Successfully filled executive positions
Briefly speaking, filling positions with high responsibility and discretionary competence is a delicate issue. The theory and practice of the recruitment procedure itself often diverge. Bear in mind four points regarding China-specific executive search.
1. Take enough time
Let us assume that a CEO position is planned to be replaced in the near future. After the candidates have been determined, the exploratory process starts off with a series of interviews including all of those in charge. Two to six weeks may easily pass after the profiles have been transferred and before the interviews take place, simply because the candidates have to travel to China or Europe. As experience teaches, appointments are postponed or adjourned because the decision makers’ schedule books are usually full. That costs precious time. To put it bluntly, we have been able to successfully staff good candidates within two months. In order to engage the best possible candidates at a reasonable price, however, we recommend a schedule of 6 to 12 months to fill executive positions – depending on the given location, role and available budget. This long period of time is quickly explained if you consider three- to six-month periods of notice, e.g., for plant managers. Once good candidates have been presented, several months may often be necessary to make decisions. And in order to present candidates, they first have to be identified and approached in order to go over the hard and soft criteria in preliminary interviews. An early start is absolutely advisable.
Take a tip: In scheduling, also consider your candidates’ terms of notice – a plant manager may well be bound to his present company for another half year and thus only be at your company’s disposal later on.
2. Respect your candidates
While you screen and evaluate your candidates, they too will take a close look when it comes to your enterprise. The pool of candidates is comprehensible at the level of executive positions and top people are in demand. Accordingly, your behavior towards the candidates has to be appreciative and trustworthy. Candidates who are not convinced of your first steps into possible collaboration will quickly back out.
Another example: A preferred candidate is waiting for your feedback following an interview. You agreed on a response after two weeks but are not yet able to make the decision for internal reasons. Putting the candidate off without feedback does not give a good impression. Your best bet would be to communicate, in a timely and appropriate manner, that the decision is delayed.
3. What executives want
Top managers in China have established customs in terms of salary issues: As a general rule, European top managers are assumed to cost more than their Chinese peers, also because of expenditures for childcare, international insurances, accommodation, and other additional costs for Europeans. Such benefits are employer-covered, and Chinese executives do not receive some of these emoluments. This may amount to a lot of money, for instance when paying tuition fees for two kids at an international school in Shanghai or Suzhou.
Apart from money, please also consider a couple of other motivation factors: Staff in such positions are often interested in more ample room to move in terms of creativity. They also ponder on the following: Is this enterprise in harmony with me? What are the company’s goals in China? How realistic are these objectives? Is there anything I can actuate in this enterprise? And are there adequate (financial) resources to materialize those objectives and plans? In this connection, the objectives and corporate philosophy are to be clearly specified as to establish clear expectations – the grounds to walk upon together the very same successful way.
4. Professional candidate search processes
In Steinkellner China Search, professional recruitment incorporates a well arranged process, in terms of time and contents, between the initial interviews and the candidates’ appointments.
a) The first three steps are free of charge. An initial interview will serve to specify your company’s requests. Based on identified requirements, dry profiles (overviews of relevant skills) are drawn up for various candidates and discussed with your company. An offer is made once the customer requirements are refined.
b) Interview phase: This is the phase in which the exploratory process sets in via the Steinkellner Offices in China and Austria. Experts from both locations interview the candidates and arrive at evaluations concerning the individuals. These assessments are presented to the company as candidate profiles.
c) The profiles are evaluated on the telephone and the choice narrowed down. Steinkellner China Search organizes interviews for such candidates, providing experts to be present and active in such talks.
d) Interview debriefing including clients and experts serves to jointly evaluate each interview in order to filter the candidates most likely to match the companies.
e) Following advance fine-tuning, Steinkellner China Search is pleased to provide our clients with support in salary negotiations. Our scope of services includes assistance in drafting contracts with a specialized attorney and in executing employment agreements, as well as support regarding the candidates’ concrete start of work.
f) Regular check-up telephone callswith the candidates ensure efficient elimination of potential difficulties in the onboarding phase.