CVs have been studied, suitable candidates have been preselected, initial interviews have been completed, final interviews are over and…success, the perfect candidate has been found. However, there is a small issue – there’s two of them! Two excellent candidates that have similar work experience, can demonstrate the skills required, and seem perfect for the role. In an ideal world, both would be hired, but there’s only room for one – what happens now?

An organisation should never take a punt on one or the other. They must investigate further to ensure the right choice is made. If you allow us a football analogy, it’s like the World Cup Final ending with a 1-1 draw after extra time, there’s no winner, so it must go to penalties! It would be entertaining to make candidates take penalties to get the job, unfortunately it’s just not suitable! So, with a penalty shootout out of the question, what do companies look at to make a final choice – let us tell you.

Candidate personality

It may sound obvious, but if both candidates are meeting all company business needs, it may be time to look more closely at the individual’s personality. It’s time to scrutinise some of the things said in jest or how they acted before/after the interview, a little more than they would have been previously. The personality fit between candidates and their future team/manager is key to the success of the hire. This can be a main reason employees leave a role during their probation period.

Candidate personality

Some companies will even arrange an extra discussion with the candidates, talk to others that have met them throughout the interview process, or perhaps even request a personality test be taken.

The team’s opinion

In interview situations it can be a normal part of the process to take the potential candidates for a walk around the company. It’s a chance to show them where they may be working and who they may be working with. However, in this situation, it can be extended to help find the ideal person.

Teams opinion of candidate

Instead of a walk-through, candidates will be left with the team for a brief period. Allowing them to chat to the team, so that they can gauge their opinions on the two candidates. Which do they feel would fit better in the team? In most situations, organisations will also go back and ask staff around the organisation (in particular the receptionist) who had a chance to speak to candidates. They will ask for their opinions on how the candidates acted/what they were like.

Candidate enthusiasm

Displaying enthusiasm will have been a factor in the candidate being shortlisted in the first place. However, it hasn’t been a deciding one – until now! In this situation, the candidates’ enthusiasm will come into the spotlight – did one show more passion than the other? Did one stand out as caring more about the company and what it wants to achieve?

Candidate enthusiasm

How can/will enthusiasm be measured? Was their passion for real? Companies will look at all interviews in detail and think which candidate seemed the most engaged during the entire process. They will look at things like; who was asking the most questions? Did either call or email for a follow up after the interview? Which was the most memorable for their views on the company? The interviewers will then be able to identify the individual that seemed more interested in the role.

Additional skills

Both candidates seem perfect for the role, they both have great personalities, and both seem really enthusiastic – so what now? Firstly the company stops rubbing its hands together with glee and then turns back to the individual’s CV and conversations they had throughout the interview process.

candidate first aid

Were there any additional skills, knowledge or experience noted that are not currently necessary for the role in question? Could these be advantageous to the company moving forward?

Culture, culture, culture

At Major, upholding our company culture is something is vital to our recruitment process, and it is becoming increasingly important with many other companies. With the candidates’ hard skills being inseparable, it’s time to look at their soft skills; how would they fit with the company’s culture.

Company culture

The candidates may have the skills and knowledge to do the job with their eyes closed. However, if they don’t have the right attitude/ethics/personality to align with the company culture, this will be problematic.

Knowledge of the company

Who did their homework? It’s always beneficial to do your homework on an organisation. A quick a trip to their website and a read up on what they do, what is their culture and what are their future aims. In a situation like this, a choice can sometimes be made on which of the two did the most research.

Candidate Research

When asked what they know about the company, which gave the most detailed response? Which was the most familiar on ongoing work and upcoming projects? Who showed the most interest in what you have posted on social media/blogs/website? This motivation to learn more about the company puts them in prime position to land the job.

It’s reference time

There is absolutely no splitting these two – what now? It is time to ask the people that know best, it’s time to contact their referees. This will provide a full picture on how they are as workers, as people and whether or not they are the right hire for the organisation.


This is the one area a candidate cannot hide their weaknesses. There is no opportunity to say, ‘the right thing,’ this should give the company the exact information they need to make the correct decision.