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We have a process where we interview our top three candidates and if none of them appear appropriate we interview our next three preferred candidates the next week. (We are a small firm so cannot afford to interview to many people in one week)

The current situation is that a candidate, who would be brought in the second week if week one was unsuccessful, has emailed in week one stating another job offer expires on that weeks end and when they would know about their application with us.

How would one tell a candidate in such a position that they would find out after the deadline for their other job offer without getting their hopes up or pushing them away to early? I am wanting to avoid unduly affecting their decision and accepting a job that might not be best for them because they felt they had no alternative, or miss out on a job holding out for another opportunity.

(As an additional question: Is it a good idea to review our hiring process to try avoid this situation?)

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The current answer I am leaning towards is:

-Respond to applicant;

Hello NAME

Congratulations on your other job opportunity. I will not be able to confirm an opportunity with us before the end of this week. I expect to be able to let applicants know NEXT FRIDAY, ##/##/##.

I understand this might be too late for you. If so I wish you all the best and encourage you to apply again in the future if you are interested.

Kind regards, ME

And leave the interview process as is and accept that some good candidates will get multiple job offers.

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    Works for me, though I'd put a specific date in the note as well. – keshlam Sep 28 '15 at 23:48
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    Good solution, puts the candidate on their toes if they want your job without conceding anything, all done professionally. Definitely better with a date as well. – Kilisi Sep 29 '15 at 0:18
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    It seems a little confusing. What do you mean by "will not be able to confirm an opportunity" - is that a job offer, or is it merely an interview opportunity? You should be very, very clear on the date you might actually make an offer if possible, or at least state that you would not be able to extend an offer prior to a specific date. Otherwise the response is great. – Adam Davis Sep 29 '15 at 1:13
  • Job Offer from company A vs. Opportunity from small company B - which to choose. Each day you lose a days profit and they lose a days pay, unless they are currently employed (then they lose the difference). What are the total number of times each person is interviewed and how many people would they imagine you would interview. If it was an offer to go fishing with the person or out to lunch and you said that what should they think/do? - It is polite/professional/SOP but it's sounds like you need to say how great they are and make your best offer or they will accept their best offer. – Rob Nov 27 '17 at 8:18

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