Choosing Between two Candidates

One Job, Two Candidates

Choosing between two candidates is actually a problem most employers would like to have. However, if you have only one position to be filled, consider the following tips to make the best choice.

Evaluate Your Requirements

When faced with a dilemma between two seemingly equal candidates, you need to recall what your exact requirements are for that position. Take into consideration both the immediate and long-term demands of the role.

Will one candidate be more suited in the short-term but falter during a demanding phase of business expansion? In another scenario, one candidate may demonstrate high team leadership qualities, but the role demands may be limited to working independently and following specific guidelines.

A careful evaluation of both technical and soft skills necessary to excel in the particular job role will help you understand each candidate’s suitability beyond a superficial level. You can then match those requirements against the individual skills of both candidates to determine who is better-suited to your specific business needs.

Fitting into Your Corporate Culture

When choosing between two candidates who are very similar, a differentiating factor may be how well they may fit into your corporate culture.

Few companies spend much time over assessing if a new employee will fit into and enhance their corporate culture. If a candidate has spent years in a very different corporate environment, it may be more difficult for them to adapt to your unique corporate culture.   

You may consider arranging an interaction between your key team members and the prospective hire to evaluate whether he or she will fit into your work environment.

Incorporate this interaction within your interview process or organize an informal meet-up after the initial stages of the selection process. Your team’s opinion on the compatibility of the candidate can be very useful and insightful.  

Assess their Commitment and Passion

In all likelihood, you would have met both the candidates one or more times as part of the selection process. Recalling those interactions, who among the two displayed greater commitment to the process?

Who was most inquisitive and involved? Whose questions were more astute? How soon did each person get back to you for a feedback? Who do you feel was more passionate about getting the job?

By seeking objective answers to these questions, you will be able to identify the candidate who displays greater commitment and passion, even if the overall difference between the two remains marginal.

Frame Appropriate Questions

Asking the right questions during interactions with the two candidates can guide you in the right direction at the time of final decision-making. Their responses to your questions can help you determine their ability to work under stress, their creative and problem solving skills, and their value systems.

Are they team-players? When there is pressure of a deadline or to meet a target, how do they cope in those scenarios? Get a clear understanding of how the individual will react to situations on the job and what has been their past record handling similar instances?

Ask the candidate to cite instances from the past when they had excelled on-the-job despite being confronted by a difficult or tricky problem. Encourage them to talk about situations they wished they had handled better.

Was there any particular instance that altered the course of their careers and redefined their approach to work? These questions will help you get a deeper insight into the personality of the candidates and their suitability for your business.

Use a Farsighted Approach

You may be filling the position to address an immediate need in your company, but keep the future also in sight. Going beyond the immediate needs of the job role, how is each candidate likely to grow in the company and assume more responsibilities?

For instance, does one candidate demonstrate greater initiative and leadership skills than the other candidate? Does one of the candidates possess a specific skill that could be useful in the long-term even if it appears unrelated for the current job role?

For instance, a candidate with a finance, military, or legal background may be more fitting in the long run for a senior management position.

Key Takeaway

The silver lining of your challenge when choosing between two solid candidates is that you are likely to end up with an outstanding candidate anyway.

Therefore, if you are somewhat confused after having compared their technical skills, cultural suitability, and other criteria, just follow your instinct and make a decision. Once the decision is communicated to the candidate, just sit back and relax because you have made the right choice.