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How to Choose Between Really Good Candidates

On some level, it’s a good problem to have when hiring: you’ve narrowed down your candidates for an open position to a few outstanding contenders. Both passed your thorough screening and reference checks with flying colors. Both boast the education, experience, and skills you require and dazzled you during the interview process. But both can’t join the team. So how do you choose the right one?

Don’t lose sleep or leave such an important decision to a coin toss. Here are a few tips that can help.

Review your requirements

Remember that written job description you came up with before you started the hiring process? Review that job description and reflect on what mattered before you met these candidates. Were any skills, strengths or characteristics brushed aside or overlooked during the interviewing process? When you look at that job description again with your final candidates in mind, you might realize that one of them most clearly fills the role you initially sought to fill.

Contemplate cultural fit

How will the candidates integrate into your existing team? Their ability to fit in with your current employees could be the difference between an employee who performs well and grows with the organization long-term and an employee who leaves as soon as a better opportunity presents itself.

Research has shown that employees who say they have a best friend at work “are seven times as likely to be engaged in their jobs, are better at engaging customers, produce higher quality work, have higher well-being, and are less likely to get injured on the job.” The right candidate is the one who matches your team dynamic and can build rapport quickly with your existing employees.

Look toward the future

All candidates may be perfectly suited to fulfill the job requirements right now. But one may have more potential to excel over time. Which candidate is better suited to the business’ long-range plans? Who exhibits more of an interest in professional development or has more leadership potential? Your immediate needs may be top of mind, but don’t forget to consider the future when choosing between two or more great candidates.

Consider connections

With more than one talented and experienced candidate to choose from, the deciding factor might come down to who they know. A vast network with connections to potential clients, customers and future employees has real value. Check out their LinkedIn profiles. Find out their degree of community involvement or if they have rousing referrals from a number of prominent people. Hiring based solely on connections is never a wise idea. However, when choosing between several excellent candidates, knowing whether one is uniquely positioned to help your business grow and succeed is always a good idea.

Work with a recruiter

Collaborate with your recruiter to gain a fresh perspective. Does what you’re offering line up with your candidates’ expectations? A recruiter can help you figure that out. After all the work you put into hiring, you don’t want your final pick to quit because they’re unhappy in the role. When that happens, chances are you’ve also lost out on the other candidates because another company will scoop them up in the meantime.

Remember, great candidates won’t stay on the market long. Don’t take too long identifying your number one pick, or you could end up losing them all to the competition. Use the tips above to consider what these candidates could bring to your organization now and in the future. Then you can rest easy knowing you’ve made the right choice.


Accounting Principals

We're Accounting Principals--a leader in finance and accounting staffing. In fact, since 2010, we've been part of Adecco Group, a Global 500 company and leader in staffing services around the world. But this isn't staffing as usual. We take quite a different approach than most staffing agencies. A people-focused approach. We believe in forming real relationships with both our clients and our candidates. We want to understand the needs on both sides.