Don’t Sweat it: Tips on Job Interviews in China

Don’t Sweat it: Tips on Job Interviews in China
Nov 16, 2021 By

Going through an interview is certainly not every person’s cup of tea. There are the nerves, the feelings of inadequacy and the fear of rejection. But unfortunately, it is something that we all have to do at some point in order to land that dream job. Here are a few things to keep in mind when going through job interviews in China.

during an interview, being interviewed
Source: Gangplang HQ

1) Relax
This is probably the hardest advice to follow during an interview because usually your body gives you away with a trembling voice or sweaty palms. But to the best of your ability, make sure you relax. Try and force yourself to speak slowly, as the tendency when you’re nervous is to talk to fast. Always remember to think before you speak, rather take a few seconds to think about what you’re going to say than begin answering immediately and have your brain play catch up with your mouth. If you come up with carefully formulated answers and you speak slow and composed it will come across as confidence and impress the interviewer.

Remember what William Carlos Williams said “It is not what you say that matters but the manner in which you say it; there lies the secret of the ages.”

2) Business Cards
Business cards are very important in China. Ensure you exchange business cards at the beginning of the interview, and remember to use both hands when giving and taking business cards. If there is more than one interviewer you should exchange business cards with everyone so bring enough. Not only does this mean you have their contact details but also makes you look like you understand Chinese customs.

3) Non-verbal communication
One of the most understated aspects of an interview is what you don’t say. Your body will begin talking before your mouth does. So be aware of your body language. Walk in confidently, make, and maintain eye contact, and look excited and enthusiastic. In the event of equally qualified candidates, interviewers are more likely to go with someone who is energetic and confident.

4) Answer the question
An obvious pitfall to always keep in mind is the common mistake of not answering the question you were asked, one side effect of over-preparation. When preparing, you will inevitably prepare answers for certain questions. However, when the question asked is similar, but not the same, as the one you prepared, remember to stop, think and ensure you answer the right question. The interviewer will notice immediately and presume that you do not work well under pressure and when asked to improvise.

Another thing to remember is, don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know. Interviewers will always know the answer to the question they’re asking so if you try to make something up on the spot, they will know. Admitting you don’t know the answer also shows a certain degree of humility. You could work around it by saying that you don’t know but would be very willing to learn.

5) Use Examples
If you’re asked a question about your experience in the position you’re applying for then use examples from your past jobs to answer questions. This will show that you have working experience of specific situations and can show the employer how you solve problems, as well as showing them how you make connections in your brain. These can also be prepared before the interview, for example: a difficult problem you encountered and how you solved it or a troublesome colleague and how you managed the relationship without conflict.

6) Ask questions
Be prepared to ask questions. A good way to do this is to treat the interview as if you are interviewing the employer. When they are doing the talking, constantly think of questions you could ask about what they’re saying. This will show a level of curiosity and willingness to learn. Near the end of the interview you will generally be given the floor, which is your chance to ask questions.

You should prepare some questions before the interview, while doing your research on them but also bring a pen and paper in with you and take notes during the interview so that you remember what to ask later.

7) Personal Questions
There are certain questions which westerners might think of as too personal back home, but in China they can be standard interview questions. These include questions about previous salary, marital status, family and your origins. Don’t be alarmed by these kinds of questions, there really isn’t a topic which is too personal in Chinese interviews.

8) Ending strong
By the time the end of the interview comes around you have already made your first, second and third impressions on the interviewer. When you see that the interview is wrapping up, make sure to leave a lasting impression. By now you are comfortable in the environment so you have no excuses about nervousness or tension. Try to end the interview by highlighting one of your strengths, especially if the interviewer hasn’t asked you about it yet.

Also, as a conclusion to the interview, ask the interviewer about the next step. Where do we go from here? Hope to hear from you soon etc. Be sure to look the person in the eyes and thank them for their time and consideration.

Once back at home, using the contact details on the business cards you acquired at the start of the interview, email them to say thank you once again and that you hope to hear from them soon in order to take the process to the next stage.

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Keywords: during an interview. interview process in China


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One thing the poster has ignored is the fact that most of the interviews are now held online, so body langauge is not relevant. AND Chinese read body langauge differently from non-Chinese. The same applies to business cards - they are unlikely to be presented EVEN at an in-person interview for a teaching position. Thirdly, don't expect your questions at the end to be answered. When asked a direct question (especially about terms and conditions) you will probably be ignored. Also don't EVER give any information such as passport number UNLESS a firm offer is made - be aware of identity theft (a very common problem in China)

Nov 17, 2021 02:28 Report Abuse



Don't cave into answering personal questions that you are not comfortable in answering. They may be 'standard' questions in China, but you should be shown some cultural respect as well. Respect does not only go one way when it comes to customs. To disregard the cultural norms of the person being interviewed is just plain rude.

Nov 16, 2021 19:32 Report Abuse