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How to Decide Between Two Qualified Candidates

How to decide between two qualified candidates

You’ve spent weeks searching for the right candidate—posting job ads, screening resumes, and conducting interviews—finally you can see the light at the end of this long hiring tunnel! However, it’s not over yet. You’ve narrowed your search down to two equally qualified candidates and you like them both.

How do you decide which of the two will be a better fit?

What to consider when deciding between two qualified candidates

One thing you shouldn’t do is simply pick a name out of a hat. You’ve spent a lot of time getting to this point, so though you may be tempted to just toss a coin, take a few extra hours to carefully consider both applicants and what they will bring to your company. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you choose the right candidate.

Commitment level

To help you gauge whether a candidate is a job hopper or in it for the long haul, take a look at his/her career goals. Do these goals mesh with the position they have applied for? Is the job just a way to make money or is this a focused career move?

Cultural fit

Strong cultural fit is vital for a successful hire. Your candidates may have the right qualifications and background, but if they don’t “fit” with your culture, chances are they won’t succeed in the position or stay with the company. You should also consider the team that the candidate will be working with and the management style of the person who will be overseeing the candidate. If the new employee will require a lot of direction but the manager is mostly hands-off, this could be cause for concern.


Which candidate is more enthusiastic about working at your company? The candidate should be excited about not only the prospect of a job, but the work itself. Think about the type of questions each prospect asked during the interview— were they focused on the job responsibilities or the benefits and perks? Look for the person that will be most excited about getting out of bed in the morning and coming into work.

Additional skills

Consider each candidates’ background—what unique skills do they possess that could be beneficial to their success within your company. For example, proficiency in certain software programs may not be required for the position, but these skills could help the candidate move up (stay) in the organization later down the road.

Choosing between two great candidates can be difficult, especially since there’s no magic answer. However, once you’ve made your choice, don’t forget to politely follow up with the candidate who didn’t get the job and leave on good terms—you never know when you’ll be looking to hire again!

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