Recruitment: How to decide between two candidates?

How to decide between two candidates?
Photo : ra2studio / Shutterstock

You’ve selected the best CV’s and met with the strongest candidates for interviews. All that’s left to do now is choose the best person for the job! But you find yourself hesitating, because two of the candidates seem equally suited to the position. How should you settle on a final choice?

Both candidates have what you are looking for: training and education, work experience, a positive attitude… Not to mention that each possess qualities that make them ideal for the job. At this point, it’s time to make a choice.

Here are five tips to help you take action if you ever find yourself in this situation!

1. Schedule a new face-to-face meeting

It’s always a good idea to meet with the two desired candidates for final interviews. Take the time to confirm information obtained during the first interview and float hypothetical situations that could happen on the job, in order to judge the reaction of each candidate.

It’s a good time to discuss what the requirements of the job are, what the working environment will be like and what kind of mentoring or training can be expected by the successful candidate. Be attentive to the questions and concerns of the candidates; surely one of the two will show themselves to be the ideal match this time around.

2. Investigate deeper

To help you choose between two qualified candidates, use technical tests to evaluate their knowledge and abilities and consider using personality tests to get a clearer picture of who the candidates are. You can also begin verifying employer references at this point.

3. Get your colleagues’ opinions

Don’t hesitate to ask your closest colleagues for their opinions about the candidates. Even if they weren’t present during the interview, your co-workers know you well enough to know what kind of people you get along with, and can provide insight into which candidate would be the best fit for the position.

Talk to them about both of the candidates and explain what you appreciate about each, and then watch their reactions. They will likely reveal which person they think is the best choice for the job through their responses. Afterwards, keep their opinions in mind when making your decision!

4. Imagine publishing a notice of nomination

If you had to publish a notice of nomination in the news, which candidate announcement would have the greater impact? Pretend that the readers are your clients, your employees, your bosses, your suppliers, your competitors…

Since both of your finalists seem to be a good fit for the job, allow yourself to be influenced by the impressions of others. Imagine what your colleagues’ reactions would be to the nomination of each candidate!

5. Choose both

If you had the option to hire both candidates for identical positions, would you be thrilled?

Imagine a scenario in which you could hire them both. However, their starting dates would not be the same: One of them would start right away, while the other wouldn’t begin working for a few months… which risks that the person may accept another job elsewhere – possibly with a competitor.

In this scenario, which of the two candidates would you hire first? Who would you consider to be the priority?

The next time you are hesitant to choose between two candidates, take action! Do a second round of interviews, have the candidates take some tests and solicit input from your co-workers. Write up a fictional notice of appointment, or imagine hiring both candidates at different times. Use the above tips to determine your true preference and then make your choice.

Isabelle Bédard, MBA, CRHA, Adm.A et C.M.C., is President and Director General of CIB Développement organisationnel. Since 1988, CIB has helped managers and directors develop effective team management strategies by providing recruitment services and human resources management training.