Controlling Candidate Communications Post-Interview

OP_Blog_Kevin K_communication

Not all job seekers are alike. 

Recruiters, have you ever worked with a skilled, personable, interested and qualified candidate only to discover that they need guidance when it comes to timely communication? We all have. For this type of candidate try using candidate control techniques, especially during the interview process. 

“Despite the term, candidate control is not some Orwellian mind game recruiters secretly play with their candidates. It’s about having a handle on the recruitment process as a whole.” – Harriet Davis, via Sonovate: Candidate control – 10 simple tips


After a candidate completes their interview it is critical that you set up the debrief with them. 

It’s as easy as letting them know to call you immediately following their interview – even if they can only chat for a couple of minutes. This control segment of post-interview communication is critical for the timely flow of feedback. The ultimate goal is to talk to your candidate before you get feedback from your client. 

Fictional Post-Interview Scenario 

Your client calls and says, “we have an interest in Anne, we’d like to know what her thoughts are.” If all I can say is, “I’m not sure, we haven’t debriefed,” the client might think that Anne doesn’t have the same interest level as them.

Gain control of candidate communications by setting expectations with Anne. Let her know that if you don’t hear back within 30 minutes of the interview’s end, it’s assumed she has no interest in moving forward. While it may be an aggressive approach, it’s your job to keep the process moving. To be clear, this isn’t the debriefing call, this is the control segment of the post-interview process. 

Here’s what information you’ll gather:

  • Did the candidate enjoy the conversation?
  • Any highlights?
  • Are they interested in continuing the process?
  • What time works to debrief the interview completely?


At the time of an offer, I tell candidates that they must become decisive. 

This means that when an offer is given, they reject or they accept the offer on the same day the offer was received. Pretty tough request, right? It’s not if it’s explained appropriately and used when necessary. And if it’s late in the day, 24 hours.

Most people feel they shouldn’t be asked to decide on the same day – which I disagree with. I think within the course of the debriefing process, you should be asking where the opportunity stands with your candidate. Help them by developing a one to ten scale, where ten is a done deal and one is no longer interested in the opportunity entirely. If they are at seven, what information do they lack to get to a ten? 

Another Fictional Scenario

Your client has taken four hours over two days to determine whether or not a candidate is right to be the Lead Software Architect for their company. The company has now spent four hours of evaluative time and they’re hoping that you use the same time evaluating whether or not this is the right company for you. 

I would never ask someone to decide on a position until they have all the information they need to be decisive. But once all of the information is present, I am going to expect the same decision-making skills that the company has. 

Check out this piece from The Muse on 6 Ways You’ll Instantly Ruin the Excitement of a Job Offer. Note that waiting too long is an issue on both sides – let’s do better!

It’s critical for your candidate to show the ability to communicate.  

Time kills most deals for recruiters. When you wait, there is somebody else that isn’t waiting. If you never pre-close on decision-making abilities with your candidates, you can never expect them to be decisive at the time of an offer. For recruiters to provide an exceptional candidate experience they need to exhibit candidate control as a best practice during the post-interview process. 

More on personal, professional and situational candidate control in Bill Radin’s, Winning Strategies for Recruiters blog, Control: The Key to Recruiting Success.

KKluge_Talution_OPKevin Kluge is a Sr. Recruiter, Salesforce Specialist, and Recruiting Team Lead at Objective Paradigm. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn here.

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