Finding qualified talent to fill a particular role is a time-consuming and often daunting task for HR managers and recruiters. However, occasionally a hiring team may find two exceptionally qualified candidates for one position. In these situations, you’re highly likely to onboard a great new employee. But how can you ensure you are making an unbiased and informed decision?

Assess Your Needs

Throughout the hiring process, you have likely given careful consideration to the overlap of the candidates’ skills against the job they will be performing. If two people are neck-and-neck in the final round, there are probably considerable similarities between their abilities and backgrounds. Now is the time to dig deeper and do a more nuanced analysis of their capabilities and what the job entails. What is the number one thing you need most in this role and which candidate do you think will be more likely to fulfill that need?

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Look at the Long-Term

If long-term employee retention is something you are looking to bolster, every hiring decision needs to be made with this in mind. If you have two hotshot candidates, you will want to choose the one who is looking to stick around longer and contribute to your organization in the long-run. Does one candidate have leadership experience or potential that stands out more? How do they both fit into your succession plans? Keep in mind that one candidate may have a skill that, while not not essential for the immediate opening, may be relevant to your company in the long-run.

Consider Cultural Fit

Cultural fit can be a sticky topic, but its still worth considering in hiring decisions. Cultural fit needs to be approached carefully to avoid bias, but it is something that is underrepresented in recruitment when you are only focused on checking the boxes for skills.

How will each candidate feel in this new role and which one will be more engaged? Which one seems more enthusiastic? Does one have more experience in similar work environments to yours? Some companies are even hosting happy hours for recruits to see which ones integrate better with their existing employees. These do not have to involve alcohol, but may also be lunches or other low-key social settings which can give you insights into their personality that are harder to quantify than hard skills.

Hire Both

Obviously, this will not be an option for all companies, but if your budget and future growth needs allow for it, you may decide to bring two great candidates onboard. Great talent is hard to find, so it’s understandably difficult to pass up a highly qualified candidate. Just make sure that this is sustainable and that there is enough work for both hires. A little healthy competition in the workplace can be good, but also, if they are going to be working closely together, be sure that they get along and will mesh well without resentment. If you do decide to only go with one candidate, be sure to stay in touch with the other in case circumstances change.

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