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A guide on how to decide between two candidates

A guide on how to decide between two candidates

In the world of recruitment, there often comes a point where you find yourself torn between two exceptional candidates.

It’s a testament to your company’s appeal that you have such top-tier choices. However, choosing between two strong potential employees can be a challenging decision.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the criteria to consider on how to decide between two candidates. We’ll also provide practical tips, discuss how to relay rejection respectfully, and even ponder the possibility of hiring both applicants.

Criteria to consider when choosing a candidate

Before we discuss strategies on how to decide between two candidates, let’s first identify the key factors to consider:

Skills and qualifications

If you’re faced with the question of how to decide between two candidates, focus on evaluating their skills and qualifications in detail.

Compare their resumes, experiences, and education relevant to the job. Consider who possesses the most relevant and robust skill set for the role.

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Cultural fit

Examine how well each applicant aligns with your company’s culture and values.

A candidate who resonates with your culture is more likely to adapt seamlessly and contribute positively to the workplace.

Cultural fit
Criteria to consider when choosing a candidate

Job performance

Review each past job performance and accomplishments when deciding how to decide between two candidates. Request specific examples of their achievements to gauge their potential for success in your organization.

Personality and soft skills

Assess their personalities and soft skills. Are they good communicators, team players, and problem solvers? These attributes are often as important as technical skills.

Future potential

Consider each applicant’s potential for growth within the company. Identify who is more likely to adapt to changing job requirements and take on greater responsibilities.

Interview performance

Reflect on their performance during interviews. Did one candidate stand out in confidence, enthusiasm, and ability to answer challenging questions?

One’s ability to listen, ask valuable questions, and express their thoughts coherently is a crucial factor to consider.

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Tips on how to decide between two candidates

When faced with the issue of how to decide between two candidates follow these practical strategies:

1. Prioritize must-have qualities

Identify the non-negotiable qualities required for the role. If one candidate possesses these qualities more strongly, they may be the better choice.

2. Use a scoring system

Assign scores to different criteria to objectively evaluate candidates. This helps remove bias and provides a clear overview of each applicant’s strengths and weaknesses.

3. Seek input

When stuck on how to decide between two candidates, other team members’ or stakeholders’ input can be very helpful. They may offer valuable perspectives and help you see aspects you might have missed.

4. Consider long-term fit

Think about the long-term fit of the candidate within the organization. Who has the potential to grow with the company and take on more significant roles?

5. Follow your gut

While data and criteria are essential, don’t underestimate your intuition. Sometimes, a candidate simply feels like the right fit, and that can be a powerful indicator.

6. Role-specific challenges

Present candidates with role-specific challenges or tasks and assess how they handle them. This practical approach can reveal their problem-solving and decision-making abilities.

Role-specific challenges
Tips on how to decide between two candidates

7. Conduct reference checks

Don’t forget that reference checks can provide valuable insights into one’s work experience. Verify the information provided by the candidates and obtain feedback from previous employers on their work performance.

What to say to the candidate who wasn’t chosen

It’s never easy to deliver the news to a candidate who wasn’t selected, but it’s an essential part of the process. 

Here’s how to do it respectfully:

  • Be timely. Inform the unselected candidate as soon as you’ve made the decision.
  • Be transparent. Provide honest feedback on why they weren’t chosen, focusing on qualifications and fit.
  • Express appreciation. Express gratitude for their interest and time spent in the interview process.
  • Offer to keep in touch. If appropriate, offer to keep their information for future opportunities.
  • Maintain professionalism. Keep the conversation professional and empathetic.

Can you hire both candidates?

Hiring both candidates is a rare but not impossible scenario. Consider the following factors:

  • Budget. Make sure your budget can accommodate two hires.
  • Roles. Ensure that the roles are distinct and necessary for your organization.
  • Workload. Assess whether your team can handle the additional workload.
  • Team dynamics. Consider how adding two new members will impact the team.
  • Fairness. Be transparent with both candidates about the decision to hire both of them.

Being faced with the challenge of how to decide between two candidates can be tricky. It can be a challenging but crucial aspect of recruitment or talent acquisition.

You can make a well-informed decision by systematically evaluating criteria and considering an applicant’s long-term fit.

When in doubt, you can use a scoring system, seek additional input, and always conduct reference checks to make the best decision for your company.

Remember to communicate respectfully with the candidate who wasn’t chosen. And if the circumstances align, explore the possibility of hiring both candidates to strengthen your team.

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