The Hiring Process – Tips on How to Make the Right Hiring Decision

The hiring process

How do you choose between two top candidates? What a luxury problem to have, you might say. But it can be a problem nonetheless. You have interviewed suitable candidates, your client has met the most promising ones, and you have narrowed the selection down to the top two candidates.

Both have what it takes professionally. Both appear to be a good fit within the company culture. Both tick all the boxes, so it’s a head-to-head race with no advantages for either candidate.

For executive recruiters, hiring managers and startup founders alike, having certainty that you have chosen the right candidate is the single most important thing.

“The price of a bad hire is at least 30 percent of the employee’s first-year earnings. For a small company, a five-figure investment in the wrong person is a threat to the business.”

Source: Forbes


Two Top Candidates. How to choose the right one?

choosing candidates

Towards the end of the hiring process, you sometimes end up in a particular situation. Lucky you, you found more than one very suitable candidate. But you are also faced with having to make the right decision.

Two finalists, one position. Looking at each candidate from multiple angles will help you find the deciding difference. It’s time to step outside the classic list of skills and experience in applications and the first interviews that identify a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. 

After the Interview – What Informs the Hiring Process?

At Key Search, we use an assessment tool that measures abstract intelligence as well as behavioral and personality characteristics of candidates. This eliminates all potential bias. In addition it gives a clear, comparable score for each candidate. It informs about the leadership style of the candidates and, in addition, it can point out fit gaps that you can use to prepare effective interviews to identify the most suitable candidate for a role.

An assessment tool is a powerful complimentary part of the recruitment process that gives important insights into each candidate’s qualifications. While skills-based assessments and tests are very common, cognitive and personality assessment tools like the one Key Search uses are an invaluable part of our hiring strategy to identify the perfect candidate.

The Hiring Process – Additional Steps to Identify the Right Candidate

Expert Note

Weronika Oesterreicher

“I love to make the candidate show me their real colors. Usually I will ask them to tell me about something they initiated that they are proud of. Oftentimes this question really opens a door to who they are.”

Given that the qualifications of the front runners are on the same level, my hiring strategy in the final interviewing stage will take additional factors into consideration that will tip the scale. 

Who is the better fit within the company culture? Who has greater enthusiasm, convincing a recruiter that they really want this role? 

When looking to find answers to those questions, the following topics and approaches can offer valuable insights and a checklist in the hiring process when you are faced with two strong candidates. 

  • Reveal their true colors: ask candidates to give an example of something they initiated that they are proud of or passionate about.

    Talking about a self-initiated or passion project will show you how a candidate "ticks", what gets them going and how they express and explain their ownership and accomplishments.

  • Company culture: deep-dive into their organizational fit, because who 'fits' here depends on the company culture the candidate will join.

    Find out what kind of work environment and work style they perform best in. Is this a match? What about their management style? In addition, asking candidates how they feel about after-work meet-ups or becoming friends with co-workers can be revealing.

  • Diversity: does either candidate have unique experiences to offer that bring new ways of thinking to the company? Are they from a group that’s currently underrepresented?

    In your interview, explore if a candidate could bring new viewpoints and ideas, challenge the status quo and really move the needle. From ethnicity and gender to disability or age, is one of the candidates from a group that lacks representation in the company?

  • Soft skills: how do the two finalists compare when it comes to their communication, empathy and creativity?

    From creative problem solving to the way candidates receive and convey information and their ability as an inclusive leader to show empathy through their willingness to see things from another perspective – these so-called soft skills can set apart two otherwise equally suitable candidates.

The Hiring Process at Key Search

Kick Off stage
Hiring Process_
Shortlist stage
Offer Management stage

The unique in-house research and data-driven approach at Key Search allows me and our growing team of recruitment specialists to research, review and shortlist the perfect candidates for the position you are hiring for. Once we have arrived at the finalists stage, we can assist you in choosing the best candidate to offer the role to.

Because we help some of the world’s most exciting startups and fast-growth companies hire their leaders, it would be my pleasure to take you through our process of how we can help you hire your leaders. Let’s get to know each other in a first call to align expectations and see how we can help.

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