Recently, China has mostly been mentioned for all the wrong reasons in the media. If we aren’t talking about the coronavirus spreading from Asia to Europe and the rest of the world, reports are emphasising the devastating effects of the panic on the economy. However, China remains one of the biggest global powers, which has become ever more apparent since the virus outbreak, and it’s important to understand its online mechanisms. The digital world in China is quite different to the internet in the West. Even if you speak Chinese or you use Google to translate your webpages, you’ll find the design rather surprising. That’s why we wanted to explain what to expect when using a job board in China. Whether you’re a recruiter or a jobseeker, be prepared for some of these irregularities.
Chinese job boards
Let’s start by listing some of the top Chinese job boards. Even though the numbers might be slightly lower than usual, the following figures were estimated at a time pre coronavirus. So, without further ado:
- 51job: If you “want a job” (which is what this one’s name sounds like in Mandarin), look no further than 51job. This is the leading job board in the country, with about 27 million visits a month. Some of the useful and/or original features include the list of job titles (helping you find exactly what you need), the cover letter and CV examples (which are different to Western ones), the courses (for students), the salary information as well as other research and finally, the funny YouTube videos. Various contact information is clearly indicated on the homepage (phone numbers and email addresses).
- Zhaopin: Coming in as a close second, Zhaopin (which means, “to recruit”) attracts 12.55 million visits a month. Having recently updated its design, Zhaopin now displays its offers and homepage in a similar fashion to 51job, which is a relief for a Westerner. The previous design condensed the brightly coloured offers in a less orderly way, making it difficult to use a translation tool. This job site also offers courses and blog articles.
- Liepin: The name means, “headhunting and recruiting”, which is exactly what it helps you do. The focus is on filling difficult positions and 89 million visitors a month come to see what the site has to offer. Assuming they have many issues with users not finding what they want, the site has several specific “help” sections.
- Zhipin: Are you looking to advance your career? Then look no further than Zhipin, or “boss”, which is the translation. It attracts about 98 million users a month, so you won’t be the only one applying to jobs. There is a toolbar on the side, which helps connect to various services. There is a company page, and a blog.
- Maimai: This site is more of a social network for companies and professionals than just a simple job board. It helps create relationships and 07 million people visit it each month to do just that. Regardless, you can definitely find interesting opportunities on this site.
- Dajie: Dajie is a kind of Chinese LinkedIn, for networking as well as recruiting. Around 1.85 million people visit the site each month. Not only does the site offer company ratings, but it also shares success stories with new users so that they can find inspiration and create their own.
- Yjbys: A specialist job board for students, with numerous articles and legal advice, yjbys is a popular choice. More than 4 million people visit the site each month and it’s easy to see why. Much like the two top sites, YJBYS also provides salary information and various templates.
- China HR Jobs: It might seem like the best choice for international recruiters because of its English name, but ChinaHR is just as Chinese as the rest of them. Among the top 10, this generalist job board attracts a little over 1 million visits a month.
- Job001: Even if it attracts fewer visits a month (178 240 visits) compared to some of the other generalists, that doesn’t mean you should rule out Job001. Check it out for the cute elephant mascot, if nothing else.
- 58: One of the leading classifieds websites in the country, 58 has more than just job offers on it, so the 106 140 visitors a month aren’t necessarily there to look for work. However, foreign users will find it even harder to use than the generalist sites.
Now that you know which sites to use for your job search or recruitment in China, it’s time to learn how to use them.
Chinese job board particularities
I’ll just open a window: When you change pages, most Chinese websites open another window. In the Western world, it seems both chaotic and pointless to open window after window, instead of just changing the page. Most of us have to close the original window manually and, while that might not seem like a great effort, it becomes frustrating after a few dozen clicks. Just think about how many job offers you open, or candidate profiles you consult. A lot, right?
Let’s go to the top: Many job boards have a button at the bottom of the pages, which brings you back to the top of the page. Oddly enough, the Chinese don’t mind manually closing windows, but they don’t want to scroll back up to the top of the page. Some sites even use cute rockets to shoot you up the page! If you don’t believe me, just check out YJBYS and Dajie. Is this because one movement is vertical and the other horizontal? Could there be some link to the different direction of their writing? Nobody knows.
There’s a QR code for that: In China, the QR code is particularly popular. Usually, you’ll see a QR code on the website to download the app or to create an account. In fact, Zhaopin has no less that 5 QR codes on its homepage alone. Don’t expect to get by in China without a smartphone.
You got to have a mascot and bright colours: Cute animations are all over the screen. Don’t worry, it’s still a professional website. In all fairness, who doesn’t want to add adorable creatures to their daily life? We could definitely get behind this trend for other job boards.
Information is brief and concise: The job offers often appear in a list with only one line of information (to avoid confusion possibly). One explanation for everything being written in one line is that characters can sometimes be read from left to right or top to bottom. To avoid confusion, it’s best to keep things going in one direction.
There’s some room over here: The pages are compact, which is just a nice way of saying cluttered. However, where we see clutter, they see efficiency. No wasted space, no useless blanks. Nothing to write? Add a QR code. Is the screen still to white? Add animations!
It’s safe; we checked: You might have noticed a small icon in the footer on some Chinese job boards. This leads to the beian.gov.cn website. This is a “stamp of approval” to let users know the site is safe. Ironically, the stamp itself leads to a website without https:// security but it is still a recognised safety approval in China.
We need to call you: Much like a number of Russian job boards, you need a phone number to verify your identity. Some sites only let you create an account with a phone number too and the QR code also encourage phone use.
Filter first, not during: There aren’t any filters on the side of the offers. Instead, jobseekers are expected to use keywords or various categories to refine their search. Basically, these are filters, but the design encourages users to fill out the necessary criteria before scrolling down (because it’s such an effort to scroll back up).
Where are my glasses: In the name of efficiency, the fonts are small. Luckily, we can zoom in, but then you find yourself zooming out and back in whenever you change pages. There shouldn’t be an issue for anyone without eyesight problems.
Granted, there are many more differences between Chinese job boards and Western ones, but these stick out the most. If you want to learn more about each individual site, feel free to visit their profiles on the Jobboard Finder. For any specific recruitment needs, contact us! We love hearing from our readers, recruiters and jobseekers.
Author: Ali Neill
As the job board tester and blog editor for the Jobboard Finder, Ali works on job boards from all around the world and keeps a close eye on the recruitment trends thanks to a number of sources, including the website’s social media pages.
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