Recruitment and Selection


Harmonious employee relations are one of the most important factors in sustaining the favourable business environment in Hong Kong. In order to foster harmonious employee relations, the Labour Department has all along been dedicated to promoting good people management practices. Good people management practices should embody three main principles: employee-oriented, law-abiding, and equal and fair. Through the adoption of good people management practices, employers will be able to build up a highly motivated and efficient workforce who will help enhance the competitiveness and productivity of an enterprise and sharpen its competitive edge.

2. Braced by real-life cases, especially the successful experiences of the first two batches of the winners of the Good People Management Award, this practical guide aims to explain and illustrate how an employer can adopt good people management practices in the five major aspects of employment. Briefly, they include recruitment, selection and offer of employment; staff training; occupational safety and health at work; employer-employee communication; and termination of employment. In addition, there is a “Good People Management Practices Self-Assessment Form” at Appendix II of this guide for management of individual establishments to assess their own progress in the adoption of good people management practices.

3. The Labour Department hopes that this guide will facilitate employers of various trades and industries in fostering the three main principles of good people management so that employees will perform at their best. This in turn will pave the way for future business success and contribute to the continuous development of harmonious employee relations in Hong Kong.

Case 1

To Place the Right Person in the Right Job

Company A used to believe that only young people were ideal staff, teenagers were inexperienced and unstable while persons of older age were slower in learning new skills. Whenever they had recruitment needs, they confined their choice to job seekers in their twenties.

Adopting the advice of the Labour Department that age should not be a factor to assess candidates’ capabilities, the company employed job seekers of different ages. After a period of trial, the company realised that people of different ages had different strengths, e.g. teenagers were quick in learning, persons of older age were stable, etc. The most important consideration is to place the right person in the right job.


4. Matching the person to the job is the first step in the overall staffing process. Prior to the recruitment exercise to find and attract capable job applicants, an employer should :

·         conduct a job analysis to think about the requirements of the post and the type of person needed to fill it; and

·         draw up an objective and well-defined job description to set out duties, responsibilities and working conditions and the qualifications needed to perform the task satisfactorily.


5. In the selection process, in order to shortlist and decide on the most suitable candidate, an employer should :

·         use a list of consistent selection criteria to assess the capabilities of each candidate to minimise bias and to avoid discrimination;

·         obtain information about applicants that is relevant to selection and avoid unnecessary enquiries which may cause perception of discrimination; and

·         treat employees’ information in a confidential manner to comply with the data protection principles of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.

Equal Opportunities in Employment

 6. Employers should ensure that equal opportunities in employment are adhered to so that job seekers and employees –

·         can compete equally on the basis of their abilities, aptitude and knowledge; and

·         are not discriminated against on the grounds of sex, marital status, pregnancy, disability, age, family status, race, nationality or religion.

7. By doing so, employers will –

·         gain trust and respect from their employees; and

·         have a larger pool of talents from which to select the most suitable staff to meet the manpower needs of the company

Experience Sharing

·         A hotel aimed to enhance the objectiveness and comprehensiveness of its staff recruitment and selection system. To achieve this, it collaborated with an American human resource consultancy company to devise a unique set of staff selection tools which assessed job applicants’ potential ability and suitability for the job through questionnaires. The questionnaires were designed to match the unique requirements of different jobs in the hotel. The whole set of recruitment system was based on objective analysis to evaluate the potential ability of each job applicant in order to rationalize a selection decision. Under the new system, not only staff of the department concerned such as the direct supervisor, were involved in the selection process. Other staff such as those from other departments like the human resource department and the general manager, were also involved. The staff recruitment and selection system became more objective and comprehensive as a result.

·         Another hotel group placed great emphasis on equal opportunities in employment. As early as the 1980s, the group had already introduced equal opportunities regulations to ensure that job applicants were selected and promoted under equal and fair conditions. Right now the three hotels under the group employed three persons of disabilities including those who were deaf and dumb. One of the cooks in the group even won the “Outstanding Disabled Employee Award” organized by the Labour Department.

·        A book store also applied the principles of equal opportunities in recruiting and selecting persons of different nationalities and ages as its employees. Hence, apart from Chinese, the nationalities of its employees included Indian, Filippino, Pakistani and Nepalese. A job seeker would not be discriminated and got rejected for the job just because he /she was over 50

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