You did it! You have analysed hundreds of CVs, preselected candidates, seen a handful of them for a face-to-face or remote interview, but the most complicated decision is now: there are only two of them left and you just cannot choose between the two.
Luckily, there are many ways to gather hints and pointers to determine who will be the one.
1. Read between the lines of a business case
In general, you are looking at the two candidates with the best business cases. But think back for a moment to discover the strengths of each of them: creativity, organisational skills, original way of thinking, etc. Compare your point of view with the hiring managers and team members. If there is unanimity, this will give you a clear enough answer in the cornelian choice you have to make.
2. Who has the best personality?
If your two shortlisted candidates have only had one or two interviews, do not hesitate to organise new individual interviews. Ask different questions, go outside of the box, try to get even more out of your candidates. Discuss with the hiring manager to make the best decision.
Personality fit between the candidate and future manager is key and failed recruitments are often the consequence of poor personality match. Indeed, this is the first reason why employees leave during their trial period. To dig further, if you still feel both would get along great with their teams, organise a personality test, and review results together with your last candidates. Inevitably, you will get more out of them and manage to pin essential traits: emotional intelligence and self-awareness.
3. What does their future team think?
You can also introduce the two candidates to their potential future team and leave them a moment with your colleagues to observe their attitude. Then conduct small individual interviews with a few people from the team to get their opinion on specific criteria (integration, open-mindedness, interest in the company, etc.). Their comments should be as objective as possible to help you identify the right candidate.
4. Focus on practical details
If you have two highly qualified candidates who answer in a similar way to the job description, and the personality is not enough for you to decide, look at practical information: when are they available? What are their salary expectations? What extra technical skills do they have (for instance, do they speak another language)? Depending on company goals these can make a difference. Base your decision on the company’s priorities and culture to make a rational decision.
5. Confirm the candidates' motivation and interest in your company
A candidate's motivation for a position also depends on his or her overall interest in your company. Assess their curiosity and ask them specifically how much they know about the company. You will quickly realise whether they are familiar with your activities and projects. Also, remember the relevance of their questions during the interviews.
6. Ask for references!
At this stage it is always useful to call a former manager to validate your decision. Don't hesitate to ask relevant questions depending on the position your future employee will be taking on.