How to Choose Between Two Great Candidates

Many employers struggle to find great candidates for skilled positions, and much has been written on how to find great people in today’s market. But what about the times when you’ve got the opposite problem? What happens when you have two qualified candidates and you need to choose between them? This situation can be just as challenging for hiring teams because the fear of making the wrong choice can be overwhelming. Use these strategies to help you choose between two great candidates.

Identify Which Candidate Has Your Most Desired Skills

Sit down with the person who leads the team the new hire will work for. Identify the top three skills and qualities they want to see in their new employee. Make sure the team lead is thinking about both the short term and long term when identifying those needs. No two candidates are the same, and it is possible that one of your two finalists won’t necessarily possess all three of those traits.

Focus on Enthusiasm

You can teach skills on the job, but you cannot teach passion and enthusiasm for work. Reflect on the interview process and identify the candidate who showed the most genuine enthusiasm. If you have difficulty engaging their enthusiasm, bring them both back in for one final interview. You might consider having them each prepare a short presentation about why they love the field they are in and see which one seems more genuinely passionate about what they do.

Invite Them on an Outing

If you want to see who will fit in with the group, invite the candidates to an informal gathering of the team. It might a lunch, dinner, happy hour or just a potluck or picnic on company grounds. Let each candidate mix and mingle with the group and see how they interact. Informal settings provide you with a new perspective on candidates’ strengths, weaknesses and cultural alignment.

Let the Candidates Tell You

If you truly can’t decide between two candidates, it’s often easiest to let them decide for you. Ask each person if they were to receive an offer today, what would prevent them from accepting it. Candidates are often not bashful when asked directly. They can either articulate their reservations quickly, state with confidence they have no reservations or they may simply let you know they are no longer interested in the position. When floating an offer, it should be obvious whether someone genuinely wants the position or not.

Get an Expert Opinion

It’s not easy to choose the best candidate who possesses the hard skills, soft skills and staying power you need. Internal hiring teams already stretched thin often lack the time and resources to develop the critical skills required for making strong hiring decisions. 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.