How to Choose Between Two Great Candidates

It sounds like a good problem to have: You’ve got two amazing candidates for an open position, and you’re struggling to choose between them. However, this can be an extremely stressful situation, and many hiring managers find themselves paralyzed by the prospect of choosing between two equally qualified candidates. What if you ultimately make the wrong choice? Here are some strategies you can use to help you choose between two great candidates.

Look Beyond Skills

If both of your candidates possess the same skills and talents, look past those “tangible” characteristics and evaluate things like soft skills, personality and cultural alignment. The most talented candidate in the world will not succeed at your firm if they do not mesh well with the team or their values do not align with the company’s values.

Identify the #1 Thing You Need

If you can’t choose between two people, remember this – no two candidates are exactly the same. Ask yourself and the team leader what the number one thing you need from the new hire would be. It might be the ability to hit the ground running on day one. It could be organizational skills. Analytical acumen. Anything. Identify that number-one factor and choose the candidate who possesses that coveted skill.

Set Them up With the Team

Lots of organizations use the “beer test” when hiring a new member of their team. Once they have narrowed the list down to one or two candidates, they invite them to a company happy hour and observe them with the team. An informal setting like this allows you to see what candidates are like outside the office, and it gives the team a chance to interact with the prospects and determine whether or not the person will fit in with the group.

Float an Offer

If you simply cannot choose between two candidates, put the ball in their court. Without making an offer, call each one and ask, “If we were to offer you the job today, what would potentially prevent you from accepting?” Enthusiastic candidates who have thought critically about the job will be able to answer this question quickly. They may have one or two reservations, but they should be able to articulate them clearly. Conversely, candidates who are not enthusiastic may have a longer list of reservations, they may be unable to articulate those reservations or they may let you know directly that they are no longer that interested in the job.

When You Need a Little Help From a Pro

Hiring is part science and part art form. Internal teams often lack the time and resources to develop the nuanced skills to ensure you’re making the right choices for your organization. If you are looking to improve your recruiting, hiring and retention processes for engineering and technology positions, reach out to the expert recruiters at Selectek today. We can connect you with top talent who will add real value to your team.