Hot issues

Odd style of ministry's job ad raises doubts

Updated: 2011-08-04 07:56

By Cao Yin (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Written in a casual style often associated with online shopping, a job advertisement elicited an enthusiastic response from Internet users and the public after it had appeared on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' micro blog.

Posted on the leading Chinese micro blog website Sina Weibo, the notice read, "Dear, do you have a university degree? Can you master office computer software? Do you have a driver's license? The ministry is planning to establish a new international organization that will work to promote cooperation among China, Japan and South Korea, and it has created six positions for someone like you. If you want to work in Seoul, the hometown of many famous stars, please get in touch with us."

The ad was written in imitation of Taobao style, named after the most prominent online shopping website in China. Those who employ the style often begin their messages by addressing the reader as "dear".

The ad was posted on Aug 1 and has since been forwarded more than 6,800 times. By 5:30 pm on Wednesday, it had elicited 1,400 replies.

A similar notice, written in a formal way, was not nearly so successful. Posted on July 26 on the ministry's Sina micro blog, it has only drawn 50 responses and been forwarded 93 times.

Of the replies to the new ad, most spoke in favor of its informal style and expressed support for the ministry's use of amusing phrases.

A netizen named Tianmimi said she was surprised when she learned the ministry had written an ad in Taobao style.

Some netizens, though, questioned the sincerity of the advertisement; many could not believe the ministry would intentionally write it in such a way.

"I thought the job might be a joke when I saw the notice," said Zhang Fa, 26, an employee at the Capital Library in Beijing.

"I don't think it's wise for the ministry to publish formal job ads in an informal way."

A recruiter in the ministry, who did not want to be identified by his name, confirmed that the job ad is meant in earnest and said netizens can learn more about the offer on the ministry's website.

"It is a kind of secretary job," he said. "Applicants should be able to write reports in English. The work will start next month."

He said he did not know the ad had been written in Taobao style.

Officials in the ministry's press office meanwhile declined to explain why Taobao style had been used in the notice and also had no response to criticism from netizens.

Zhang Shuting, a professor of advertising at the Communication University of China, said the ministry's recruitment ad did not accord with the image it is trying to project.

"The ministry may attract applicants in this way," he said. "But it may also adversely affect its authority and credibility."


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