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Across China: Graduates seek jobs on screen amid epidemic

TIANJIN
2020-03-25 14:31

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Wearing a smart white shirt and sitting up straight in front of a computer, Ma Zhanchuan was ready for an online interview at home in northwest China's Gansu Province.

After introducing himself and answering questions raised by the interviewer for half an hour, Ma, 22, finished his remote interview with a company located in neighboring Shaanxi Province.

Ma, a senior majoring in automation at Tianjin University, has completed nearly 10 interviews online amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, receiving two offers so far.

"I look through recruiting websites every day, update my personal information and send my resume to the companies that I am interested in," Ma said, adding that he also took part in some online job fairs.

It took him some time to get used to online interviews.

"In a face-to-face talk, I can use my body language and expression to communicate with the interviewers, but an online interview cannot convey so many details," Ma said.

Zhang Yi, a senior from Tianjin University who signed with a tech firm, said the remote way of recruitment had helped him in some way.

"Compared with a face-to-face interview, I felt more relaxed at home talking to the screen," he said.

March and April are the golden period for graduates seeking jobs. This year, China expects to see a record of 8.74 million college graduates, 400,000 more than the number last year.

As the epidemic and downward economic pressure have added pressure to the already competitive job market, colleges and companies are resorting to the Internet, or cloud recruitment, for graduates this year.

In March, Tianjin University launched three cloud job fairs with more than 130,000 jobs offered by over 1,800 recruiters.

Wu Ziqiang with the Career Center of Tianjin University said a traditional job fair held by the university normally had room for about 200 companies due to limited space, but online job fairs did not have such limitations.

Inspur Group, a tech company that focuses on cloud computing and big data, has livestreamed its job recruitment talks on video-sharing app TikTok to help graduates better understand the company.

"They can leave their questions in the comments section while watching and staff from the company will answer the questions in real time," said Li Wei, recruitment director of the group.

Besides, based on the company's own online recruitment platform Inspur HCM Cloud, job seekers can finish all the recruitment procedures online. To date, the company has sent more than 300 offers to online job hunters.

"The young generation is more Internet savvy, and compared with the traditional recruiting method, an innovative interview online attracts more talented youth," Li said.

However, such recruitment is not flawless.

Some recruiters and job hunters said the online recruitment provided a less competitive atmosphere, which had affected the performances of some job seekers.

"Many students do not prepare enough for screen-to-screen job hunting, and some are a bit out of form," Li said.

Luo Xu, recruitment director of the Second Research Institute of CASIC, a state-owned high-tech enterprise in China, said they organized five to eight interviewers working at home to interview a job seeker simultaneously.

"The camera could only capture limited views and the effect of the interview was affected by the speed of the Internet," Luo said.

After passing all the tests online, Ma has signed an employment contract with the company in Shaanxi and is now throwing himself into his graduation thesis.

"I hope the virus will be gone as soon as possible. I want to go back to school and enjoy the last days of my campus life," Ma said.
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