Your “Sign” Is Key to Getting a Good Job in Sichuan

February 14, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: February 14, 2006 12:00 am

In Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, some employers have recently been using criteria other than an applicant's education and experience to decide who should be hired. These employers focus on an applicant's birth date, Asian zodiac sign, name, birth star, and a calculation to determine that one's birthday does not conflict with the company. Expert numerologists are also used to determine the new staff member's future.

According to a report in China Youth Daily , Ms. Sun, a university senior in Chengdu, was recently interviewed at a company. During the interview the manager asked her for her lunar calendar birth day, zodiac sign, and other unconventional information instead of reading her resume.

The manager said that the company is in a merchandising business and that employees' resumes are not very important. The “fortune” of the employee and how well that “fortune” fits in with the company is considered the most crucial factor for determining their suitability for hire. When the fortunes “match,” then the employees will do their job well and the companies can operate profitably. Conversely, neither the employer nor the employee will benefit if mutual “good fortune” isn't predicted. The president of this company has also hired a fortuneteller from Hong Kong to predict the futures of the new hires.

According to this report, in addition to using one's birth date to select employees, the meaning of one's surname is considered. For example, in private enterprises that must make a profit, applicants whose last names are (in English) “Gold,” or “Money” are more likely to be hired. But people with names like, “End,” or “Loss,” won't have much of a chance.

Another college student from Chengdu, Ms. Liu, had to endure a most embarrassing job interview. She submitted her resume to several private companies. But at some of the interviews, she was asked personal questions, such as, “Do you drink?” or, “Can you dance?” Some companies even returned her resume as soon as she responded, “I don't drink.”

And a student, who served for a long time as an organizer of the college student association, passed the sixth-level English proficiency exam, and received a yearly scholarship, even with all these qualifications, has not had any success in finding a job.

Professor Hu Kuangfu, a researcher in the Social Science Academy of Sichuan Province, believes he has uncovered the two main reasons why these types of bizarre interviews occur. One is that superstition can help ensure success and the other is that these criteria are used as an excuse to refuse the applicant.