Steps to Take to Choose Between Two Strong Job Candidates


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Imagine you have two strong candidates for a position. You like both of them but can only hire one. 

The decision is difficult. 

And to make matters worse, you know that it’s not just about who’ll be the best fit for the job. 

It’s also about who will assimilate the best and blend seamlessly into your existing company culture. 

Lawrence Bossidy, the former CEO of Honeywell International, may have said it best in the following quote. 

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.”

But when faced with choosing the “right” person to hire and develop, how do you actually make the call?

In this post, we’ll go over some steps to help you. 

Let’s jump in. 

1. Have a Clear Understanding of the Job Requirements

As the hiring manager or job recruiter,make sure you thoroughly understand the job requirements before deciding who to go with.

Do you know exactly what position you’re hiring for? 

Do you know what kinds of skills and experiences would be relevant to this position?

Ensure that you use this information as a baseline when: 

  1. Reviewing resumes
  2. Evaluating candidate skills/experiences
  3. Conducting interviews

2. Review the Resumes of Both Candidates and Identify Their Strengths and Weaknesses

Identifying strengths and weaknesses sometimes takes a bit of creative thinking. 

As a hiring manager, you know and understand the importance of looking for qualified job candidates with experience in the required position. 

It’s also crucial to make sure to clarify whether or not the candidates will need any additional training — and if so, how much.

Some types of job experience may offer advantages that aren’t readily apparent. 

For Example:

Both A and B may be strong technically. 

But do either of them have different, unique skill sets that could set them apart from other candidates? 

What about experience levels or professional titles? How does their education stack up against one another?

3. Evaluate Each Candidate’s Skills and Experience

If each of the candidates is strong, they’re likely going to be strong in different ways. 

Ask yourself if there can be compromises on any part of the applicants’ skills, experience, or qualifications. 

For example:

Candidate A may have more experience than candidate B and a less technical skill set. While B might be stronger technically but with less work experience under their belt.

It’s up to you to look at these discrepancies and decide which candidate would likely be the best option for the company. 

4. Interview Each Candidate, Then Compare Them Again

A face-to-face interview is one of the best ways to get an educated feel for which candidate is ultimately the stronger choice.

After conducting interviews with both candidates, you should be able to compare and contrast them on paper and through your own instinctual lens to arrive at a more concrete analysis.

5. Think About What Type of Company Culture You Want to Create for Your Employees

Both candidates may have a lot to offer your company in different ways. Consider if one is more likely to continue growing with your company. If the other is already at their maximum potential, then that’s a factor worth taking note of.

Do you really want someone who has “peaked” to enter your company culture? Or is it possible that this would be to your company’s advantage (someone who isn’t driven to get promoted, someone willing to learn their position and stick with it, etc.)?

It’s also a good idea to consider the values, ethics, and overall mood you detect during the interviews. 

Granted, it’s easy for someone to hide their negative personality traits long enough to conduct a successful interview. Yet, it’s also entirely possible that you “picked up” on more than just what they said aloud.

Consider What Your Instincts Are Telling You

Human instincts and emotions are, after all, much more than “just feelings.” They’re actually appraisals of what you’ve just experienced and serve as a powerful form of information processing

In other words, you may want to trust your instincts if you happen to experience any (good or bad) during the job interview. 

They just may prove to be right! 

6. Consider How Well Each of These Candidates Would Fit In With Your Team

Managers can face a difficult situation when employees and team members refuse to get along

Tensions between team members can affect not only the work itself but also the mental and emotional well-being of everyone in the office. 

Early intervention is crucial in correcting such imbalances. 

But it’s even better if you can head the problem off before it starts. 

In other words — even if one candidate is technically more experienced or seems like a better choice on paper, if a quick analysis of their personality leads you to believe that nobody is going to be able to tolerate them, you may be better off choosing the “safer” option that the team would welcome and accept. 

7. Make a Decision Based on These Factors, and Go With It!

At the end of the day, you’re probably not going to make the perfect hiring choice 100% of the time. 

And that’s totally ok! 

Gary Vaynerchuk speaks about this at length when talking about his own business. He maintains that too many people overthink hiring when it’s actually firing that you need to be sharp about. 

Check out this quote:

“It’s never about the hiring. Too many people here are crippled by the hiring and making the right call. It’s about the firing. So if you’re going to let somebody into your inner circle don’t worry about what their intentions are or if they’re full of $#!%. Once they get in, if you can taste it, get em out.”

At the end of the day, you can only do so much to stave off a bad hiring decision. 

Do your due diligence, look at the information you have, make the best call possible, and go with it. 

Learning to trust yourself may truly be the biggest key to choosing the best possible candidate as often as possible. 


When it comes to hiring people, you’re going to have to filter through many different bits of information.

And you’re going to feel some pressure to make the right choice. 

The good news? 

You’ve been there. You know how to hire for this position. 

Yes, both candidates may be strong. But in your gut, you know that one of them feels better than the other. 

Trusting yourself is the bridge that takes you from “indecision” to “mission accomplished.”

Now get out there and hire that next employee! 

Author Bio

Caitlin Sinclair is the Business Manager at Harvest at Fiddyment Ranch. With over five years of property management experience, she begins and ends each day loving what she does. She finds joy in helping current and future residents and makes Harvest at Fiddyment Ranch a place everyone loves to call home.

Raushan Kumar
A Cook, Software analyst & Blogger.


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