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Hong Kong Recruiting & Hiring

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Hong Kong’s hiring and employment compliance laws tie directly to its heritage. At first a British colony, the nation was transferred back to China in 1997 and currently operates as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of The People’s Republic of China. As a SAR, Hong Kong has its own recruiting and employment laws that protect both workers and employers.

Recruiting in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s unique and driven business culture has specific norms and values that you must follow while recruiting potential candidates. Without a comprehensive understanding of the country’s society, you could fail to impress top talent, or worse, fail to meet employment laws. Some of the most important steps you’ll need to take follow.

1. Pay Attention to Colors

Different colors have different meanings in Hong Kong. For example, red is considered lucky, while white is a traditional sign of mourning. Keep these facts in mind when you dress for the interview, or stick to conservative and neutral colors if you’re not sure of the various color meanings. If you meet potential candidates at a business dinner, stick to the formal attire you would wear to work.

2. Remember That Hierarchy Matters

In business meetings, individuals will recognize the senior figures in the group first by greeting them with a handshake and a slight bow. A candidate might do this in an interview until they work their way down the hierarchy.

3. Have an Interpreter Available

Hong Kong is a melting pot of different cultures, and you may need to know Chinese or Cantonese. While English is generally used in the country’s business culture, you should speak slowly and clearly for non-native speakers. Learning a few basic phrases of different languages can show candidates you care. You can also hire an interpreter who can help you communicate clearly with the people you wish to hire.

4. Leave Food on Your Plate

If you plan to meet candidates at a dinner meeting, leave a small portion of your food on your plate to signal that you’ve finished eating — doing so is seen as a polite gesture. Tea is also often served at meetings. As the host, you will take the first sip, then leave the tea untouched when you’re done.

The Recruitment Process in Hong Kong

Because of the diverse workforce in this country regarding ethnicity, gender, and age, Hong Kong recruiting practices should eliminate discriminatory practices. The region’s Labor Department has guidelines on how to prevent forms of discrimination. These guidelines include the following:

  • Use consistent selection material for hiring.
  • Choose candidates based on skills, experience, and ability to perform the job before considering age, race, gender, or religion.
  • Train your employees who will handle applications and interviews to avoid discriminatory acts.
  • Do not list age, gender, marital status, race, religion, or language as employment qualifications in advertising materials.
  • Avoid questions that could lead to discrimination on applications.
  • Ask only interview questions that relate to the job requirements.
  • Professionally design any tests related to selection purposes so that they specifically relate to the job requirements.

Where to Advertise Jobs

You have two main options for staffing and recruiting in Hong Kong: handling the tasks yourself and working with a hiring agency. You can post job vacancies with the Labor Department (LD) through the Interactive Employment Service. You can also advertise with the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) if you want to employ graduate trainees or individuals with disabilities. If you work with a hiring agency, make sure they’re licensed to do the work and able to provide the results you want.

Choosing the Right Employees

Even when you follow the law, you could end up hiring the wrong employees. Hong Kong’s culture emphasizes work, with employees working long hours to help a company succeed. You must develop ways to screen employees for the skills you require. You can also contact their old employers, ask for a portfolio, or establish a trial run to make sure they can do the work required.

Craft your interview questions in such a way that ensures you can understand the employee’s qualifications as well as their personal attributes. Staffing your Hong Kong business means choosing people you can work with every day. Make sure you feel confident in your new employee’s skills and qualifications as well as their ability to fit with your team.

How to Hire Hong Kong Employees

The Employment Ordinance is Hong Kong’s main piece of legislation related to employment and labor laws. In addition to specifying time-off policies, minimum wage, and work hours, the ordinance also has recruitment guidelines to maintain diversity in Hong Kong’s workforce. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when hiring Hong Kong employees:

  • Use consistent selection criteria to recruit, promote, transfer, dismiss, and determine other terms of employment.
  • Keep skills and experience at the forefront of the hiring process instead of age, race, gender, or religion.
  • Train your employees to avoid discrimination if they will review applications or conduct interviews.
  • Ensure your hiring and recruitment materials do not have attributions such as age, gender, race, religion, or language unless it is justifiable.
  • Only ask questions during interviews that relate directly to the requirements of the job.

Hong Kong Employment Compliance

Hong Kong has many employment laws outlined in the Employment Ordinance. To stay compliant, you need to make sure employees do not work over 50 hours per week since the standard practice is 40-50 hours. They can work a maximum of five days per week.

You’ll need to create either a written or verbal employment contract, although it’s often better to have clear employment terms outlined in writing. Overtime is typically specified in a contract and is not mandated by Hong Kong employment compliance. An employee is entitled to seven days of paid annual leave during their first year, which increases by one day every year until they hit a maximum of 14 days.

Onboarding Employees in Hong Kong

Before you onboard employees, you’ll have to set up a subsidiary in Hong Kong to begin the hiring process. You’ll then need to fill out all required forms and create an employment contract. It’s especially helpful to outline what you expect of employees on the first day or the first week of training, such as dress code or a code of conduct.

Hong Kong Hiring Outsourcing

Instead of worrying about Hong Kong employment compliance while hiring employees, you can outsource hiring to another company. A global PEO such as Globalization Partners hires employees on your behalf, so you don’t have to set up a subsidiary before beginning operations. In addition to hiring Hong Kong employees, we act as the Employer of Record to take the liability off your shoulders and onto ours.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and start building your company in Hong Kong.

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