Flip A Coin? How To Decide Between Two Equally Qualified Candidates

The hiring process starts with a stack of applications that you have to start cutting down. In the initial stages, it’s easy. You get rid of anybody that doesn’t have relevant experience or the right qualifications or anybody that made careless mistakes like spelling errors. Hopefully, you’ve put a big dent in it and now you can start looking at things like extra qualifications and experience, hobbies, and other achievements. Once you’ve got your shortlist of candidates, it’s time to start interviewing. If you’re lucky, there will be one candidate that stands out above the rest and your decision will be easy. If you’re unlucky, you’ll have two equally qualified candidates that you just can’t decide between. When you’re stuck in that position, there are a few questions that can help you to decide.

image: ryanmorrison

Do They Come Recommended?

A personal recommendation from another company or a recruitment agency goes a long way if you’re stuck between two candidates. That’s why it’s a good idea to use a company like Extra Personnel Recruitment Agency to send you applicants when you’ve got a position open. You can already be sure that they’re reliable and hardworking candidates because the recruitment company can vouch for them. References are important as well, especially if you know their old boss. On a written reference, some of the candidate’s shortcomings might be left out but if you call up their old boss and ask for an honest picture of the employee and how they work, you can get a much better idea of whether they’re right for your company.

Would They Get On With Their Coworkers?

Obviously, a person qualifications and experience for a given job should come first, but if you’ve got two equally qualified people, you can separate them based on which would fit in with the company better. It’s important that employees have a good working relationship if they’re going to be efficient so if you’ve got one candidate that you don’t think has that much in common with the rest of their staff, it might be best to go another way. They don’t need to be best friends with everybody but somebody who you think might clash with other staff members is worth avoiding.

Why Do They Want To Work For You?

Most interviewers ask this question because it’s an important one. If you’ve got one applicant that wants to join your company because the salary is better and they hate their old job, they’re not going to be that enthusiastic about the company. But if you’ve got an applicant that is excited about your company and what it does, they’re far more likely to be a motivated employee that puts a lot of effort into improving and advancing the company, rather than just coming in, doing their work and leaving. It’s this passion that drives successful businesses so it should always be a priority when trying to decide between two candidates.

How Often Do They Change Jobs?

When you hire an employee, you’re making an investment in that person. You have to spend time and money training them and if they leave after a few months, that leaves you in exactly the same position as you are now. That’s why it’s a good idea to look at how many different jobs they’ve had recently, if it’s a lot, that’s an indication that they’ll quickly become bored and move to another position if it comes up. You want to hire somebody that is loyal and will stay with the company for years to come. However, you shouldn’t just write off somebody straight away if they’ve jumped around a lot, you should ask them why. It might be that none of the previous jobs challenged them enough, in which case, you can keep them there by stretching them and offering them new projects. But if they’ve been moving a lot for higher salaries, or because they had clashes with bosses, that’s a warning sign and you should steer clear.

How Do They Work Best?

Even if they’re equally qualified, it doesn’t mean they’re going to be equally as effective in your company. Every business has its own way of working and they’re all different. You need to ask the applicants how they work best and see whether this fits into your business practices. For example, if you use a lot of group spaces and collaborative projects and have a fairly fluid office, you don’t want to hire somebody who works best alone, sat in a cubicle. Equally, if your employees are fairly independent in their work, you don’t want to hire somebody that needs to bounce ideas of other people and pool skills to get things done. Ask a little about how things used to be done at their old job and whether they liked it that way or not, then you can get an idea of whether they would adapt well to the new work environment if you hired them.

Are They Adaptable?

image: geralt

When you’re making big changes to your company, it’s sometimes necessary to shift employees around a bit and have them take on different roles. While both candidates might be equally qualified for the position that you’re offering right now, you should be looking for the one that is most adaptable. If you look at the skills and experience they have outside of the proposed position, you might be able to separate the two. For example, if you’re offering a sales job but one candidate has some good marketing experience as well, they’re adaptable in future. If you lose somebody from marketing and you need somebody to pick up the extra work, they can fill in. If you hire an employee that has a fairly narrow set of skills, you’ll struggle to know what to do with them if you restructure the company and start moving people around.

Choosing between two equally qualified candidates is always hard but by asking these questions, you can work out which will bring more value to the company.

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