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How to choose between two Candidates

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

Finding the perfect applicant is never easy.

If you have cast your net wide enough to catch some brilliant talent, you will have undoubtedly sorted through an ocean of underqualified, overqualified, or generally just incompatible Candidates.

Few Employers enjoy the interview process, and even fewer are prepared to undergo the rigmarole because they chose the wrong horse at the last hurdle.

If you have ever found yourself struggling to choose between two elite Candidates, you’ll know that it’s never as simple as names in a hat. Perhaps you have struck a great rapport with one Candidate, but the other has a more impressive CV – but what can separate the two?

We’ve compiled our top tips and best advice, to help you navigate this employment minefield.

Stick to what you started with

When you begin reviewing CVs, it can sometimes become difficult to remain focused on the job role you are recruiting for.

Viewing all of the potential talent can be the launchpad for ideas and possible avenues you potentially had not considered at the inception of the staffing requirement. When you have narrowed it down to your final two Candidates, their CVs will probably be relatively similar, with a few points of notice that have piqued your interest.

If you are struggling to decipher which is the better fit, always consider your initial requirements, and which Candidate suits the business better.

Remember, it is of the utmost importance that from the beginning of the recruiting process, you fully understand what your business needs truly are.

Consider your culture

Where once it was overlooked, company culture has come to the forefront in the past decade, as companies vie to boost their Employer brand, and triumph in the war for talent.

Nurturing a vibrant company culture starts from the top, and ripples throughout the workforce: it’s not about building an army of clones, but rather a diverse team of competent Candidates, who reflect your organisational values.

Integrating new hires is never easy, but establishing which applicant would instantly fuse better with the team should act as an indicator when it comes to making the decision.

References, references, references

Contacting the previous Employers of your applicants should always be an essential part of your HR and recruiting process.

While a conversation with their current Employer can be an awkward interaction, it’s worth concluding your investigation by speaking to the people they have been working with on a daily basis, to get a bigger picture.

Be sure to ask your Candidates for contact details for verbal references, not solely those over e-mail. Being able to speak to a previous manager or HR representative gives a more intricate insight into your would-be Employee, shedding light on some information your Candidates may have held back.

The winner takes it all

If you have spent hours deliberating and still are unable to decide, sometimes it just comes down to the intangibles.

Did one Candidate offer something the other didn’t? If there is an applicant who displays a real desire to work for your company, this should give them the edge over other options. Similarly, if a Candidate strikes a decent rapport and injects enthusiasm and energy into the interview process, they are more than likely passionate about the role they are applying for.

These diamonds in the rough are determined to succeed, and will often go the extra 10 percent when necessary.

And the reverse?

Well, if you prefer a more reserved Candidate, make sure to investigate their motives and job history, to look for any indicators that may hint towards a lack of commitment. These personalities can be toxic to your workforce, and can be difficult to identify early on in their employment.

For 20 years, the Allen Associates team has been helping employers in Oxfordshire secure the talent they really need. Can we help you? Click here for more information.

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