Recruiting In China With WeChat: Why The Consumer Experience Matters

Steve Gibbs

For over a decade, it’s been a common practice for job seekers in China to search for jobs on third-party career sites such as 51Job or LiePin. After a search, job seekers have the option to “Apply All,” and, by using a resume already stored on that job board, they can apply to over 100 companies within a matter of seconds, avoiding the need to create 100 separate accounts in each company’s applicant tracking system (ATS).

Just as in nature where water takes the path of least resistance, humans are no different. In this example, the user enjoys a simple and streamlined experience while simultaneously avoiding the often-dreaded corporate job application process. According to a recent survey conducted by the Human Capital Institute:

  • 60% of job seekers report quitting in the middle of filling out online job applications
  • 72% of job seekers report sharing their negative candidate experiences online
  • 55% of job seekers report avoiding certain companies after reading negative online reviews

Imagine an app where a third of its billion users spend 4+ hours a day actively consuming and engaging with content provided by businesses and friends. This app, WeChat, launched in China in 2011 and rapidly became the dominant social platform, captivating users with its playful virtual environment where people share life events, shop online, order food delivery, and pay for services with its mobile payment system.

Now, what if you could somehow weave your employer brand and career opportunities into the vibrant WeChat ecosystem and blend that with the simple job application process that users in China have become accustomed to? Better yet, what if you could accomplish this without altering any of your established corporate recruiting infrastructure while giving users the impression they always remain in the friendly environment of WeChat?

When I first met with our globalization services team in China, it was clear that we shared a common vision to simplify the job seeker experience and promptly embarked on our journey to delight them. Our diverse thinking, relentless collaboration to solve problems, and empathy for the end user would be put to the test as we figured out how to make a square peg fit into a round hole.

Thanks to the outstanding partnership between HR and the globalization services team, we overcame every obstacle that inherently appears during co-innovation projects. While some may view virtual working relationships halfway around the world as an obstacle, we thrived in this environment. We used the 12-hour time difference to our advantage, allowing for agile cycles of development followed by user testing and feedback within 24 hours, to rapidly bring this solution to life.

In today’s consumer-driven world, people expect that all transactions can be completed in seconds from their mobile device. The cloud platform provided the mobile foundation we needed, but more importantly, it provided us the flexibility to create a unique environment for users in China that:

  • Transforms our global application process into a China-specific experience that mimics a user’s established WeChat and job board environments
  • Eliminates the need for users to spend time creating new accounts during their job application
  • Provides users the option to apply to multiple jobs within seconds

The outcome of our efforts, the Social Media Integration Platform for China, creates that seamless bridge between WeChat, Chinese job boards, and SuccessFactors Recruiting that, according to early results, has shown a remarkable 600% increase in completed job applications. This innovative cloud platform solution demonstrates our ability and flexibility to provide purpose-built and localized end-user solutions that delight the user in this new consumer-driven world.

For more on recruiting and hiring for tomorrow’s workforce, see How Tech Startups Can Build Diversity Into Their Culture.


Steve Gibbs

About Steve Gibbs

Steve is a Project Expert in the HR Business Information Office at SAP focused on Recruiting and On Boarding initiatives Previously Steve built and managed the Global Recruiting Operations and Infrastructure team at SAP. His earlier experience includes 15 years in the technology industry as a Recruiter and Recruiting Manager which continues to fuel his empathy and relentless pursuit of intuitive consumer experiences that delight the end user.