Your 3 Ultimate Top Tips on How to Succeed in an Interview in China!

Written by Juliette Pitt

So, if you’ve been following our blogs, you’ll probably notice that we’ve been writing or we have written articles about how to do business in China. Some of the topics that we’ve covered so far are the following:

So, we thought that an article on ‘How to Prepare for an Interview in China’ would be the perfect topic to wrap our mini-series.

If you are looking to further your career in China, it is really important to learn how to conduct yourself during an interview.

Although some of the standards of preparation for an interview in the West still apply, such as arriving on time and doing company research, as China is a high-context culture, there are several tips that we can give you that will help you to further prepare.

Quick tip: Though LinkedIn is available in China – you’ll probably find its more efficient to do research on the company through Chinese platforms such as Baidu. It’s always best to ask your Chinese colleagues, teachers or friends for extra help.


#Tip 1: Try to speak Chinese

If you speak some Chinese or are indeed fluent, you should make an effort to speak some Chinese during the interview.

Hearing a foreigner speak Chinese will definitely aid your application. Recruiters will be well impressed and appreciate your effort.

So, if you do have an interview scheduled, it’s probably best to prepare some key vocabulary. For example, you may want to learn some terms that are relevant to the company and the industry you are applying for.

Indeed, the interviewer might ask you to introduce yourself in Chinese to test your level particularly if you have listed Chinese on your C.V and are applying for a role that requires you to speak the language.

If you are stuck on how to formally introduce yourself in Chinese, then you’re in luck as our colleague Juliette has written a blog last week on how to introduce yourself in a business environment.

Being interested in Chinese language and culture is always a plus! Hiring a foreigner to work abroad is costly and so it will further strengthen your application if you express a strong desire to speak Chinese and learn more about the culture.


#Tip 2: Try not to be brazen about your skills or come on too strongly

As modesty is an important cultural value in China it is important not to talk too much about yourself as it might disconnect you from the interviewer.

Try to understand what your interviewer wants to hear – from the Chinese perspective it is better to avoid the possibility of alienating your audience. Instead, talk about how excited you are to take on the new and unique challenges the company offers.

Of course, whilst it important to talk about your skills set – it is equally important to get the balance right. So, try to have an optimistic outlook on the potential to grow within the company and you should be well-positioned to land at the job opportunity.

Another important point is not be too affectionate towards your interviewer. Whilst Chinese people are very warm and expressive with people they are familiar with, when you meet someone for the first time it can be considered impolite to come on too strongly or display too much emotion.


#Tip 3: Try to pay attention to detail and body language cues

Chinese culture favors indirect communication so try to pay attention to the small details. By being more aware, you will have a better chance of relating to your interviewer on a cultural level.

Furthermore, this will allow you to change your responses accordingly and help you come across as more professional. Indeed, it will also help the interviewer to better understand what you’re trying to express, which at the end of the day is crucial in succeeding.


#Final Tips

We also encourage you to prepare a bi-lingual business card. If you are planning to work in China, you should have one side written in Chinese and the other in English. Indeed, it is vital that you include your WeChat ID as this is most popular platform to communicate with others in China.

Also, try to avoid talking about your salary. As China is an indirect culture, it is perhaps best to leave that conversation for the next round of interviews. Unless the interviewer of course brings it up – the most suitable stage to negotiate this is when you have received a concrete offer.


#Good luck!

Landing a job in China is a challenge but definitely worth it! By taking these tips into account – we hope that this will help further your application.

Good luck and please share with us in the comments below your experience of attending an interview in China.