The end of the hiring process can sometimes be as stressful as the beginning – especially when your top candidates all seem like a strong fit for the job. Wouldn’t it be easier if the perfect candidate rose to the top each time? Unfortunately, that’s often not the case, and hiring managers are left with some tough decisions to make. So what's the trick to choosing between two (or three or four) equally qualified candidates? Well, there are many opportunities to streamline your recruitment process to ensure you're hiring the right person, but here are three critical factors to consider when you’ve narrowed it down:
The first thing to look at is how each candidate stacks up against the job profile for the role. If you use something like McQuaig personality assessments, this step is pretty straightforward: simply generate a report that compares the candidates’ personality profile against the temperamental requirements of the role. In a few seconds, you should see if the candidates are a strong match, a potential match, or if they don’t really match at all.
If you don’t use personality assessments, this step is still pretty simple: based on your candidates’ interview answers, try to match up their responses to elements of your job description. It’s important to revisit the job description or job profile after each step of the hiring process, to stay focused on what matters in the role, and to more accurately pick up on great opportunities or potential warning signs. Revisiting your information - instead of going off of gut feel or your memory of the interview - is a critical step that often gets overlooked. But it can typically reveal information that's vital in pinpointing and hiring the right person.
Pro Tip: We built a job description template that you can fill out in 20 minutes or less - check it out here.
Interview Answers and Candidate Interest
Standardizing your behavioural interview questions is a great way to level the playing field between candidates. Getting them to answer the same set of core questions can help you easily see where surprising differences may exist. Revisit each candidates’ answers as you make your final hiring decision – and remember to line questions up with critical elements of the job description. This way, you’re always aware of what’s most important in the job, and it becomes easier to see where some candidates excel and where others may not be so effective.
Revisiting interview responses is also a great way to re-gauge candidate interest. Did one candidate provide great answers but seem uninspired? Did another candidate lack technical skill but have the right approach to solving the problems you need solved? Assessing these observations after the fact can help with hiring the right people the first time - and avoiding a turnaround surprise down the road.
References are a terrific source of information if you ask the right questions. Similar to the interview, standardizing reference questions – and going beyond the traditional confirmation questions – can help solidify observations made during the interview. Tying reference questions back to the job profile is a great way to confirm not only what the candidate said in the interview, but also how their work was received from a more objective standpoint.
Remember that equally qualified on paper may not mean equally qualified in terms of temperament or personality. And technical skill doesn’t always indicate top performance on the job. Hiring the right people all comes down to keeping in mind what the role requires, both from a technical and a temperamental stance. So when your candidate list is whittled down and making a decision seems impossible, remember to revisit the core of what the job entails, and realign candidate responses to those requirements. After a little consideration, it might feel like the right candidate is jumping off the page!