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How to Choose Between Two Great Candidates

Oakstone International executive search: how to choose between two great candidates

Making a hiring decision is difficult.  There are so many things to consider aside from qualifications, skills and experience – people are increasingly focussed on whether there is cultural fit, drive, motivation and of course references to think about along with all the other criteria.  Finding one great candidate is often difficult but when you’re faced with two equally ‘perfect’ candidates how do you make the decision when you would hire both?

Oakstone constantly stresses about how time kills all deals and it’s true.  As a hiring manager you don’t have time to mull over two great candidates for weeks on end or one, or both will get snapped up by someone else.

The scenario of choosing from two great candidates may not ever happen for you – it’s pretty unlikely, but when working with great recruiters, you’re more likely to be faced with more perfectly fitting candidates. So how can you make the decision, quickly?

Whether you are hiring urgently or not, you don’t have the time to take your time – they may both run off and join some other fantastic company.

Find the right candidate to hire

Think about cultural fit

Yes, both candidates might have some cultural fit, but they are not identical.  They don’t have identical personalities so delve into their personalities and assess who would get on better with the team and the office dynamic. It might be an idea to let the candidates meet the team before you offer them the job – this doesn’t have to be sat in the office shadowing a member of the team.  Take them out for dinner with a few of their potential work colleagues and see how they get on. It will soon be obvious who fits in more and who will add the most value to the team.  It’s also a great idea to get opinions from the team to see what they think – after all it will be the team who is working with them.

Interest and enthusiasm

Look back on interviews or interview them again if you don’t feel like you know them well enough. Assess who asked the most questions? Who seemed more engaged with what you had to say? How interested were they in the position and the company?

Questions are a good way to assess whether they are thinking about the situation and whether they are inquisitive and genuinely interested.

If a formal interview is not enough to get to know them, organise something outside of work. A one on one meal or a coffee might be more beneficial and offer you some time to get to know them on a more personal level.

By assessing who is the most interested and who has the most enthusiasm it will be clear who wants the position more.

If you still can’t make the decision after assessing who is better for your company, you could hire both!  Always think ahead in your recruitment strategy – if you’re not thinking about your future hires you aren’t growing.  You don’t want to lose someone great just because you aren’t looking to hire two people at this very moment in time. By hiring two great candidates now you are saving time and money in the long run.

We understand that not all companies will have the luxury to be flexible on their headcount so keep in contact with the candidate you don’t hire.  By staying in contact, you can keep them warm and when the time comes along you can discuss hiring them again.