Ask a Recruiter: How Do I Decide Between Two Strong Final-Round Candidates?

Ask a Recruiter, For Employers


Having trouble choosing between two finalists for an executive position? Making the right decision requires careful consideration, especially when the future of your organization is at stake. So how do you decide between two strong final-round candidates? Here’s what employers should consider when stuck between a rock and a hard place.


Optimize the Final Round of Interviews

Preparing and asking questions that highlight a candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, skills, emotional intelligence, and personality will help narrow down the decision between two candidates. Additionally, understanding how they manage, communicate, and lead people is critical. Ask more situational questions geared towards how they would react to certain scenarios they will encounter in the role.


Do They Fit the Corporate Culture?

Your new executive hire should complement the corporate culture and personalities of your management team. A candidate might appear to fit on paper, but that does not guarantee they will be compatible for the job. Evaluating how they answer questions and carry themselves early in the interview process can determine a candidate’s long-term success at the company.


Is Employee Retention Where It Needs to Be?

Tenure is extremely important for employers to consider. Too many clients make the final decision based on salary, relocation cost, or other economic concerns. While this is beneficial in the short-term, the real concern should be employee retention and the ongoing need to build a consistent and balanced organization based on your mission and vision. Choosing a candidate who you believe will stick around for “x” number of years could help sway your decision.


Bring in Reinforcements

If you are having a tough time choosing between two final-round candidates, include a colleague who has participated in the interview process and will be working closely with the new hire. They may provide new insights into both finalists that you have not taken into consideration. As the saying goes, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”


Can the Company Hire Both?

What happens if two candidates are still a perfect match for the job? One solution is to consider if one candidate is suitable for another, similar position. There is also the possibility of hiring both finalists and creating a new role, if it makes sense and the budget allows for it.


If your company can ultimately only hire one candidate, that’s alright! Consider how each finalist acted and responded throughout the interview process, listen to your gut, and pick the candidate who will thrive in your organization’s culture. Keeping the company’s goals, culture, and upcoming plans in mind will lead you and your team in the right direction.

Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with over 50 years of excellence in recruiting nationwide. Bristol specializes in recruiting for the Casino Gaming; Hotels and Resorts; Travel, Tourism, and Attractions; Facilities and Concessions; Food and Beverage Manufacturing; Restaurant; Hospital and Healthcare; and Nonprofit industries.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer or here if you’re a candidate.

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