In most cases, a lot of time, energy, and resources go into finding the right candidate for a role. But there are rare occasions when you actually wind up with two equally-qualified candidates — individuals who appear to both possess the skills, experience and knowledge to do a great job.
So how do you choose between two strong candidates? Here are five tips.
- Assess which candidate is stronger in regard to the must-have-skills. No two candidates are exactly alike, so there are likely to be differences — no matter how small — in their abilities. What matters is how the candidates stack up in terms of the most important skills for the role. Perhaps one person has a year’s more experience working with a specific technology, or maybe the other has held more leadership positions.
- Evaluate any extras that the candidates bring. Especially when it comes to executive candidates, it’s important to look at any additional value they can offer the company besides their existing qualifications. Is one of them a well-known leader in their field? Does the other have specific leadership or mentoring skills that can benefit their executive team?
- Assess the candidates’ cultural fit. A good hire depends on the candidate being a good cultural fit. Think about which candidate is most likely to share your organization’s values and blend into the current culture. If this is challenging, it can be helpful to get some input from the teams who will be working with the candidate. You can organize informal lunch meetings so employees can socialize with both candidates and provide some feedback.
- Consider the candidates’ potential long-term value. Even though you’re looking to fill the role right now, you need to take each candidate’s potential long-term value for your organization into account. Which of the two has expressed more interest in a stable position? Has either one mentioned anything about growth opportunities that you might not be able to offer? Which person is likely to add the most value in terms of achieving cost-savings, generating revenue, creating IP, establishing partnerships and/or helping the company expand?
- Ask the candidates why they want the position. Besides gaining more insights into their motivation for applying for the role, this will also give you the opportunity to gauge their level of enthusiasm for it — and a candidate who’s clearly excited about the opportunity is more likely to be a fitting choice.
At the end of the day, if you have two candidates with the same credentials, you can’t go wrong. But by keeping these five tips in mind, you stand a good chance of selecting the individual who will bring that extra something to the role and contribute more to your organization in the long term.
This piece was written by Bryan Kirby, VP and Executive Recruiter with Kirby Partners Healthcare and Cybersecurity Executive Search.