How to Pick Between Two Qualified Candidates

The hiring process is unpredictable. Most of the time, you invest months into trying to find a decent candidate for your open position and still come away empty-handed. However, once in a blue moon, the unheard of happens.

What happens when you meet not one, but two perfect candidates for your opening? Although this situation can sometimes be just as stressful as having no qualified candidates, consider yourself lucky. Here are some key factors to think about when your business is faced with choosing between two rock stars.

Transferable Skills

I’m sure if your hiring team is struggling to pick between two ideal candidates, they both check off all of the requirement boxes for the role. When torn between the two, think outside of the box:

  • Which one is the better investment long-term?
  • Does one of the candidates possess other skills that could benefit the business beyond what the position entails? Leadership skills?
  • Do they show ambition to grow within the company?

In with the “In” Crowd

When the top applicants’ skills are equally impressive, think about which candidate will fit in better with your staff. Of course you want your employees to be in agreement with your company’s mission and values. However, it is also important the candidate gets along with the other staff members. If a new employee isn’t engaging with their team, the chances of them staying long-term are slim. To test this, get the team involved in the hiring process. Have them give their opinion on which candidate they had a better personal connection with.

Genuine Interest

Think back to day one of meeting the two strong candidates. Which one had more genuine questions about the position and the company? Which candidate had better follow up after the interview expressing their interest? You want someone who sincerely wants to work at your organization as much as you want them to work for you. If it’s still a tough decision, give a small assignment. This will show who has better quality of work and who can adhere to deadlines, but you should also dig deeper. Which candidate was more eager about the assignment and displayed willingness to do so?

Talented candidates possessing the skills your business needs are hard to find. The longer you take to decide between the two top runners, the chances of losing one, or both, of the candidates increase. According to the US Department of Labor, unemployment is the lowest it’s been in the last 10 years at 4.1%. Knowing this, strongly consider hiring both of the favored candidates if it’s in the company budget.

When all else fails, trust your gut and pick as quickly as possible before your two strong candidates get hired elsewhere.