How to Choose Between Two Strong Candidates

Finding a promising candidate is challenging! Many in-demand skilled professionals are already hired. BUT…Imagine you are in that lucky situation that many would like to be in; you don’t have one great candidate for a role, you have two! It’s a fantastic problem to have … until you realise you literally can’t decide which person to hire. You’re paralysed by the thought of making the wrong choice. There are many elements to think about, recruitment can be expensive and you don’t want to regret your decision in a few months’ time. But the longer you wait to make your decision, the greater the risk of losing one or both candidates to another employer. In the current environment, there simply is no time to be indecisive about hiring. A recent survey by Robert Half shows that 57 percent of job seekers will lose interest in a job if an employer takes too long to extend an offer.


Read our top tips below if you have found yourself in the very lucky yet tricky situation of deciding between two fantastic candidates:

• Meeting again in a more relaxed setting – People change depending on the context in which they are in. For this reason, it could be a good idea to meet the potential employees in both a formal interview setting, then followed by a more relaxed setting such as a coffee shop. This way you will be able to get a better understanding for each individual and their personality would hopefully come through a bit more in the latter meeting.

• Contacting more references – Reach out to more reference contacts, don’t just contact the first two that you are provided, but dig a little further, speak to various previous employers and lecturers/teachers. Request for in depth information rather than a simple tick box form for example. A verbal reference will enable you to get a better idea on each candidate and their skills, personality and ideal fit within your company.

• Take a long-term view – Although you may be under a great deal of pressure to decide on a final candidate, you need to ensure you think of the bigger picture. Which candidate has a wider ‘all-rounder’ skill set, which candidate is eager to learn and which candidate is interested in growing alongside the company for a long-term period?

• Consider the current team – It can be easy to get carried away and distracted during the hiring process but be careful not to forget about your current hard-working employees. Take time to think about the sort of person who will not only get the job done well but will also fit in nicely with the team. Conflicts and personality clashes in the workplace need to be kept to a minimum, so ensuring the morale in the office is kept high is vital.

• Go with your gut feeling – Although ones ‘gut feeling’ is an obscure definition, sometimes it may be your only choice when deciding between candidates. Choosing the right candidate can be a daunting and tricky task but also an extremely important one since you could be spending more time with this person than you do with friends and family back home. Susie Ankrett, Regional Director for the Institute of Recruitment Professionals points out, “When all the ‘science’ of matching has been used, and there’s still a question mark, it has to be the ‘gut feel’, I believe that the essence of a really good recruiter is having emotional intelligence and the savvy to pick out the gems”.

Information sourced from TTP Recruitment, Robert Half and Total Jobs.