Under China's Labour Law, enterprises can decide for themselves the timing and means of recruiting staff as well as the relevant requirements and number. At present, enterprises may hire staff through various channels.
At present, the majority of employment agencies in China are organisations under labour and social security departments as well as personnel departments. There are also agencies run by enterprises, organisations and individuals. These agencies are usually called "employment centre", "human resources market" and the like. In recent years, head-hunting companies have also emerged.
Employment agencies operated by labour and social security departments and personnel departments usually offer standard services such as staff recruitment, personal files management and handling matters related to social insurance. They also maintain huge human resources databases so that they can meet the requirements of enterprises in hiring staff at all levels and head-hunt high-calibre senior executives for them.
Points to note
Before using the service of an employment agency, an enterprise may request the agency to provide proof of its legal status, approval certificate issued by the labour department, information on the scope of service, charge standards, name and telephone number of its supervisory authorities etc.
When appointing an employment agency, an enterprise should present a letter of introduction on the enterprise itself, its business licence (copy) or other proof of registration as a legal entity, a profile on recruitment requirements, and identification document of the person-in-charge of the recruitment exercise. The profile on recruitment requirements should contain information such as an introduction of the enterprise, number of staff to be recruited, job types, job requirements, terms of employment, remunerations, fringe benefits and labour protection.
FIEs which have not applied for incorporation and have only set up representative offices or offices in China are not in a position to directly recruit staff. They can only recruit staff through foreign enterprise service companies authorised by the state. Technically speaking, employees working for representative offices are not staff of the representative office but are staff deployed by the foreign enterprise service company to work at the representative office. Representative offices must sign labour contracts with foreign enterprise service companies with regard to the deployment of staff to work at the representative office. Since Chinese staff working at the representative offices of FIEs in China are paid their wages and benefits through foreign enterprise service companies, foreign enterprise service companies charge certain fees. Representative offices can sign a supplemental agreement with their Chinese staff on specific labour issues.
With the prior approval of the local labour and social security department, an enterprise may place recruitment ads in the mass media such as newspapers, magazines, and radio/TV stations. Without such approval, recruitment ads are not permitted to appear in the news media.
Human resources fairs
Currently, human resources fairs are a popular way to recruit employees in China. These events are specifically organised for enterprises to recruit staff, such as senior executives recruitment fairs, FIE staff recruitment fairs, and dedicated interview sessions with university graduates. These events are usually organised by employment agencies with participating enterprises setting up recruitment booths and job seekers admitted for a fee.
Enterprises planning to hire staff through these fairs should consider various factors such as whether the events are well organised and the reputation of the organiser.