Different interview focus between U.S. and Chinese companies

I had a short conversation with VP of  HR in a fortune 500 company this morning. He is the VP of HR in China – I was introduced to him by the headquarter VP of HR in United States.

Though China is my home country, I had more interviews in the United States than in China. And I only learned the systematic HR knowledge and skills in the U.S.  So it is evident that I don’t have much either interviews skills and HR knowledge of China.

Through the interview process, I found that there are so many differences in HR between China and U.S. In an American interview, interviewer may first ask for a self-introduction (experience, skills, career plan), then the experience questions about success, problem-solving, teamwork, and professional skills. Finally, the interviewer will give interviewees opportunity to ask questions. In China, this interviewer asked me whether I have work experience, and what were my responsibilities in my previous work experience. In U.S., I think interviewers are also interested in classroom training; however, the Chinese interviewer ignored all the academic experience I have. I have had HR internship in a European company in China before. And I definitely recognized some of the differences. Chinese interview is more experience-centric.

Though I am Chinese, I feel like that there is still a lot for me to make effort if I want to work in China as an HR professional.

1. I need to know what are the exact differences in HR between China and U.S.

2. If possible, I should conduct mock interviews with different Chinese HR professionals before attending a “real life” interview.

Volunteer Opportunity from GHRA: Hocking Hills clean-up on May 14

Hello fellow MLHRs!

Are you glad that Spring is finally here? Have you been waiting for an excuse to get out and have fun away from the confines of Gerlach Hall? Well here is your chance! The GHRA Community Service committee has organized a trip to help clean up the environment at the hiking trails at Hocking Hills – this beautiful state park doesn’t stay like that on its own!

You and your classmates can join us on Saturday, May 14th as we journey to our neighbor cities to the South! We will leave Fisher by 7:30am and be done around noon. Spend some time together before we all take off for our jobs and internships this Summer and do something to help the environment.

Please email Stacey Myers (myers_890@fisher.osu.edu) by Monday, May 9th to say that you will join us so that we can ensure we have enough people to drive!

You can learn more about Hocking Hills, visit their website: http://www.hockinghills.com/.


The Community Service Committee

April 8, 2011: FGWIB Summit

Do you ever notice that during your career search the number one piece of advice is always to find something you love to do? It sounds easy enough…. but then as you begin your search it is hard to nail down what your options really are.

That is why The Fisher Graduate Women in Business is so excited to announce the date for its annual Women in Business Summit. The theme this year will be “Discovering Your Passions” We are bringing in area professionals who are at different stages throughout their career to talk about how they found their passion in what they do. The event will be held on April 8, 2011 at the Faculty Club on campus with registration and breakfast beginning at 8:30 am and the event will last until noon.

The keynote speaker will be Liz Plotnick. She is currently the Chief Operating Officer at The Gooseberry Patch. Liz was hired in 1996 to put systems in place for company growth from a retail catalog business to an international mail-order, “dot.com”, wholesale distributor, publishing and brand licensing business. She also is a leading force at the Gooseberry Patch credited with increasing sales from $4 to nearly $18 million, increasing the permanent staff from 13 to 86 and physical space from 12,000sf to 52,000sf in less than 10 years. The Gooseberry Patch also has a very unique way of connecting with their customers and have a unique way to use social media to grow their business.

If you are a current student, for more information and to sign up – please see the hub – space is limited! (This also counts as your LPD Summit requirement.) We are also hoping to have over 50 professionals from the area, so this should be a great networking event as well!

If you have any questions, please let me know and I hope to see you at the event!

Spring Festival

It is time for mid-term exams at the Ohio State University; however, it is time for Spring Festival in China.

It is a tradition for Chinese to put on new clothes, new hats, new pants, new skirts, new boots in the Spring Festival. Every child and teenager may receive many red envelopes with money inside from their older relatives. Nearly nobody needs to work in the first three days of Spring Festival. Mothers and grandmothers usually have already prepared lots of food in the fridge in the kitchen. Family members get together and enjoy lots of delicious food! After the meal, they have many kinds of entertainment. Children watch TV or play games; while adults may play MahJong or enjoy the annual Spring Festival TV show. Oh, I really miss China, and I miss Spring Festival.

If you have time, and have a friend in China, you can choose to visit China during the Spring Festival!

Advice if traveling to the west coast from Cbus

As an international student, I decided to visit Florida, Texas, California, New York, Washington DC, Boston and Chicago while in school (i.e. during breaks). I have been to Washington DC and Florida, and I plan to go to California this winter break.

Last week, I searched for round trip tickets through KAYAK, EXPEDIA, PRICELINE, SOUTHWEST WEBSITE and DELTA. Kayak and Expedia were recommended to me by my Chinese friends; Priceline is what I used when I worked as an administrative assistant at OSU; the Southwest website was suggested by one of my California friends; and I knew about Delta when I headed to the U.S. It seems that Kayak offers more flight information than Expedia and Priceline.

My ideal flight plan should meet the following requirements:

1. Leave Columbus in the early morning and arrive at San Fransisco by noon. If I arrive in San Fransisco in the evening, I won’t have any time and energy to visit the downtown, etc., during my first day. So I hope I can reach San Fransisco by noon.

2. Leave San Fransisco in the morning or afternoon. Since there is three hour difference between OH and CA, I realistically cannot leave San Fransisco in the evening. If my flight take off in the evening, no friend will pick me up at 2am or 3 am at the Columbus airport 🙂

3. The shorter the flight duration, the better.

4. I cannot spend more than $380 for the round trip fare.

5. Delta is preferred, since I can accumulate the mileage.

I was interested to find that the price offered by these three price comparison websites is the same with that offered by the airline companies. I also found that Southwest airline and Delta airline have cheap ticket for departing (outbound), while offering expensive return (inbound) ticket. It is probably because the closer to Christmas, the more expensive the ticket price. The differences between Southwest airline and Delta airlines for the round trip of Columbus, OH – San Fransisco are:

1. Delta has more flights than Southwest.

2. Delta has more non-stop flights than Southwest.

3. Delta has cheaper fares (at this time) than that of Southwest.

Then I decided to choose Delta.

I could not find the perfect round trip choice from Kayak, Priceline and Expedia. Majority of the shorter duration flights that are pretty inexpensive leave in the evening and back in the early morning. Then I tried to search Delta website for duration trip, I was disappointed by the Delta suggested round trip flight plans. Finally I came up with an idea: Why not purchase the one-way trip twice?

I found that the price for two one-way trip is the same with the round trip in Delta. I was able to design the flight time for myself, without following the round trip plan designed by Delta. Finally, I found the right flights with satisfying price and time. Moral of story: Think outside the box when booking airfare. Most people think one way fares are most expensive – and this is true most of the time. But in my case, I was able to save a few $$$s and get the itinerary I wanted by getting two one way fares.

My name in the COSI newspaper

The day before yesterday, I happened to find my name in COSI‘s newsletter. It is says that “Lily Zhang is a Fisher College of Business Student at Ohio State and is majoring in Human Resources. She will assist with volunteer recruitment, placement, research, and administrative duties beginning in November. We are able to help Lily utilize the skills she is honing in college and offer a professional “lab” experience to her”. This introduction was written by my supervisor, the manager of recruitment and placement.

I was really excited about it, since more colleagues will know me. And I was also excited that what my supervisor promised to offer me in the last sentence. My supervisor has much experience in human resources, and is good at reading my mind. My expectation for COSI working experience is to gain more professional experience and utilize more knowledge in the real working environment. And her statement exactly matches my expectations! I believe that the other employees may focus more on improving my professional skills when collaborating with me.  This is a really “real world” lesson about satisfying internal customers, employee motivation, and effective communication.

New job in COSI

I attended the orientation at COSI this past Saturday. I was so proud of myself being a member in COSI.

When I arrived in the U.S., my roommate took me to downtown Columbus, where I knew there was COSI.  I really like COSI, since the people I met there are very energetic and kindhearted. I really like COSI, since COSI provide hands-on scientific experience to children and their families.  This summer, I applied for a position in the Littlekid Space in COSI and I had an interview with my supervisor at the beginning of this quarter. After the interview, my supervisor asked me whether I was interested in working in COSI’s HR Department. I was really excited, since the experience working in HR Department would definitely advance my professional development. Furthermore, this experience would definitely help me find a job related to HR in United States (I will graduate next June). However, I would really like to take care of those lovely children in the Littlekid Space. I have numerous experience in taking care of children. If I work with children, I will have lots of fun in my work. HR work to me is not as interesting as childcare work. What should I do????

I made the decision and I will work with the HR manager. I think I don’t have enough time to prepare for my career before graduation. I should gain more experience in American companies/organizations. And I can take care of children when I have enough time during the weekends or holidays.

Life is a cup of tea. It tastes bitter in the very beginning, but it will taste better and better in the future.

Market District by Giant Eagle in Kingsdale (Upper Arlington OH)

Do you know the first Market District by Giant Eagle opened in Columbus this month? You can see the news about Market District in the OSU newspaper, the Lantern. You can also receive the local newspapers which have Market District coupons inside.

Attracted by the colorful coupons, I went to Market District with my boyfriend this week. It is located in Kingsdale Center, Upper Arlington, which is really near my house. When I entered into the store, I was slightly shocked by its design. The new store looks like the flagship of Giant Eagle. It is very big, clean, tidy. Is it a competitor of Whole Foods? The stuff were displayed like those in Whole Foods. It is promoting its own products (like Giant Eagle Tea, Giant Eagle water), which is similar to what Whole Foods does. It sells Natural Basket Milk, just like Whole Foods sells 365 Milk. I can’t stop in comparing Market District with Whole Foods.

Also I find some things to be different between Market District and Whole Foods.

1. There are some shopping baskets near the shelves in the center of Market District. I think it is a wise decision, some customers may grab a basket and buy more stuff.

2. Market District sells Asian food in one of its restaurants.

3. Some employees speak Chinese in the Sushi Bar.

4. It sells duck!!! Duck is very popular in Chinese grocery stores. Rarely can I see duck in American store.

5. It sells frog legs. I have never thought that Americans consider frog legs as food.

6. Its cakes look better than those in Whole Foods. Very pretty!

7. I personally think that Whole Foods has more decent and organic food.

I think I will visit Market District more in the future, searching for my favorite Asian products. I will also visit Whole Foods, getting organic food.

Friends, please tell me your feelings about Market District!

Say no or yes, trust me!

Getting the opportunity to work for COSI as a Volunteer and Community Resources Office Assistant, I was not that excited. I realized that I can’t master my schedule. My time seems extremely limited to me. Actually, I have several important goals this quarter. I have to successfully pass the PHR exam, I have to do well in two tough American Law Seminars, which is pretty tough for international students, I have to work hard to understand Six Sigma Black Belt and get Green Belt certificate. I also have to write an excellent internship paper, since I invited an excellent, experienced Fisher leader to be my internship adviser. Additionally, I have to be responsible for my leadership role in FGWIB. Last, but not least, I have to work for the Department of Physics as administrative assistant.

I contacted my mentor as well as Steve Singer, who is the excellent MLHR career adviser at Fisher. They definitely gave me valuable advice. I finally realized that I should align my short-term goals with long-term goals. I want to be an HR generalist within 5 years. So it is very important that I develop different kinds of HR skills now. Also, I need to have a broad understanding of various functions of business.

I think it is time to say no to some work and pay more attention to my own HR professional development. I am the owner of myself. Trust me!

NAWMBA Conference

I participated in NAWMBA Conference in Louisville, Kentucky on Oct, 1st and Oct. 2nd. It was my great honor to participate the national MBA event as Master of HR student, since I built relationships with wonderful MBAs from different universities in U.S.A and got access to the wonderful sessions given by the top female leaders in big companies.  Also, I took advantage of the career fair on the second day, when I was able to find full-time working opportunities in several companies. I would like to share more about the career fair experience with you.

In order to legally work in U.S., I have to get sponsorship from an employer. So I paid a lot of attention to those companies which offer sponsorship for international students. I tried to learn more about the business plan and workforce plan of the company, the staffing procedure, individual career development as well as requirements for certain positions. After communicating with the employer, I tried to take the contact information of the recruiter, who is interested in me, for further connection. When dealing with those companies that don`t offer sponsorship, I asked for the recruiting information in the China branch, where I can legally work. The lesson I got from this experience is that going through my prior experience is necessary before talking to the recruiters.

As VP of outreach in Fisher Graduate Women in Business, I tried to connect with some companies, which are best companies for female. I really hope I can help my fellow Fisher graduate women get to know more wonderful employers, work-life balance, and women leadership from certain companies.

It is nearly 8:00 PM now. I am writing this article on the bus which is heading back to Columbus from Kentucky. Looking back on the past two-day experience, I would like to say “Thank You” to Fisher, especially the Career Management Office, for creating opportunities to Fisher graduate women, including me.