How to Choose Between Two Equally Qualified Candidates

Imagine finding yourself in that lucky situation where you have two equally ideal candidates for an important position in your organization.

As great as this may sound, often having two great options makes the selection process harder. There will suddenly be more factors to consider, the recruitment process can be drawn out and you don’t want to regret your choice after a few months. As a candidate in this situation, you need to shine. In order to compete seriously, you need a stand-out resume.

In our post this month we will be sharing some of our own top tips on how to make the best decision.


You will learn a lot about your candidate’s skillset and work experience from your initial interview, but if you’d like to look deeper into the personality fit of either candidate, you may consider using a psychometric assessment. This type of test includes verbal reasoning, situational judgements and numerical reasoning to provide a complete profile of how a person will react under certain circumstances.

Before you begin the test, you should have a very clear idea of what standards of performance you’re looking for in your ideal candidate. Would you want someone who can think on their feet or would you rather hire someone who stops for counsel and advice before making important decisions? Are you looking for someone who will be working from home, and knows how to pace themselves well and make deadlines or someone who functions better in a crowded office? Knowing exactly what you’re after will get you better results.

Meeting in a relaxed setting

If your review process has so far been a formal juncture or included panel interviews, you may want to interview each candidate in a less formal setting, like a visit to the office on a particular morning to see how well they integrate into the work function. This could give you some clues into each candidate’s compatibility.

You will also get a better idea of your candidates’ personality in a relaxed work environment. A formal job interview can make subtle personality traits hard to decipher, but when things are more relaxed, you’ll see the signs of what’s right and what’s not; hopefully leading you to an affirmative decision.

Take references

Of course, you don’t want to contact your candidate’s current employer, but you can call up some of the previous employers from before. This will give you an idea of what your candidates cultural fit will be and maybe one will seem more appropriate than the other.

Look at the future of your team

Ideally, the candidate you choose will be good for the long term and therefore you will need to think of their long-term compatibility. For example, you may be operating a small organization today, but have plans to grow dramatically within the next few years. So, you may consider choosing a candidate with excellent skills in working with a larger company.

If you have plans to expand your operations internationally, you may want to consider a candidate who has proper language skills.

You should also note that just because a candidate lacks experience in a specific situation, doesn’t mean that they have no skills there. If you have some specific future plans in mind and want to see how these candidates would respond to the needs of the situation, you may consider formulating some scenario-based questions to check their capacity to cope.

Another point to consider is if your team has any other skill gaps that one of these candidates is more capable to fill in than the other. For example, what if you have a need for social media management before you can actually recruit for this role, this could be a spot that one of your candidates may fill in the short-term.

Ask them directly why you should choose them

You may find that one of the candidates has a greater desire to work for your organization than the other, and motivation can be a powerful asset. Ask each candidate why they make the best choice for the position in question. This will give you a good indication of their reasons for wanting this role.


Make sure you have asked for your candidates’ thoughts on the salary package, position itself and any other particulars that will affect their life in your organization. You may find out that one candidate will accept the deals as they are, while another wants to be paid more than you can feasibly offer.

Be sure you keep both candidates well informed of the decision process as it continues, or you may lose them both, especially if the decision is taking a while to formulate. Then, make sure you provide feedback for the candidate you did not hire.

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