Making the Choice Between Two Candidates

You’ve heard the expression “apples to apples.” It’s actually a recruiter’s worst enemy; when two candidates are neck-and-neck for a job and appear to be equally qualified for the role. It doesn’t happen very often but when it does, it creates a dilemma of sorts. What do you do?

Risks of Picking One Over Another

Imagine you have two candidates. Both interviewed well and have similar backgrounds and experience. In fact, both candidates are so well matched, the decision-making process for picking one leaves you a little stymied. How in the world will you decide between the two? Picking one candidate is always very risky.  But in this case, do you have to rely on intuition to pick? Or is there a more systematic approach?

In these instances, we often rely on soft data to make the determination. But there may be a more strategic approach that makes sense in the context of the job itself.

Instead of using your gut, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What will their skills look like on the ground, as opposed to on paper? The job description is one thing but being able to check the real requirements of the job with what actually happens day to day could make all the difference. Does one candidate have more of those “nice-to-have” job requirements even though they’re a doppelganger of the other applicant in standardized job requirements?
  • What does their future potential look like? Does the candidate bring skills you could apply to other areas of your business? Think beyond job requirements to maximize the selection process. Also, think about how their skills complement the team they’ll work with. Is one candidate stronger in an area that the team lacks?
  • What about soft skills? How will each candidate fit in with the team? How do they fit the organizational culture? You should already be assessing culture fit as part of any interview. What behavioral traits does the candidate have that demonstrate their cultural fit? If you have members of the department in the interview process, this is an important question to ask them because they exist within the daily culture.

Here’s a novel idea; could you hire both candidates? The answer depends on your bottom line, of course, but in a market where almost everyone that wants to work is working, it may make sense to go ahead and hire two candidates. Think about it; if your labor projections say you’ll hire an IT candidate in the next quarter, is there a way to snatch up both candidates to get ahead of the game?

As you’re trying to figure this out, the clock is ticking. Candidates today are often looking at several jobs because the market is so tight and job opportunities are rich, especially in technology. If you delay too long, the chances of you losing one or both candidates are high.

These scenarios are cut perfectly for partnering with a recruiting firm. Staffing companies like Blackstone provide the extra set of eyes, ears and instincts you may need to help in these situations. It’s an important extra layer in the hiring process to help ensure you get the right fit even when you’re desperate to make that hire. Call now. We can help.

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