WeChat Etiquette: 5 Mistakes to avoid when talking to a recruiter on WeChat

WeChat was originally launched by Tencent in January 2011, and since then the app went from a simple messaging app to an integral part of people’s lives.

 We can do everything using the app. We can pay our house bills, buy groceries, book hotels, purchase plane tickets, order food, and even rent a bike. The app has grown so big that as of September 30, 2020, there were 1.15 billion monthly active users, and over 50% of its users are aged between 25 and 35 years

 It is not surprising that WeChat is one of the first points of contact when talking to a recruiter within the Chinese Market. 

 I have been in China since 2009; I have seen the app grow, and I have also been both a recruiter and a job seeker. I currently work for a multinational company as Associate of General Manager. Furthermore, I oversee the international department, the Key Account Department, and Marketing Department. I work directly with 18 people, and I support over 23 Sales Managers. I asked my HR Department to find new members with whom I would directly work. HR passed the CVs of those who applied online for me to review. I have a general rule to contact applicants directly. I do this via email and WeChat. 

 I was surprised about the different responses I received, and how little effort people make into being formal when talking to a recruiter. 

 If you are job hunting and you can get contact in the company/institute you are interested in applying to, and you do this via WeChat, here the list of things you should avoid doing:

 1) Don’t use voice message as your first message. 

Voice messages are informal. If you don’t know this person and your interaction is going to be formal, don’t use voice messages at all. It is difficult to know if this person is in a meeting or simply busy with work. If you want to have a conversation with someone for the first time, you can find the company number and call during business hours. If you don’t want to call, then send a text. Voice messages are too short to allow you to be formal. 

 2) Introduce yourself and say the reason why you are contacting them.

 If you are walking down the street and suddenly someone comes to you and starts talking without any kind of introduction, you will find this person rude. The same thing happens with sending messages on WeChat (or any other mode of communication). This should be a general rule because first impressions matter! And being polite is the best way to start.

 3) WeChat should be used to schedule an interview and not to have the interview. 

In all my years of experience hiring people and looking for jobs, I have never once witnessed someone getting hired via texting. Interviews are still necessary. What has changed is that instead of having them face to face they might be via Zoom, FaceTime, or WeChat call. However, this is only when the applicant cannot go to the office. Face to face meetings are important! The recruiter wants to know you and you want to know more information about the company that a website will not give away. Side note: be on time for your interview!

 4) Send a message during regular working hours. 

If you are sending a message to a recruiter at 8 pm on a Saturday, don’t be surprised if they won’t message you back. The weekends are regularly the days people rest, and they are with family, friends, or do other activities. The best thing to do is to message them at regular working hours.

 5) Don’t send multiple messages to say something that could be said in a single message.

 Nowadays people seem to send just a sentence for each message. If you don’t want to be muted, you should be efficient about how many messages you send and what you say. This is especially true when you don’t know the person and you are trying to be formal.

 6) Don’t forget to say thank you.

After confirming information, or receiving feedback, or otherwise concluding the conversation, don’t vanish into thin air. Many people just stop answering and this is not polite. You must say thank you to the person to finalize the conversation.

Remember, it is not the same to message a friend as to message a potential colleague or the person that might decide if you get the job or not.

What other tips do you think we should apply when messaging on WeChat? 

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