Meeting Expectations In China in the "old" days you could use a once a year salary survey to determine the market value of your candidates. Today salaries are changing on an an almost daily basis. Most of the candidates in Chna are very open with one another and they usually have a good idea of their market value. There is no room in todays negotiations for low-ball offers to see if the candidate will take less. These invariably fail as the candidate can get what they are looking for elsewhere. We constantly probe new candidates and ask about the range of their other offers and track those that accept our offers to find out what works and what doesn't. Exceding Expectations Top Candidates are facing more and more offers and counter-offers from their current firms. In my opinion counter offers are (almost) always a terrible idea. In order to compete on a level above just raising the salary and hoping for the best I reccomend getting your Hiring Managers involved. Let your own managers know why the offer is better thatn the competition's and how to discuss it with the candidate when they meet. Increase sign-on bonus and stock option limits. Decrease the focus on internal equity by tying any pay over the internal maximum to performance. Get creative, the competition is! Use your recruiters to close the candidates before you make an offer. If your recruiters do not give you the candidate's "magic number" and have authority to accept on their behalf you need to get better recruiters. More than Money Applicants expect growth, communication, a great manager and a work/life balance in addition to the money. Take the initiative to alter job scope to entice top performers, offer specific training to them as a signing bonus, find out what they need in their tool kit and offer them the chance to get it. If you are unable to do this you need to talk to the decision makers at your company and impress upon them the value of the candidates you are missing out on. Shift Your focus must go beyond the buzz words: corporate branding, training, traction, buy-in, you know them as well as I do. Shift the perception of this market in the minds and hearts of your managers to make a difference. Make hiring a performance indicator. Spend some time looking (objectively) at your hiring process and exteral relationships.