How to Choose Between Two Awesome Candidates

It’s your job as a recruiter and talent agent to connect the right people with the right jobs. After you’ve gone through the normal sourcing song and dance, found passive and active candidates, identified who is qualified and passionate, and handed them over to interview with the hiring manager, most of the job is primarily out of your hands.

But what do you do when the hiring manager calls back excitedly to say, “I loved Sally and Sofia! I just don’t know who to hire!”


It’s time to act as like a real partner and help your client make a hard decision here–and there are quite a few ways to go about it. First off, let’s start with the facts:

  • Sally has more experience, but Sofia has LOTS of potential
  • Sally is looking for a long-term place to grow, but Sofia talked about keeping her options open
  • Sally and Sofia have both proven that they have the skills necessary to lead the exact kind of project the prospective company is looking to start

So…who should they hire?

Indeed is a big proponent of a little something called the “culture add.” In laymen’s terms, it’s not just someone who will drink your company’s Kool-Aid; it’s someone who will bring a secret ingredient to the recipe and make it even better! Giving serious thought to who could genuinely improve the inner workings of your hiring manager’s company can help not only their business but your relationship with them as well (hello, who doesn’t want to be on the hiring manager’s good side?).

But here at Kinetix, we take it one step further. Personal feelings can be great, but when you’re torn between two great options, it’s best to tune out the background noise and help your hiring leader make the best choice possible. That’s where Area Code Hiring comes in.

When your hiring manager is waffling between Sally and Sofia, give them a firm redirect to get their raw initial feedback. Ask them to give you a series of three numbers for Sally:

  1. The first digit will be Sally’s match with the role and her ability to perform the function you need to be filled, on a scale from one to nine.
  2. The second digit is gut instinct–would you hire them (1) or not (0).
  3. Finally, the third digit is their fit with the culture and team on that same 1-9 scale. Could you see them thriving at the organization? Will they mesh well with your best people? (Spoiler: if Sally had a perfect score, it would be 919.)

This method is especially helpful when multiple leaders are included in the interview process. The key is to have everyone write down their numbers right off the bat with no discussion (don’t worry, that comes later). By eliminating groupthink, the team will independently come up with their own justifications behind their code. After you’ve white-boarded everyone’s responses, have the team hash out all of the details to discuss why Maisie gave Sally a 5 for ability and Doug gave her a 9.

Sofia would be graded on the same scale, and should she not stack up (even as close as an 819), then Sally would be the one completing the onboarding packet, and Sofia would go back to wade in the talent pool.

Cut the waffling short and make the best decision for everyone. Recruiters, tell your hiring manager all about Area Code Hiring and watch the meaningful discussions unfold…you’ll make better hires because of it!

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