How to Decide Between Two Great Candidates?

How to Decide Between Two Great Candidates?

How to Decide Between Two Great Candidates?

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Recruiters are often faced with the dilemma of choosing between two great candidates. According to a survey from SHRM, the average expense of hiring one person is around $4,700. Therefore, the hiring decision needs to be made with careful consideration. So you’re done with meeting potential applicants, screening them, and finally interviewing them through virtual interview software, you‘re left with the final two highly qualified candidates who both are equally deserving of the job role. Now what? What would you do now? In this post, we’ll talk about certain factors that can help you choose the best candidate for the job and why you should avoid choosing both.

Factors to Consider When Deciding Between Two Great Candidates

As you narrow down your options to two exceptional candidates, the decision gets harder. You must consider various factors such as their experience and evaluate how well they align with the company culture and potential for growth within the organization. Here are some factors to keep in mind when deciding between the two such candidates:

Company Values and Culture Fit

Share some practical scenarios that match the company’s values and culture and ask both candidates how they’d handle such situations while syncing with the principles. If applicable, ask them to share examples from their previous work experiences that align with the company values. Have a word with them about how their experience reflects these aspects. 

Ask questions that revolve around some core values. For instance, if ‘collaboration’ is a key value you’re looking for, ask how many times they’ve successfully worked with teams. Additionally, list down a few company values and let candidates rank them according to what they consider important. Discuss why they chose their rankings and how it relates to their own beliefs.

Use behavioral interviews and situational judgment tests to assess alignment with your company. These strategies ensure that selected candidates possess both skills and the ability to enrich the company’s ethos and culture.

Hire with a Future-Oriented Outlook

Provide them with a challenge that goes beyond their expertise and skills and ask them how they’d solve it. This reflects if they can quickly learn new things and adapt to them, which is one of the most important factors in the fast-growing business world. Talk about their vision for their role and the company in 5 to 10 years. Ask how they will deal with unexpected industry challenges to understand if they are forward-thinking. 

Ask if they’ve made existing processes work better, how they did it, and what was the outcome like. It can show if they’re good at coming up with ideas and taking action. See how comfortable they are with using new tools and technology. Talk about if they know about new tech in the industry and how they’ll use it to stay competitive. Also, discuss what they want to do in the company, like if they want to lead or work in different parts of the company.

Get a Second Opinion

If you’re still undecided, consider contacting experienced team members who are familiar with the role that you’re hiring for. Share candidate information such as their resumes, and interview notes, as well as the responsibilities and challenges associated with the job position.

Get feedback from them and identify common and consistent points raised by both, especially in areas where one candidate outperforms the other. Use the input of your advisors, your assessments, and your judgment to decide on the best candidate.

Values and Motivation

Find out if the applicants’ ethics match with organizational ethical standards. Consider qualities like honesty, integrity, and commitment to make the right decision.  

Also, assess their perspective regarding diversity and inclusivity. A candidate who exemplifies diversity and practices inclusivity is inclined to contribute positively to a varied team and a harmonious work environment. Evaluate whether the candidate places importance on customer satisfaction and comprehends the significance of delivering value, particularly for positions involving customer engagement.

Grasp the genuine driving force behind the candidate’s interest.  Is it the job itself, the industry passion, or the desire for positive change? Those with natural motivation tend to be more dedicated. A candidate who displays enthusiasm for the primary responsibilities and potential challenges is more likely to thrive. Establish a scoring mechanism for these values and motivations to attract great candidates. Assign scores based on their responses and behaviors during the interview process. Sum up the scores for each candidate to compare how well their values and motivations resonate with those of the company. This approach assists in making an equitable decision, selecting the candidate whose values and motivations best align with both the role and the company.

Trust Your Instincts

Trusting your instincts means going with your “gut feeling” or inner sense when you need to make a choice. It’s like listening to that little voice inside you. Imagine you’re stuck between two great candidates, and all the facts seem the same. Trusting your instincts means choosing the one that just feels right to you, even if you can’t explain why. It’s like following your hunch to make the best choice.

Sometimes, your inner voice knows things that your thinking brain might miss. After you’ve gathered all the facts about the candidates, take a moment to sit quietly. Think about how you feel about each candidate. Did you feel good when you met them? Did something about them make you smile inside? Or did you’ve any strange feelings that you can’t quite explain? These feelings are important clues.

Also, picture working with each candidate. Do you imagine things going well? Does it feel like they’d fit in with the team? Or do you feel unsure about how things will go? Your feelings can help you choose the candidate who might be the best match for what you need.

Hypothetical Projects

Create a pretend task that closely mimics the real job’s challenges, so you can see how well candidates might perform. Give them a reasonable time limit to finish it, testing their ability to work well when time is tight but not putting them at an unfair disadvantage, leading to a great candidate experience. Work in some ethical dilemmas or considerations into the task to see how candidates handle tough decisions, judge right from wrong, and manage tricky situations.

Make sure there’s a part where candidates have to explain their plan, solutions, and reasoning. This checks their ability to talk about complex ideas, how confident they are, and how well they can get their points across. If teamwork matters for the job, design the task so candidates have to work together. This helps you see how good they are at working with others and how well they can be part of a team. Utilize digital job simulation platforms like Forage and Deeplo AI to efficiently assess candidates before hiring, minimizing the need for extensive manual efforts. By mimicking real job tasks and situations in your assessments, you can easily identify the best candidates for your roles.

Why Not Choose Both Candidates?

While it might seem like a good idea to have two great candidates competing for one job, there are good reasons why choosing just one candidate could be a smarter move. Here are four important things to consider:

Additional Reading: How to Support Remote Employees Transition Back to the Office

Using Resources Wisely

It’s important to spend money wisely. Hiring two people for one job can cost a lot in terms of salary, benefits, training, and office space. Picking one candidate is a better way to use resources, so you can invest in other important parts of the company.

Clearer Job and Better Work

When there’s just one person in a job, it’s clear who’s responsible for what. But if you’ve two people, it can be confusing to know who should do certain tasks and make decisions. This can slow things down and even cause problems in the team.

Teamwork and Getting Along

Teams work best when everyone gets along and works well together. When you put two people with different ways of working and personalities into one job, it can mess up the teamwork. This might make it hard for the team to do a good job.


When confronted with the task of choosing between two great candidates, it’s essential to adopt a thorough strategy that takes into account various factors such as company values, prospective development, drive, intuition, and practical evaluations. Although the desire to select both might be present, it’s vital to give precedence to efficient resource utilization, well-defined roles, team synergy, and sustained suitability while arriving at the ultimate choice. Rely on your instincts and opt for the candidate whose resonance with the position and the company is most pronounced, as this choice holds the capacity to steer your team toward triumph and make a substantial contribution to the organization’s advancement.

Additional Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Candidate Engagement in the Hiring Process