5 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Being Headhunted in China

5 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Being Headhunted in China
Jun 13, 2019 By Niklas Westerlund , eChinacities.com

Feeling content with your career in China? Great! But surely you wouldn’t mind something a little better? Being headhunted is the act of being recruited by a(nother) company that is actively looking for someone with your particular set of skills. What can you do to increase your chances of being headhunted in China? Keep reading to find out.

Being headhunted is a very attractive prospect, especially when you know of an unofficial rule that if you’re recruited to switch jobs in China, the hiring party should offer you a raise of between 20 to 30 percent. Sounds like a lot? It is. But it goes without saying that these numbers are usually reserved for industries or cities where professionals are in high demand.

Being headhunted is, for the most part, synonymous with having a pretty good bargaining position, unless, of course, the head hunters are part of a drug cartel. One of the best ways to move vertically in your career in China is by not actively looking for jobs yourself, but rather opening yourself up to new opportunities and letting the recruiters come to you.

Expectations will, however, be fairly high if you’re headhunted in China, so you’d better live up to the fantastical image the recruiter has conjured up of you. Here are a few steps you can take to make yourself so attractive to recruiters that your CV will get more action than your Tantan profile.

1. Keep your profile(s) updated

Look over your CV, your profile picture, your portfolio, your website and all the things that matter for the jobs you’re aiming at. Also make sure that everything stays consistent, accurate and truthful.

Once all that’s taken care of, it’s time to turn on any relevant online notifications that say you’re open to new opportunities. Our sister site, eChinaJobs, is an excellent place to start. Simply upload your CV, mark yourself as open to opportunities and watch the offers flood in. More details on how to use our job site can be found here.

It’s also worth having a presence on LinkedIn, not just because it’s currently one of the few Western social media platforms not blocked in China, but also because it’s pretty popular here.

2. Don’t be shy with the business cards

Business cards might feel about as hip and high tech as a tape recorder — a quaint novelty from a bygone era where shoulder pads and paisley-patterned ties reigned supreme — and you might be right. That is up until you’re asked, “May I have your business card?” at a networking event. Luckily in China we also have WeChat to fall back on, but the giving and receiving of business cards is still an important part of Chinese business etiquette.

If your current company provides business cards, make sure you have a bundle on you at all times, or at least when you’re likely to encounter other professionals. If your company doesn’t supply them, go ahead and get your own made. It’s cheap!

3. Show yourself in the right places

It’s a good idea to attend trade shows, networking events, conferences and job fairs if you’re looking to get headhunted in China. However, make sure you look the part; chances are, you’ll be judged more on your body language and style (or lack thereof) than your professional credentials.

If you go to a job fair with the intention of being headhunted, for the love of jobs, bring your business cards and CV (pro tip: have your CV laminated for extra points). The ultimate sign of being an overachieving professional is stapling your business card to your laminated CV. Recruiters will fall in love with you on the spot.

4. Answer all your unknown calls

No-one likes cold-calling telemarketers, and China is rife with them, along with the occasional scammer posing as a relative. However, neither of these are little more than a nuisance, especially if you’re hoping to get headhunted.

Every once in a while, that mystery call you get at dinner will be from a recruiter. You have very little to lose by answering all your calls, especially if your phone number is on your CV and linked to your profile on job search sites.

5. Never rest on your laurels

Being headhunted works wonders for your ego, there’s no doubt about that. But being headhunted won’t guarantee you a new job. You’ll still have (several) interviews to pass and you’ll probably need to provide work samples or take a test to prove yourself. Then comes the salary negotiations, which is an article of its own.

Oh, you landed the job? Congratulations! While that’s cause for celebration, a starting new job in China is also a lot of work; learning the ropes, making friends with your colleagues and finding the closest 7/11 are the easy bits. You’re also going to have to transfer your work permit or apply for one for the first time if your previous job was a bit shady.

What’s the last thing you’ll probably have on your mind in a situation like this? Updating your CV, your job site profiles, your portfolio and your website. It’s boring, tedious, and will feel like a waste of time when you’re way too busy already, but it’s also necessary if you want to keep yourself open to even better opportunities. Maybe the role you’ve just taken on is in such a high demand that you’ll immediately be approached by many more recruiters.

Passively opening yourself up to new opportunities and making yourself attractive to recruiters will set you in good stead to have the job of your dreams fall in your lap, again and again.

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Keywords: headhunted in China


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Hey Niklas, Thanks for sharing the tips about being headhunted in China. I read your post it is very much helpful for me. I think building a website with professional skills you know and portfolio is a strong online presence for headhunting in China. This article is helpful for me...

Jul 26, 2019 14:14 Report Abuse



For me, simply being a Westerner and breathing is usually more than enough to attract head hunters.

Jun 14, 2019 14:27 Report Abuse



Breathing can be optional in some cases LOL

Jun 14, 2019 21:15 Report Abuse



If your goal is to be "the foreigner", then sure. If you aim anywhere above that, you better up your game.

Jun 30, 2019 20:44 Report Abuse