How to Choose Between Two Strong Candidates

Having multiple strong candidates for a position may seem like a dream, but it can also create a new challenge. When there are two ideal candidates, how do you decide between them? Often it’s going to come down to one or two characteristics that really make one candidate shine over the other. That means you’re going to have to go a little deeper than you usually do during your hiring process.

What Makes Each Candidate “Perfect”?

Two candidates can look ideal for a position on paper in terms of experience and education, but may not necessarily be on equal footing. Now is the time to examine what you really need and what you’re looking for. You may find one employee perfect because they have a high-level degree, but is that degree really necessary for that position? If not, you might want to go back to the basics and look at the qualifications each employee has that truly matter.

Which Candidate Fits Your Company Culture?

Many times, employees don’t just stay at jobs because they enjoy their work. They stay because they enjoy their coworkers. Which of the potential employees you’re looking at are going to fit into your business? Which of them can you see getting along with existing employees and being able to communicate effectively? They don’t have to become best friends (and, in fact, sometimes that’s not ideal), but they do need to be able to work well together.

Now, be careful. There’s one challenge to this test: if your company culture has become fairly insular and homogenous, choosing the right “culture fit” can actually lead to discrimination. So ask yourself why you think they would or won’t fit, as well. If the employee is “too outspoken” to get along with others, that is a valid issue. But if they’re going to be perceived as “too outspoken for a woman,” you may need to examine some issues within your company first.

Which Candidate Is Most Likely to Stay?

Though you may need an employee right now, your goal should really be to hire an employee that will stay as long as possible. That often has to do with their career goals. Will their growth at the company align with what they say they want for themselves? If so, they will have little reason to leave as long as they keep growing with the business. Talk with each candidate to gauge their enthusiasm about their position and whether they’re interested in furthering their education.

Which Candidate Has the Better References?

Finally, there’s no shame in asking for help. At this point, you may want to thoroughly check references. Some employers don’t call all references, they just call enough to get them a good picture of whether the employee is reliable. Calling all references can help give you a better idea of the employee’s work history. However, don’t forget to ask the employee directly about any issues that arise; there are always spiteful former employers as well.

When trying to find the right employee, it often comes down to a holistic approach. It isn’t just about qualifications on paper or what you put into your job listing; it’s also about finding the employee that is the right fit for your company culture. At Software Specialists, we make staffing easy through our comprehensive and tested staffing processes. If you want high performance employees who will last, contact the Software Specialists today.

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