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 Recruitipedia: Insights into recruitment in China

Welcome to the first issue of Recruitipedia: ExecutiveSurf's occasional review of the talent landscape around the world. This month, we will feature China. China is old news when it comes to macro-economic expansion. Tales of impending potentially catastrophic, sub 7% GDP growth figures have been circulating for a while too - although so far, this has been averted. Not bad for a country that continues to drive through the most ambitious business transformation program in human history. What remains in a state of great flux is the war for talent there. What does it all mean from an HR perspective? You will find Recruitipedia of interest if you are hiring talent in China, checking out demand for your expertise in the Chinese recruitment market, or if you are simply interested in better understanding the talent market there. China's rapid economic growth has resulted in an increasingly individualistic society. Traditional values are still at the core of Chinese culture, but personal ambition and aspirations are starting to affect behaviour, particularly among the younger generations. This means foreign companies can face difficulties recruiting and retaining staff in the country.

 Decision making made easy

No matter how much time you spend reading the recent crop of books on How To Decide or How To Think Clearly, you’re unlikely to encounter glowing references to a decision-making system formerly used by the Azande of central Africa. Faced with a dilemma, tribespeople would force poison down the neck of a chicken while asking questions of the “poison oracle”; the chicken answered by surviving (“yes”) or expiring (“no”). Clearly, this was cruel to chickens. That aside, was it such a terrible way to choose among options? The anthropologist EE Evans-Pritchard, who lived with the Azande in the 1920s, didn’t think so. “I always kept a supply of poison [and] we regulated our affairs in accordance with the oracle’s decisions,” he wrote, adding drily: “I found this as satisfactory a way of running my home and affairs as any other I know of.” You could dismiss that as a joke. After all, chicken-poisoning is plainly superstition, delivering random results. But what if random results are sometimes exactly what you need? The other day, US neuroscientists published details of experiments on rats, showing that in certain unpredictable situations, they stop trying to make decisions based on past experience. Instead, a circuit in their brains switches to “random mode”.

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