After working for several years as a purchasing agent at a construction company, I was let go due to staffing cuts. After having a difficult time finding a job, I turned to staffing firms for help.

I felt lucky when I got called in for an interview with a staffing company about a position it was looking to fill. From my perspective, everything looked good. The client company the staffing firm was hiring for was one I actually dealt with in my prior role, and I felt we had a great rapport.

A few days later, I got a call for an in-person interview with the client company. I felt it went very well, and after a few days, my recruiter called to let me know the client was very interested in me and wanted to see me for another interview.

The second interview went so well that my interviewer told me I was at the top of the list. I was elated and really felt I’d be getting a job offer. After another few of days, I had to ask my recruiter to follow up After about another week, I finally heard the bad news: The client had decided to keep the person I was interviewed to replace.

I was so disappointed — not to mention demoralized. Guide them along. I understand people change their minds. It happens all the time. But there are a couple of things staffing employees can do to help avoid such situations and avoid a hit to their reputations — and help their clients do the same.

First, and this is something you probably hear a lot, communicate! You are busy and time slips by. I get that. But to those of us who are out of work, every day matters. So try to find a way to communicate job status with us rather than make us call you. Even if there is no news, it goes a long way just to hear from you that you’re checking in. That tells us we matter to you.

Also, inform your clients not to raise our hopes up. To be told I was the top candidate and then have the possibility pulled out from under me was really hard. I know it was a different situation from normal. Perhaps the existing employee had changed his or her mind about leaving for some reason and the company really didn’t want to lose the person. I can understand that. But I don’t think it’s right to build up candidates’ expectations like that and suddenly change direction. It can’t be good for the client’s image and in a way, it damages yours as well.

Stand out. We all get it. The client is in control. And it’s hard for the staffing firm to correct impressions that the client has left behind — erroneous or not. But here’s where leadership comes in. I have been approached by the staffing firm as a likely candidate and set up to be interviewed by the client. The staffing firm representative needs to make sure that everyone is on the same page at all times. The recruiter needs to stay informed and available.

And again, people change their minds. But I would have come away respecting the recruiter more if she was on top of the issues. She should have been following up with the client after my second interview. I believe if she had moved quickly and closed the deal, I could have been working there. The fact is she was unaware that the person I was supposed to be replacing had changed his or her mind. Knowledge is power. My recruiter lacked both.

And lastly, she should have gone above and beyond to get me placed somewhere after this debacle. It may not have worked out, but at least I would have come away feeling that she was doing all she could for me, the candidate. That would have gone a long way to restore my respect for the recruiter, the staffing firm and the industry.