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How to choose between candidates

Two excellent candidates - but only one vacancy? Find out the key factors to use in your decision to decide who you should hire

Sometimes during the recruitment process you may come across two candidates who ticks all the right boxes, but you may only have one position to fill. Trying to choose between candidates who have both impressed at the interview stage, and appear suitable on paper, can be difficult. So what exactly should you be looking for when choosing between two candidates?

Experience

While it may appear obvious that a candidate with more experience is more employable, sometimes two applicants will have similar levels. It is worth considering which candidate will provide more in the specific scenario of your company. One candidate may be more suited to the actual demands of the role (remember - desirable doesn't necessarily mean necessary); another may have experience in areas you may look to expand into in the future. Yet, don't write off the value of bringing in someone from an outside industry for a fresh perspective.

Also ask yourself if you'd prefer a safe pair of hands – someone that can do the job already, but who may potentially get bored of it quickly; or someone who maybe has a bit less experience, but is ready for the next step up into this role.

Who wants it more?

Following on from this, how much the candidate wants the job is an important factor. It is important to determine whether they simply need a job or if the position you are potentially offering them is their ideal role.

Someone who wants to work in your field, and for you specifically, could bring you a lasting tenure, whereas somebody looking for a stopgap position is more likely to move on when something more suitable presents itself.

Chemistry

It is not only a potential candidate's skill set that should be taken into account during selection, but also their softer skills. A new employee with strong interpersonal skills who easily gels with you and your team will be able to start working to the best of their abilities and operating successfully within the team more quickly than others.

A candidate should be gauged on their cultural fit to the company and their fit with those they will be working with and for. Moreover, someone who is predisposed to work as an individual may not be as effective in a team that tends to work closely together. Remember – you're probably going to have to get on with them every day, so liking them is also important.

Connections

If choosing between two potential candidates is still proving difficult, it can be useful to look at what else they bring to the table. A candidate with a strong client base or background with already established relationships and connections that will bolster your company could help to secure contracts that you otherwise may not have won.

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