Two Standout Candidates? Here’s How To Choose Who Gets The Job

Mark Freire

22nd September 2015

Of all the recruitment challenges you might face, this is probably the most bittersweet.

Whether you’ve found your talent by painstakingly sifting through responses to your job ad, or they’ve been cherry picked by your recruitment agency, choosing between two equally stand-out candidates is a huge pain.

You don’t want to be left with that ‘what if?’ feeling six months down the road. So here’s our guide to selecting the right person for your organisation.

Culture clash?

If you’re deciding between two candidates who both have exemplary qualifications and relevant experience then chances are your decision will be down to culture fit. Ask yourself which candidate would slot into the company culture best? Who can you see bringing vibrancy and enthusiasm to the team?

It gets a little more complicated when weighing up one candidate with excellent experience against one with a weaker employment history but who you know would fit in. In this situation you should weigh up which is more important for this particular hire. Technical skills can always be learnt whereas someone’s personality and values aren’t something you can change.

Current needs vs future needs

Take a long look at the current skills within the team you’re recruiting into. Now take a look at the company’s plans for expansion and development. Can you see any potential skill gaps emerging over the next few months or years?

If you’ve been primarily focusing on the needs of your company right now, take a step back and consider which candidate may be best equipped to step up in the future. If the role is currently a standalone position, but could evolve into a managerial one in a years’ time then you could look to hire the candidate who shows the best leadership qualities. Perhaps there are projects or company initiatives coming up that you can imagine one candidate taking ownership of more than the other.


If your candidates are virtually equal in every respect then their enthusiasm for your company and the opportunity could be the clincher.

The way they respond to questions at interview stage (why do you want this job? What do you know about our company? Where do you see yourself in five years?), along with the questions that they ask you (what is the company culture like? How does the team work? How could this role evolve?) can be a solid way to determine how much they want the job.

Ultimately, you want to employ someone who is going to appreciate the opportunity and aim to progress within your company, rather than someone whose aim it is to use the job solely as a stepping stone to their next career move.

Take your time and go with your gut

Bringing a new person into your company can be a big decision, especially in small companies and start-ups where every hire makes a huge impact on the company’s future. It’s better to take your time and really think about your choice rather than rushing to make a decision because you’re short-handed right now.

Instinct isn’t something to be ignored and if you have a gut feeling that one candidate will be a better fit for your company, then that is a completely valid reason to choose between two equally promising candidates.

Struggling to find standout candidates in an over-saturated market?

We can help. Over 14 years we have built up a strong and diverse network of IT and digital personalities at all levels of experience. From talented young apprentices looking for a break, to tried and tested permanent and contract candidates ready for a new challenge.

For more information please contact Lewis Fraser on, call a member of our team on 020 7426 9835 or complete the form below.