online resources are available for background checks. More than 2,400 governmental information websites have information in the public domain, including local ones to find any civil litigation and background information. It may be a messy web, but the info is out there for you (or your Chinese-reading assistant) to find.
With the new Labor Contract Law making it harder to fire workers without the threat of a lawsuit, now’s a good time to take another look at those hiring practices.
Kyle Long, BizCult