Finally, after a lengthy recruitment process, you’ve found the perfect candidate. The only problem is, you’ve found them twice. Two brilliant candidates, with similar experience, industry backgrounds and skills required for the job. By all measurements, they appear equal in every way. While it might seem like the perfect problem to have, regardless, it is a problem all the same.

On the bright side, at least whatever hiring decision you make, chances are you’ll probably end up with a great hire. 

It’s important to note, choosing between the two candidates shouldn’t be a lengthy process, otherwise you may just risk losing them both. 

Intersection in the road going both ways

Here are 6 ways to decide between two equally amazing candidates: 

  • Try to separate them. 

Don’t stress about making a decision without first gathering every piece of information you possibly can. Firstly, try to find something to separate them. Ask for their salary preferences – you may find one of them has unreasonable expectations. Also, contact their references and conduct a background check into their educational institutions. If you don’t uncover anything damaging, move to the following points. 


  • Gauge their enthusiasm. 

Hiring is a two way street. And it’s safe to say, most companies aren’t just looking for skilled candidates, they are looking for someone passionate about what they do. Who showed they cared most about your company and what it does? Who was the most memorable? Did their passion seem legitimate? 

You can find the answers to these questions in a few ways. Looking back on the interviews, which person seemed to be the most engaged in the process? Who asked the most questions? How soon did each person follow up with you after the interview? What are some of the things they said that made them stand out?

As you consider these things, it’s likely you will identify the more interested and enthusiastic candidate between the two, even if it’s only slight. 


  • Don’t just trust your instincts, consider other factors.

Former chairman and CEO of GE told an MBA class that he never trusted his instincts when making hiring decisions. He believes that first impressions and subjective opinions are unreliable predictors of success. He prefers to look for evidence that candidates have the right skills and are a good fit for the company. (SHRM).

While your gut instincts may not have all the answers, those feelings can be effective when identifying the personality traits that will mesh well with your company. 

It is however, important for you to determine if what you’re feeling towards a candidate is merely bias towards their personality, or if they have the ability to truly succeed. 


  • Hire for Cultural Fit

Speaking of meshing well with your company. There is no doubt that hard skills such as technical abilities and competencies are needed for every position. But, there are soft skills that are often necessary to compliment those practical ones. Soft skills such as creativity, communication and emotional intelligence – personality traits that determine how well an individual will mesh with your team. Or, more commonly known as their ‘cultural fit’. 

One study found that 84% of recruiters surveyed agree that cultural fit — not the time and cost to hire for a role — is one of the most important recruitment factors (Source: Forbes). After all, you can provide someone with all the resources and tools available to succeed at that position, but you cannot teach someone to align with your cultural standards. 

When it comes to hiring for the long term, determine which of the candidates aligned with your values best. 


  • Bring in outside opinion.

When in doubt, include your team in the interview process (although, not a bad idea in general regardless of the doubt factor). Have the candidates meet your team, preferably in a relaxed setting – at least more relaxed than a formal interview room. This will give you an opportunity to see how well the candidates interact with their future department. The extra eyes and ears may also pick up on some traits that you may have missed. 

The benefits of doing this extend beyond the interview process. It will make things easier for the candidate once they are hired, having already met the team, and it will make your current employees feel valued. 

confused businesswoman

  • Why not both? 

If you have the budgeting capabilities, why not hire both candidates as an option? The reasoning behind this is simple – good people are hard to find. If you can find a way to make it work, do it. Perhaps the roles will have to be split, or a new position will have to be created. If this is not an option, at the very least stay connected with the candidate who wasn’t hired. Another position will come up in the future and you will want to remain on good terms. 


Remember, you’re still in a great position to be in. Get old school with your analysis, make a pros and cons list and carefully weigh the importance of each factor. If all else fails, I have no other advice for you – other than flip a coin. 


In summary, here are 6 ways for you to decide between two equally amazing candidates:

1) Try to separate them

2) Gauge their enthusiasm

3) Don’t just trust your instincts, consider other factors as well

4) Hire for cultural fit

5) Bring in outside opinion

… and if you still can’t decide then 6) Why not hire both?



If you enjoyed reading this blog post, why not dive deeper and learn more about Improving Candidate Experience:

- 6 Ways Of Successfully Luring Passive Candidates 

- 4 Steps To Prevent Candidate Ghosting 

- Why Building Trust Is Important For Recruiters

- 3 Biggest Mistakes That Hurt The Candidate Experience


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