An American in China

Picture1Did you know that despite the recent slow-down in the Chinese economy, many employers in the Middle Kingdom continue to build their talent pipelines in anticipation of an eventual uptick? With new products and advancing technologies emerging every day in China, companies there are clamoring for talent and are looking beyond their own walls for workforce solutions – especially from native Chinese (aka Chinese Returnees) who studied abroad and are now considering returning home for work.

I recently represented Northeastern at the inaugural Global University Career Development Conference in Beijing & Shanghai organized by LockinChina, one of the first organizations in Asia to provide a comprehensive, on-line platform for both students and employers seeking to make mutual hiring connections. Students leverage LockinChina services as a strategic way to identify Chinese companies that are hiring; employers utilize the platform as a direct pipeline into their target recruiting audience.

The conference was designed to provide U.S. and global career services professionals insight into the Chinese recruiting process and employment landscape, while also sharing strategies around encouraging Chinese students to consider their home country as a viable employment location. Some key take-aways from the conference that pertain to Chinese Returnees (NU students & alums) include: it’s critical that you understand the hiring landscape before you apply for positions; familiarize yourself with the Chinese recruiting cycle so you don’t miss hiring opportunities; understand how Chinese employers conduct interviews; and be prepared to readjust to Chinese workplace culture. Northeastern’s Career Development office can help students & alumni prepare for their Chinese job search in many of these areas.

pexels-photo-24329The conference also provided an opportunity to connect with 4 Major Chinese employers: DiDi, Decathlon, BOE, and Beijing Foreign Studies University. Each employer recognizes the importance of broadening their talent development strategiesand are eager to connect with Chinese Returnees and other international graduates, especially those from United States. DiDi – China’s version of Uber – is significantly growing their workforce and is actively seeking Chinese graduates abroad to fill positions designed for engineers, computer scientists, data analysts, and marketing professionals, to name a few.

So if you’re considering returning home to China to start or advance your career, be aware that the race for talent is on, the competition is fierce, but companies want you! You are encouraged to connect with Northeastern’s Career Development Team to help you in all of your career search needs, so don’t hesitate to set up an appointment soon. Also, for additional information on the Chinese hiring landscape, check out resources like LockinChina as well.

Working with Staffing Firms: A Guide for Grads

This post was authored by Logan Spillane, Recruiter, LABUR Consultingpexels-photo-29594 The staffing industry can get a bad rap among job seekers-from making false promises, to not communicating with candidates. While certain criticisms may hold true with some firms, it is not by any means an indictment of the entire industry as a whole. In fact, a good agency can help job seekers discover a great job and open new doors on their way to the career they have always wanted.

In order to navigate a saturated and sometimes overwhelming field of companies, it is helpful to have some tips to make the process easier.

  • Should you pay a fee?

Never. There is no guarantee that paying an agency a fee will get you a job.

  • How do I know when I have a good recruiter?

I believe there are a couple of different signs of a good recruiter. First and foremost, a good recruiter will keep your interests and goals in mind, and won’t just send you the next job they have. Rather, they will send you positions that align with what you are looking to do, and help your career. Second, a good recruiter will be transparent, honest and give you the information that you, as a candidate deserve to know. One of the biggest reasons people give me for not wanting to work with an agency is the fact that they have had an experience where a firm has been dishonest and misled them. A good recruiter won’t feed you misinformation on things like the pay rate, contract status, actual job responsibilities, etc., and will give you the true facts on each opportunity.

  • How should I vet recruiters to find the right one?

My biggest piece of advice on vetting recruiters to find the right one is to talk to and meet with many of them, and see who can provide you with the best service not just in terms of a job, but also in personalizing your experience, getting to know you as a person, and being upfront and honest. It will take some time, but it will allow you to find the right recruiter and will help ensure that you do not end up getting burned. See what each company has to offer, ask a lot of questions (ex. on the agency, the areas they focus on, the jobs they see, the process, etc.) and pick the one or two recruiters that will focus on you not only as a candidate, but as a person because at the end of the day it’s your career. LinkedIn recommendations, GlassDoor, and other career websites can also serve as a valuable tool in finding a good recruiter. Finally, asking friends and family about firms they would recommend can be a valuable asset in finding a good recruiter.

  • How do I identify recruiters?

Northeastern’s career website has a good list to go off to start with. Additionally, running a Google search on staffing firms in your area can also be another route. However, I would recommend taking 10 minutes to read through each company’s website to see what they are all about and how they can best serve you and your career.  Also, be sure to check out his/her LinkedIn profile—look for recommendations, and also for anyone you know who knows that recruiter and consider reaching out to obtain any feedback you can…or maybe even a soft reach out from your common contact to the recruiter of interest. The recruiter can then also have that informal recommendation from someone they know about you!

  • Will I receive help preparing for the interview? Help with Salary Negotiation?

A good agency will always help prep candidates for every interview they go on-whether they are just out of school or an experienced professional. In many cases, they may also help prep you for the salary negotiation. For someone just out of school, it is especially helpful to have someone providing them with tips and assistance on their way to nailing the interview and getting the job!

LABUR Consulting is a staff augmentation firm based in Boston that specializes in the tech and finance industries. You can learn more about us at


Walk, Don’t Run.

wood-nature-person-walkingWhen interviewing for a job, it can be so nerve-wracking. You’re being interviewed, but remember that an interview is two-sided. You have to be the right fit for the company as well as the company being the right fit for you in this time of your life. It’s stressful, having to decide if this is right for you at this time. So take it one step at a time, walking. Do not rush the process because being sure about an opportunity is essential in finding the right job.

There are times where a job is great, but the company is not a good fit for you. Believing in the company and their mission is extremely important. You are searching for the place you will call home for 40 hours a week – make sure the company culture is just as great as the job itself!

As crazy as it sounds, getting a job offer does not mean you have to say yes. It’s so tempting to say yes to the first opportunity, and often times, people do. However, this can lead to passing up a better choice that might be down the line for you.

If you do decide to say no and hold out for a better opportunity, expressing your gratitude the employer who has offered you a job is essential. You might want to work there in the future, so keeping a good rep is key. Be sure to thank the employer for the consideration and briefly explain that you are simply choosing to pursue another opportunity. Say no, but be nice about it.

So that being said, walk, don’t run. Don’t jump at an opportunity if you know something else better may be waiting out there for you. It might be a better job, a better location, a better company culture, or something else. Make it the best fit for you.