Employers: How Do You Choose Between Two Great Candidates?

It’s a happy predicament, really. You’ve got one job opening and two outstanding candidates. Both passed your staffing agency’s thorough screening and reference check. Both boast the skills and qualifications you require. Both dazzled you during a round of behavioral interview questions. But both can’t join the team.

So who’s going home hired?

You could mull it over. Lose sleep for a few nights as you contemplate various workplace scenarios with either candidate switching off in the starring role. Or hey – there’s always the trusty coin toss.

Or you could try a couple of these…

Strategies For Choosing Between Two Great Candidates

1. Go back in time

Just hop into your company’s DeLorean and skip back to when you were developing the job description for the position.

If the DeLorean is out of commission, simply review the written description and reflect on what mattered back then. Think about the top-of-mind qualities that may have been brushed aside throughout the hiring process. Remind yourself what you truly require in the workplace structure.  Which candidate most clearly defines the role you originally sought to fill?

2. Check for style. Email style!

If you’ve had email exchanges with your candidates, you’ve got a goldmine of material to help make your decision easier.

As The New York Times contributor Bryan Burkhart says, “the correspondence itself allows for basic analysis of the candidate.” Email can reveal eagerness (how soon does the candidate respond to your messages?), attention to detail (does the candidate take the time to proofread?), and overall interest in the position.

3. Create a scenario

Bring your two exceptional candidates back for a situational assessment of their skills, based on the role either will be expected to fulfill.

For instance, if the position requires sales, negotiation or mediation abilities, you might take the candidates out for a lunch interview to examine their grasp of the casual business meeting setting.

4. Get a second opinion

Collaborate with your staffing agency or internal team to conduct a second round of interviews.  You’re going to sit it out and let someone else lead the conversations. This “someone else” could be the senior manager of the department your new hire will be working in, or perhaps the recruiter who provided you with the qualified shortlist.

Take advantage of the fresh perspective- you might have missed a deal-breaker or two in the first round of interviews.

5. Think future vs. right now

You might have a situation where one candidate demonstrates the potential to excel over time, and the other has the whippersnapper aptitude to get lots done today. If you’re still torn, consider your current status; are you prepared to nurture a prospective rock star towards future success, or do you require fast and effective solutions right now?

This thought process could bring you closer to making the right choice for your company’s needs.

Staffing agencies can help make it easier to choose

When you work with a staffing agency throughout the recruiting process, you gain the perspective and expertise of a partner in your success. When you have doubts, need feedback, or simply want a second opinion, your staffing agency is there to help.

Stuck between two candidates, or ready to find the perfect person for your position in the Okanagan? Contact Stacey for an approachable, effective solution!

‘Choices’ image provided with permission by Creative Commons Flickr user Gerwin Sturm