It seems like a dream scenario. You reach the end of the hiring process with two great candidates. Each one is equally qualified, professional, and enthusiastic about your company. Suddenly, the decision is harder than you expected. How do you choose? Before you roll the dice, it’s helpful to get to know each person better to find the best fit.
Try a Casual Lunch
Once you get through the formal interviews, a casual lunch can be a great way to decide between two candidates. Invite members of your team, and ask them to focus mainly on socializing. Without the pressure of interview questions, your potential candidates can relax and let their true selves shine through. This might seem trivial, but it’s extremely valuable. It gives you the chance to see each candidate’s real personality. Once you’ve had both meals, meet with your team to ask who meshed better with the group. With all other things being equal, the person your employees like best is probably going to be more fun to have around during long meetings and stressful deadlines.
The hiring process can tell you a lot about your candidates’ qualifications and abilities, but it’s no substitute for real-world experience. This is where references come in; they can give you insight into what it’s like to work with each of your candidates. Before you make the call, it’s a good idea to come up with questions that relate to your company’s specific needs. If your job environment is intense and fast-paced, you could ask the references how each person performs under stress. Keep an eye out for red flags, such as vague answers, long pauses, or positive feedback that seems unrealistic. These can all be signs that you might be better off with the other candidate.
Look for Extras
When both of your candidates meet the qualifications in your job posting, look for the extras. The best place to start is each person’s resume, which can contain hints about skills that could be useful for your company. Are you thinking about expanding internationally? A candidate’s travel experience, which probably seemed irrelevant on the first resume review, could give that person an edge over someone who’s lived in the same city. The Special Skills and Additional Experiences sections are great places to start; look for qualifications such as foreign language ability, coding skills, or unexpected work experiences.
Do You Have a Future Together?
Like a relationship, it’s helpful to have similar goals as a new employee, at least when it comes to longevity. If you’re looking for a long-term situation and one candidate only wants to stay for a year, the other person might be the best choice. You probably touched on future goals during the interview, but a more in-depth conversation late in the process can be illuminating. You can get the ball rolling by explaining what you’re looking for; this transparency makes it easier for the candidates to be honest about their goals.
Deciding between two strong candidates can be tough, but there’s good news. Once you make a decision, you’re sure to end up with a great new employee. By taking time to dig deeper, you can choose the person who can help take your company to the next level.