After sorting through countless resumes, interviewing dozens of hopefuls and choosing the best person for the role, it can come as a surprise to discover that you have two candidates who would be perfect for the job. Now it’s time to ask yourself some tough questions. Your answers will give you more clarity regarding the skills of the candidate, their fit with your organization, and any administrative issues that might make the decision for you.
Determine What You Really Need
The candidates’ most important characteristics are their fit for the role they will need to perform. As the hiring manager, you’ve probably already considered each candidate’s skill overlap with the job description. And since they’re both in the final round, they probably both have a good number of those skills.
So you need to go deeper than just seeing how many boxes they check off by weighing the importance of the skills. Maybe one candidate has six out of seven of the qualifications needed for the role, and the other has four out of seven, but has years of experience. You might decide that the candidate with experience is better suited to the job than the one who actually has more of the required skills.
Ask yourself: What is the no.1 thing I need most from this hire?
You might be in need of an employee who is prepared to hit the ground running, or you might need a highly organized and analytical team player who compliments the skills of your existing team members.
You should also look at the candidates’ skills as an indicator of their future potential. Ultimately, you want your new employee to operate independently and be able to advance to the next stage in their career. The more capable your new employee is, the more you will be able to leverage your own time. Try thinking about who could really grow in the organization and who has something different to offer.
Do the Beer Test
Organizational fit is no small concern. A good percentage of candidates don’t make interviewing cuts simply because it seems unlikely that they would fit with the company culture. Do you need to consider what it would really be like having this person in your office environment every day? How would they influence your team? Has one candidate more than the other successfully spent time in workplaces such as yours? Has the other candidate chosen companies with dissimilar cultures intentionally or have they just not had the opportunity to work in similar companies?
Moreover, which of the two would you rather have a beer with after work? There’s no way you can know everything about how a candidate will interact on a daily basis, but you can usually get a pretty good sense based on your gut reaction to whether you’d want to spend time with them. Some companies even have what they call “social interviews” where they take candidates out for happy hour with some of the team to let them socialize. It can be a good way to differentiate between two candidates.
Hiring is a Two-Way Street
Remember, it is still your candidate’s choice is they want to join your company. If they’ve made it this far in the application process, they’re probably both excited about the job, but a lot more goes into play when considering an offer. You need to think about what it takes to attract this candidate.
Can you meet the compensation demands for the new employee, remembering that experience often requires a higher pay bracket? You need to consider what perks you can offer, what conditions and hours the candidates are expected to work under and how these differ from other similar opportunities.
Either way, when you have two candidates that meet or even exceed your expectations, you are going to end up with an employee who satisfies your criteria.