Catch 22: How to Choose Between Two Equally Strong Candidates?

Catch 22: How to Choose Between Two Equally Strong Candidates?

The millennial term F.O.M.O will probably be the precise state of mind of even a seasoned HR professional, looking at two equally strong candidates, but only one position to fill.

The ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ on any of the two deserving potential employees, who are neck to neck in every aspect related to the particular position you want to close, can be a tough call. Good talent is hard to come by anyway, and it rarely happens that you hit the hiring jackpot, by having two solid people right in front of you.

But when it does, you have to move quickly. Not being quick can result in you losing any of them to the other employer, which you really don’t want to. So what do you do when you are standing at the hiring crossroads and desperate to make the right choice? Here’s an idea!

How to Choose Between Two Equally Strong Candidates?

Choose Between 2 Equally Strong Candidates

If you are stuck between two great candidates, here are some of the steps you could follow…

1. Think About The Future…

The particular position you are looking to fill will have certain qualities that the candidate should possess. But what about the qualities that go beyond this particular role, qualities that the particular candidate has and which can prove to be really fruitful for the overall business in the long run?

Examine each candidate’s potential to grow at your firm, if they can add value in ways that will be more profitable for the business than letting them go. Look to the future and analyse if the skills each candidate possesses interlink with the business’s long-term plans. Assess which candidate displays a wider range of useful technical skills, an interest in learning and development or good leadership potential.

2. Evaluate Passion And Interest:

There is a reason why engaged employees do well at work – mainly because they believe in the work they are doing and see the value that is contributed to the organisation via their work.

Use this strategy to assess both the strong candidates too. Which candidate seemed more eager to work for the job? Who asked relevant questions, sensible questions pertaining to the job? How quickly did each person follow up with you after the interview?

Basically, rely on your gut feeling and figure out who seemed more engaged with the whole process.

Most of the times, you will be able to point out the person that you want to hire based on how passionate or interested he was in the job, even if there’s only a slight difference between the two!

3. See Who’s A Better Cultural Fit:

You are done with the interview sessions for both the candidates and it’s time to figure out who gets the offer. Most HR professionals match the skills and past experience of the potential candidate with the role and pick out the most relevant candidate. What do you do when they both have the exact same skills and equally similar work experience?

You place your bets on the candidates’ ability to mingle with the rest of the employees and fit into the corporate culture!

This is one really important factor, which sadly gets neglected in the hurry to fill positions or shortage of good talent. Before even extending an offer to any of the strong candidates, introduce them to the team, maybe a quick formal meet and greet session!

Get other’s opinions about these candidates and who is more likely to gel well with the rest of the team. Workplace culture is all about how well people get along with each other and how they place themselves to the set processes already in momentum. You’d be surprised by how valuable workplace culture will prove to be as a factor in making hiring decisions.

4. Last Resort:

Choose Between 2 Equally Strong Candidates (2)

If you still have no headway into deciding who you would want to let go, well, don’t let any of them go! As mentioned earlier, good talent is hard to come by and all you really need is a bunch of really good people taking your business forward. After all, a business can never have too many of the good folks!

Plus, the talent market is a tricky one, you may spend weeks looking for that perfect hire, and when you have two of the too good to let go hires, the wise thing to do is to hire them both.

Of course, the above needs to be done after a good check on the budget available and the structure and needs of your team. Ensure the decision is a sustainable one. You don’t want to hire them both and let one of them dangling in the air, sitting around with no work. There definitely needs to be enough work to keep both of them engaged.

Think of the projects that were long pending because your existing team was too busy looking after more pressing, recent projects. Could one of the new hires take an initiative at these? Could they help reduce the workload of the team, one day at a time?

If you have the means to all of the above, go ahead and hire both the strong candidates and bless your luck for having two really good new hires onboard!

If, however, you decide to let one of them go, keep in touch with the candidate you don’t hire. Connect with them on LinkedIn and share news and updates about the company, ask them about their career and progress occasionally. So when there is a need at your organisation the next time, you know who to contact first!


1 Comment

  1. Cultural fit is not a great way to make a decision. First, people tend to ‘gel’ with people like themselves. This means that you will miss the opportunity to hire diverse candidates and to get new points of view onto the team.

    Unless the person is an incredible jerk, look beyond “fit”. Look for candidates who are creative, who are willing to engage in dialog, who have the ability to present new ideas and to build buy-in for them. It can be to your benefit to deliberately hire someone who isn’t a ‘cultural fit’ — having the team adjust to the new hire as well as the new hire adjusts to the team can build a resilient, adaptable culture – one where ‘fit’ doesn’t need to be a criterion.

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