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?)