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Q: Any job interview horror stories in China? Listen to this...

So recently I've been job hunting in a large American city. I speak Mandarin fairly well, so I thought I'd try my luck with some of the Chinese companies in the area.

Well, I got an interview with a small, but growing publishing company. The initial phone interview went well. It was a very standard interview except for the fact that it was in Mandarin. At the end, the asked me to name a salary range. I named a pretty standard range for the position, nothing unusual. They accepted, and a few days later asked me to come in for a face-to-face interview.

Here's where the fun begins. I walk into the building and immediately notice that all the employees are Chinese. Every single one. Granted, they don't have that many employees, but this is still a red flag to me. I'm seated by the receptionist, who tells me that it will only be a few minutes, they're wrapping up another interview. In the meantime, I go to use the bathroom. In the bathroom there is a large wastebasket completely overflowing with toilet paper and paper towels, some of them bloody. The sink does not work. I finish up and use some hand sanitizer from my bag. Red flag #2.

The interview begins 45 minutes behind schedule. I meet with the HR lady and the head of marketing. I explain my resume and field the standard interview questions. A few times I have to revert to using english to answer some particularly technical questions, but the interview otherwise goes well.

However, toward the end of the interview things suddenly take a turn for the worse. The head of marketing begins prattling on about the benefits of hard work, and how American's often expect to only work 40-hour weeks. He worked hard to build up his company, he says, often sacrificing his personal life to do so. This I take as a roundabout way to say that they will probably want me to work overtime, and I tell them that I would be more than willing to do so as long as the work and pay are worthwhile.

With that, the interview nosedives into the ground. The HR lady steps in to explain that while they know they offered salary on the phone, they are a small company and can't actually offer salaried positions. They say that they are a Chinese company, and thus they do things the Chinese way. They offer the following pay scheme: the first 160 hours of work are uncompensated. After that you are on a probation period for 90 days, during which time you are paid minimum wage. Following those 90 days you are paid 11/hour.

Red flag #88.

I'm sort of dumbfounded and insulted. I suddenly realize why there are no American employees in their office. I'm tempted to tell them that they aren't in China, and that the pay they're offering is laughable and possibly illegal. But I don't. Instead I finished the interview, came home, deleted all their correspondence, and wrote this shitty post.

Two questions. Is this actually how Chinese companies do things? I studied in China for two years, but never worked while I was there.

Two, is this pay scheme even legal in the states?

4 years 44 weeks ago in  Business & Jobs - China

 
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Governor

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Certainly doesn't sound legal. 160 hours unpaid work!?!?! If it's not illegal, I don't know why anybody would work there or consider doing business with them. 

 

I've worked for Chinese companies in China, and they've all been pretty reasonable with pay and expectations. I think in general, companies that last are those that think long-term. Treating your employees like shit for some instant profit is not good business. 

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4 years 44 weeks ago
 
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Posts: 417

Governor

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Certainly doesn't sound legal. 160 hours unpaid work!?!?! If it's not illegal, I don't know why anybody would work there or consider doing business with them. 

 

I've worked for Chinese companies in China, and they've all been pretty reasonable with pay and expectations. I think in general, companies that last are those that think long-term. Treating your employees like shit for some instant profit is not good business. 

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4 years 44 weeks ago
 
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its not legal. Actually, what they are doing is highly illegal. You should contact the US Dept of Labor and/or your local chamber of commerce and report them immediately.

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4 years 44 weeks ago
 
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As for me in China, the only story I have isnt really a horror story, but rather one of doing a face palm and running away. I was being interviewed for a job in Dalian via skype. The interviewers were much younger than me and non-chinese, and asked all sorts of questions (red flag #1...didnt you read my CV ?!) Who knows, maybe they were asking questions to make sure my resume was truthful (red flag #2... There was nothing "outrageous, nor outstanding" about my resume.... its not like I put Pulitzer or Nobel Prize recipient in it).

So we conclude the interview, and they said they would like to reschedule for yet another interview (red flag #3, hmm why ?!).  I agreed, and then they said not only a 2nd Interview, but also a following video demo in front of a class via skype, and yet another post-demo interview after that (3 interviews and one demo for the job...). (final nail in coffin red flag. the job isnt paying THAT much for me to go thru all these hoops).  I then told them immediately and without hesitation that I was not interested in the position, and goodbye. In shock, they replied "Why arent you interested now ?!"  (I didnt reply, I just said goodbye and goodluck. It figured its best for them to try and figure out why decent candidates would flee from such an ordeal...)

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4 years 44 weeks ago
 
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