"Time kills all deals." I have been hearing this since I started recruiting in Asia in 1993. We said it then and we said it in the US when I was recruiting there. We say it to each other in my office all the time and I say it to my clients at least once a week. This is not an industry technique to increase revenue it is a long know fact that in recruiting time is a major consideration.
The fact is that the hiring process, especially when it comes to passive candidates, should be a well planned event with time lines in place well before the first candidate is called. Companies that are successful recruiting in China usually recognize this and have a sense of urgency when it comes to hiring. This translates to a well planned system for reacting quickly when the right candidate walks in the door.
The China market is hot. Talented candidates who speak English and work well in Western, performance oriented environments are in short supply and they know it. When my team introduces a candidate of this caliber to a client we expect them to react quickly if they are serious about getting a top candidate on their team. Initial lack of feedback to a top candidate is a s bad as an extended period of time between the first meeting and the second meeting when it comes to killing the candidate's interest and the deal.
I recently had a client lose out on a candidate that, in the words of the client, "would have been a key hire." The client failed to get the offer letter out quickly enough and by the time the candidate received the offer he had already talked to enough relatives and friends to come o the conclusion that he was worth a lot more than the offer (which was reasonable and fair and which the candidate would have signed after the third meeting with the client) and that if the company was really interested in him it wouldn't be taking so long.
The best hiring clients in this market are not always the ones with the biggest budgets they are more often the companies that have made a commitment to hiring the best and have put in place a system that eliminates time stealing bottlenecks in the offer process.
Learn from the best and you will close on more key hires.