The hiring process can be a lengthy one, and if you’re left with two candidates at the end of what feels like a long race, that’s not the worst position to be in. You know that both are, in many ways, a perfect fit for your company, and it’s always tempting to make a choice based on who will cost you less, or who – if the role is currently empty – can start on Monday, but that’s not always the best move. You only have the hire budget to cover one of them, so how do you choose?

Think ahead

They might be right for now, but will they stay? And does one have skills that are better future-proofed than the other? If your decision is based solely on what a candidate can bring to your company right now, then you run the risk of making the wrong choice. For example, one might be a current specialist in your sector, and the other might have a track record of thinking on their feet and hitting the ground running when circumstances demand they adapt; potentially useful when times are uncertain. Dropping a disaster scenario into the interview questions can be an effective way to check commitment and tenacity.

Out of office

You’ve spoken to them in the rather false setting of the interview room, but how are they going to get on with their colleagues? An additional informal coffee or team lunch with their potential future colleagues brings a new element to the decision-making process. Your potential hires will be less nervous, and your trusted team will be able to give you valuable feedback which will help you select.

Improving the workplace

They might both fit with the culture, and they might both have sailed through the team gathering, but who will not only fit in, but make your workplace better? You are looking for the candidate who will be your brand, not just on the company’s time, but when they’re talking about their job outside of the office. Think beyond ‘who fits’ and look for ‘who will make us better’. You are looking for the candidate who will bring you the most in the long-term – not just financially, but in terms of enriching the culture and ethos of your business.

Time to call the referees

Although no one is going to (knowingly) give a referee who won’t talk about them in the most glowing terms possible, talking to a candidate’s referees can be very telling. Interviewing the referee as diligently as you would interview the candidate can shed useful light on whether someone really is everything they say they are on paper; for example, levels of involvement in projects and products can be verified, and a few open questions could elicit useful anecdotes as well as specifics, all of which will give you a more rounded picture.

Is this the right move?

Clients need to put themselves in a candidate’s shoes and ask themselves if this is the right position for this individual. The fact that the candidate might need less training or might be a safe hire or perhaps might appear more sociable – might not necessarily make them right for the role.

Summary

The hire process can be long and stressful on all sides, so don’t forget to keep your two candidates ‘warm’ as you decide – losing one or both might make the decision for you, but not as you’d wished! Do remember to give the unsuccessful candidate constructive feedback on their interview, and where appropriate, keep in touch – they might just be the perfect candidate for the next role you have available.