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As recruiting season begins, Korea Inc. seeks creativity

March 5, 2019 - 16:27 By Cho Chung-un
Major conglomerates in South Korea began recruiting staff this month, but they appear to have made noticeable changes in the way they hire new employees, according to industry watchers Tuesday.

In a survey of 646 companies in Korea, 63.7 percent of large businesses in South Korea confirmed plans to hire new employees this month, according to Incruit, a local job seeking site.

Affiliates of top conglomerates, such as Samsung, LG and SK, have also announced job openings and held a series of recruitment sessions at university campuses.


Conglomerates usually hire college graduates twice a year, in spring and fall. And recruiters are increasingly looking for new employees with creative minds and global perspectives, not necessarily young talent capable of fitting into a hierarchical corporate culture, said industry watchers.

The change is most apparent in recruiting methods, such as conducting intensive interviews rather than spending time testing the personalities of applicants and reviewing their academic background.

“Companies need to think of something different and creative to better cater to the needs of customers, and in order to do that, they need fresh talent,” said a company official who declined to be named.

“If they maintain the traditional way of nurturing new employees in a military corporate culture, companies will never be able to understand what customers want. They need to seek changes to better embrace new social value.”

Hyundai Motor is one of the conglomerates undertaking significant changes in personnel management. It announced last month that it would hire new talent year round, with job vacancies open throughout the year, ditching its traditional periodical recruitment system called “gongchae.”

CJ Group, for its part, has increased its number of new employees by 10 percent from last year. The retail-to-food giant also said that 40 percent of new employees would be made up of global talent.

Meanwhile, Lotte and Posco are likely to maintain their recruitment standards, while Hanwha and GS Group appear to be strengthening the interview process, according to officials.

By Cho Chung-un (