You’ve been through the rounds of interviews, narrowed down your selection, and are finally left with two amazing candidates. You’ve weighed team impressions and reviewed all of the assessments, but the two people seem equally perfect for the job. Who do you choose?
Of all the hiring problems out there, being stuck between two top candidates is the best one imaginable. The problem that often comes with having two great candidates for a role, however, is indecisiveness. Managers end up taking too long oscillating between candidates that they miss out on one, if not both, people. Top candidates are in high-demand and likely receiving other offers, so don’t hesitate. No matter which candidate you choose, there’s no guarantee it will work out exactly as planned, so it’s better to be decisive and extend an offer as soon as possible.
If you’re really stuck between two great candidates, however, below are five top strategies you can use to help you make a quick decision.
The interview process can take months to complete. During this time, priorities shift and perhaps what you’re looking for in a candidate has changed too. Nevertheless, reviewing the original job posting will remind you of the original goals and requirements for the position. As you look over the job positing consider each candidates’ skillsets and experience. By the time you’re done reviewing the role, you may realize one candidate is actually a better fit than the other.
Culture fit is hard to identify during an interview when candidates are on their best behavior. This is why you should examine the companies the two candidates have worked for in the past. Compare the company cultures at the previous locations to your company culture. If a candidate has worked for mainly small- and mid-sized companies then they may be more comfortable with a slower, more intimate work culture rather than a fast-paced culture you’d find at a Fortune 500 company.
The hiring process is a two-way street. You don’t want to be the only one interested in the partnership. You also want the candidate to be excited about joining the team. Candidates who are really interested in the company and the role are much more likely to succeed in the position and stick around for a longer period of time. Reflect on the candidates’ enthusiasm during the interview process and consider what questions each person asked. Also check to see if each candidate followed up after the interview. Interest markers like this are an excellent way to gauge how enthusiastic each candidate is about the role.
Most of the time, going with your gut is not advisable during the hiring process. However, if you’ve gone over every other aspect of job fit such as experience, background, and skill set and still can’t choose between the two candidates, then it’s OK to go with your gut. Both candidates have already been thoroughly vetted so go ahead and select the one that simply feels like the right choice.
If both candidates are a perfect fit for the position as-is then look ahead to the future of the company. Consider the company’s trajectory and determine whether one candidate is better suited to support the company’s growth. For example, one candidate may have experience growing and developing a team during a time of rapid expansion. If you anticipate a similar move in your company’s future, then hire the candidate with that experience.
Remember, you’d be happy to have either candidate on your team so don’t get stuck between the two. If you can swing it, you may even want to consider bringing both candidates into the business. Having two top candidates on the team could strengthen the company and help the department grow. Of course, only hire both if you have the room.
If not, then buckle down and use the strategies above to help you decide between the two choices. Offer the role to one of the candidates and use this opportunity to develop a bridge with the other candidate. Clearly express how impressed you were with their skills and how interested you are to have them work for you in the future. Then keep their information on file and maintain the relationship until another position opens up. When a role does become available, you’ll already have a solid candidate in your pipeline ready to go.