In China, some job in­ter­views re­quire de­scrib­ing fel­la­tio

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - FRONT PAGE - By Ka­trin Büchen­bacher

As a for­mer in­tro­vert, I used to only share my per­sonal de­tails with a limited cir­cle of friends and fam­ily. To­day, I am much more com­fort­able in speak­ing about my pri­vate life. How­ever, I am still not the over-shar­ing type, of which there are so many on so­cial media these days. Thus, the thought of be­ing asked to re­veal my sex life to my boss and col­leagues sends shiv­ers down my spine.

Sur­pris­ingly, this is what hap­pened re­cently to a for­eign friend here in Shang­hai af­ter be­gin­ning an in­tern­ship at a lo­cal start-up com­pany. As part of a “team build­ing” ex­er­cise to get to know his new Chi­nese work­mates, their boss asked him in front of ev­ery­one how many one-night stands he’s had.

He was also re­quired to iden­tify a fe­male col­league he was most likely to date. Iron­i­cally, his work con­tract stip­u­lated that en­gag­ing in a ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship with any­one from the com­pany would re­sult in ter­mi­na­tion. Trick ques­tion, per­haps?

Sim­i­larly, a Chi­nese friend who ap­plied for a job at a Hangzhoubased Chi­nese e-com­merce mega­cor­po­ra­tion was asked dur­ing an in­ter­view by their HR man­ager if she’d ever given a blow job, and if yes, how she would de­scribe the taste of the man’s pe­nis.

My­self near­ing grad­u­a­tion here in Shang­hai, I was hor­ri­fied to hear about the types of in­quis­i­tive in­ter­views and overt in­va­sions of pri­vacy I might have to face in the near fu­ture. It is stress­ful enough wor­ry­ing about all the com­pe­ti­tion I’ll be fac­ing off against in my fight for my dream po­si­tion, in­clud­ing the dreaded “eight as­sess­ment rounds,” where HR test our in­tel­li­gence, per­son­al­ity, so­cial skills, lead­er­ship abil­ity and other ar­eas.

Now it seems that our abil­ity to com­pletely and ut­terly self-dis­close our in­ner­most se­crets and skele­tons in front of our prospec­tive fu­ture em­ployer has be­come the new ninth round of the Chi­nese hir­ing process. Of course this is prob­a­bly just a way to test our ded­i­ca­tion.

When a job can­di­date is asked to self-dis­close his/her dirty lit­tle se­crets in front of a po­ten­tial em­ployer, the in­ter­viewer is us­ing his/ her po­si­tion of power to ma­nip­u­late you into re­veal­ing per­sonal de­tails. Those who re­ally want or need that job feel ob­li­gated to an­swer such ques­tions. This is the rea­son why my two friends both chose to an­swer the ques­tions hon­estly.

How­ever, I per­son­ally be­lieve that ac­cept­ing this type of abu­sive em­ployer be­hav­ior can have longterm neg­a­tive ef­fects on em­ploy­ees and their work.

Years ago, I too might have been vul­ner­a­ble and naive enough to be com­pelled into an­swer­ing such in­va­sive ques­tion­ing, though it cer­tainly would have left me feel­ing empty and ashamed. A much more con­fi­dent, quick-wit­ted ver­sion of my­self, how­ever, would wave it off with a joke: “How many one-night stands, you ask? Let me list them for you al­pha­bet­i­cally: Aaron, Alex, Andrew …” or “Who in this of­fice would I sleep with? You, if it’ll get me a pro­mo­tion!”

Se­ri­ously though, I would firmly de­cline to an­swer such ques­tion, then an­nounce that I also refuse to work for a com­pany that de­mands their em­ploy­ees to den­i­grate them­selves just to prove their cor­po­rate loy­alty. In Switzer­land, my home coun­try, laws pro­hibit busi­nesses from ask­ing their em­ploy­ees per­sonal ques­tions that are not di­rectly re­lated to pro­fes­sional ac­tiv­ity. The only ques­tion that should in­ter­est any em­ployer is: “Is this per­son qual­i­fied and mo­ti­vated for the job?”

Ac­cord­ing to a Chi­nese friend who is cur­rently study­ing law, lo­cal civil law pro­tects the pri­vate sphere of em­ploy­ees. He doubts that ask­ing can­di­dates about sex will ever be­come a cor­po­rate trend in China. In Chi­nese cul­ture, it is in fact ex­tremely im­po­lite to ask ques­tions about some­one’s sex­ual ex­pe­ri­ences and pref­er­ences. He sus­pects that in both in­stances men­tioned above, that boss and that HR man­ager prob­a­bly both had per­sonal moral short­com­ings and were not ask­ing on be­half of their com­pany.

Ei­ther way, my friend DID get that job in Hangzhou work­ing for one of China’s largest tech gi­ants. She is now earn­ing a de­cent salary and can al­ready af­ford to buy her own apart­ment. I guess ad­mit­ting to giv­ing blow jobs and de­scrib­ing the taste of pe­nis is what it takes to get ahead in the Chi­nese mar­ket­place. Af­ter I grad­u­ate, maybe I’ll just be­come self-em­ployed.

The opin­ions ex­pressed in this ar­ti­cle are the au­thor’s own and do not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect the views of the Global Times.

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