Torn Between Two Equally-Desirable Candidates? How To Choose The Right One

how to choose between two job candidates


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Hiring and Applicant Tracking

One of the most challenging parts of recruitment is the endless search for talent. Since the current market favors the job-seeker, it’s more difficult than ever to attract top applicants to your company. That’s why the idea of two prime candidates competing for a position sounds unlikely – but it does happen.

Getting your pick of the litter sounds like a nice problem to have, but the pressure can be nerve-wracking. In the end, you’ll have to turn away an applicant that you would’ve hired under any other circumstance. And there’s a chance you end up rejecting the better option of the two.

So, how do you choose between two candidates to ensure your pick is the right one? Here are four strategies:

1. Determine their desire

While the interview process helps you determine who you want at your company, it might distract you from an equally important question: Who wants your company?

The more promising a candidate is, the more potential they have. It’s very likely they’re looking at multiple companies, not just yours. Sadly, a candidate might not stick around for long if your company’s at the bottom of their list. They might not even accept the job offer to begin with.

An applicant tracking software (ATS) solution can help you find out who’s more committed to your company. This software keeps track of who’s opening your emails and clicking on your links. It also records the amount of time candidates take to respond to emails and complete application materials.

Candidate engagement translates to a candidate’s desire to work at your company. Prompt responses imply that the candidate will be just as eager in the workplace. And they’ll be less likely to jump ship without reason. Having an idea of where you rank on each candidate’s list of options can help streamline a difficult decision process.

2. Consider cultural fit

Don’t let a candidate’s stellar qualifications distract you from other relevant considerations, like their alignment with your corporate culture. Remember: A good worker isn’t always a good teammate.

Both candidates may have perfect interviewing skills and brilliant credentials, but that doesn’t mean they’ll get along with your staff. A better cultural fit can be the distinguishing factor that elevates one qualified candidate over the other.

Get the team involved in the hiring process. This could take the form of a lunch, happy hour or just a simple meet and greet with the candidates. These social gatherings help bring out the personality traits each candidate would be adding to the office dynamic. As a bonus, you can ask your employees who they prefer.

An alternative is to look up each candidate’s social media accounts. A candidate’s social media can reveal a number of behavioral warning signs that you might’ve missed otherwise.

3. Put those skills to the test

You already know that both candidates have the necessary skills, but maybe one uses them more effectively.

So, let them prove themselves to you with a skills test. Have each candidate try their hand at some essential job duties. Or run them through some real work scenarios and compare their responses with how your existing employees have handled similar situations in the past.

When you put two equally qualified candidates to the test, you might get different outcomes, which can help set apart one candidate just enough for you to decide.

4. Look for holes in your workforce

With two ideal candidates, you get the luxury of probing deeper than just a few interview questions. One way to take advantage of this opportunity is to size up the candidates in reference to your existing staff. A few questions to consider:

  • Is the workforce lacking, even a little, in any area?
  • Is there any overlap in qualifications that aren’t required for the job?
  • Could the employees benefit from a certain type of person?

These questions can help you pick one candidate over the other based on the differences. Perhaps your staff needs a leader – pick the candidate with more higher-level experience. Maybe every single employee has leadership skills. Your company probably won’t benefit from another employee with the same qualities – hiring someone with a different strength would enhance the staff more.

Looking for these gaps in your team can help you decide on the candidate that’ll be the best asset to the team.

About the Author: Amanda Wright is a content writer for Better Buys, helping companies to find the right b2b software solutions. She enjoys writing about the intersection of business and technology.

Simplify HR management today.

Simplify HR management today.

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