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Direct and Indirect Communication Strategies

Rosalia Mtumbo has interviewed four candidates for product development manager. Candidate 1 is fresh out of college. He is enthusiastic and gave a wonderful presentation, but he lacks the experience the position requires. Candidate 2 has plenty of experience but is very direct and aggressive. Rosalia knows the vice president for product development quite well: He is an emotional and intuitive person. She suspects that he would be uncomfortable working with the second candidate. Candidate 3 may have been a good prospect, but his nervousness during the interview made it hard to determine whether he could do the job or not. Candidate 4 was also nervous, but her low-key manner and creative ideas she came up with on the spur of the moment make Rosalia feel she’s the best one for the job.

Now comes the really hard part. Rosalia has to write letters to each interviewee explaining her company’s decision. She thinks about the personality of each candidate carefully, and uses those thoughts to plan her strategy for each letter. She decides to use a direct strategy for candidate 4. After all, she got the job! Rosalia makes this letter sound as warm and welcoming as possible. She wants this shy woman to understand how excited the company is about having her on board. Rosalia is also very clear about the details of the employment process. She ends the letter with complete contact information for all the people candidate 4 will need to talk to, and reiterates her welcoming message.

The other three letters need to incorporate an indirect strategy. Although the three candidates are being refused, she wants them to retain goodwill toward the company. She begins by thanking them for their interviews and personalizes each letter by adding details from each interview, such as comments they shared or interesting points in their presentations. She also notes their individual strengths. She moves into a brief discussion of the requirements for the management position, and then quickly but clearly tells them that the position has gone to another candidate. She closes the letters by reiterating how impressive all the candidates were, and how much she enjoyed the opportunity to meet them all.

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