How to Decide Between Two Qualified Candidates

With recent talent shortages, having two qualified candidates sounds like a dream come true. This is a good problem, but now you need to choose.

Let’s assume both applicants interviewed well, and they both have similar technical skills and experience. How did you pick the better employee?

Try an Experiential Interview

Unfortunately, resumes and traditional interviews can be misleading. As recruiting expert Scott Wintrip writes, “… we’re often disappointed when the person we interviewed is not the one who shows up on Monday morning.” For more accurate hiring, Wintrip recommends designing experiential or hands-on interviews. (SHRM, 2018) Depending on the position, this may involve role-playing or producing sample work. Ideally, the candidate should interact with future co-workers. This tactic provides a unique opportunity for you to evaluate your potential employee in action not just in theory. Even though two applicants look similar on paper, you may be surprised to discover one outdoes the other when given a real-life test. And, experiential interviews can increase diversity by reducing bias. It’s more difficult to unconsciously judge individuals on external factors, such as age, gender, race and likeability, when you are focusing on their actual performance.    

Identify the More Enthusiastic Candidate

If you still need a tiebreaker, search for the person who seems the most eager to join your team. Did one applicant research your company more thoroughly, send thank you notes faster and/or make genuine connections with colleagues? Does the other seem hesitant to commit and/or nitpicky about compensation? Sometimes you do need to convince a person to take a job, but someone who is excited from the start may prove to be more dedicated down the road.

Hire Both

This option might not be feasible for every organization. However, if the funding is available at least consider the possibility. A study published in Personnel Psychology, revealed “the top 5 percent of the workforce at the researched firms produced 26 percent of the firm’s total output.” (ERE, 2013) In other words, not hiring a great employee could end up costing you money, especially if that candidate goes to one of your competitors. If you are in a situation where you only can hire one person, be sure to add the other to your talent pipeline. Cultivate a long-term relationship with this individual through networking, social media and email. In case of another opening at your company, make sure you know how to get in touch.     

Regardless of your final decision, act quickly. According to Silicon Valley HR thought-leader, Dr. John Sullivan, the best candidates are gone within ten days and sometimes even sooner. (ERE, 2016) You don’t want to lose two potentially amazing employees while you are debating which one to hire.

Is Your Manufacturing Organization Looking for Top Talent?

At Connectology, our thorough recruiting process delivers the top 20% of candidates who can make an immediate impact on your business. We don’t simply make placements; we have a passion for perfection. Let us help you find your next star performer today!