If you have a favorite candidate and are trying to prepare that person (per the related podcast episode), should you be forthright and let that person know where he stands with you at this stage, i.e. let him know he's is your top candidate? Or is it better to hold your cards close and not give them what could turn out to be a false expectation?

What if you have a second choice the boss might also interview? Does that change what you might tell the preferred candidate?

Should you let the top candidate know that the boss will be interviewing one or more other people? Is that of any benefit for him to know? Or does that, effectively, amount to playing games with him (at least from the candidate's point of view)?

Mattias's picture

If the first choice declines your offer, you will be sorry you told the second choice he/she wasnt the top candidate when said person provides salary expectation.

If the first choice accepts your offer, you will be sorry you told the first choice he/she is the first choice when he she presents their salary expectation.

mattpalmer's picture

I'm a great fan of starting to plan a conversation with the straightforward, unvarnished truth.  Then I consider the likely impact of what that truth would be on the listener, and adjusting from there.

In this case, the truth (as I perceive it) is that the candidate is your top choice, but you are not the only decision maker involved and your boss may interview other candidates before coming to his/her own decision.

Now, what are the impacts of giving that information, in that form, to your candidate?  The only negative impact I'm coming up with is that of telling your candidate that he's your first choice -- I suppose it might make him think that he can demand a higher salary, or some other excessive element of a compensation package, but I've always looked at salary negotiations the same was as pay rise requests: I can always say "no".  People know when they're asking for things outside the realm of reasonableness, it's rare that they can't find a mutually-agreeable middle ground.

Personally, I lean towards just giving the candidate the straight truth here.