One Position, Multiple Candidates

Choosing the Right Candidate

Having multiple qualified candidates for a single position are the banes of many hiring managers’ existences. It’s a tough decision to make already, but when you have two, three, or even more seemingly qualified candidates for the single open position at your company, you have to get down and dirty to unearth the qualifications of each candidate.

Start by going over all of your interactions with each candidate. Many companies start the interview/hiring process via email, then by phone, then by one or more in-person interviews. It may help to have a 1 to 10 scale system ready for “grading” each of the candidates.


Go over the email correspondences you’ve had with each of the candidates. Thoroughly re-read the emails, looking for professionalism and enthusiasm for the job. Were they prompt in replying to you? Was their correspondence on par with the expectations of the position?

Phone Interviews

Grade each of the candidates’ phone interviews. Although they have obviously passed on this to be considered for the position, re-read the notes you took during the phone interview. Were they articulate? Did they show enthusiasm for the position? Did they understand the culture and values of the company?

In-Person Interviews

Review the interviews in your mind while also looking at the notes you took during each interview. Did anything stick out about any of the candidates, either positive or negative? Was their personality a good fit for the company and the current staff?

Small Tests

If you still can’t make a decision based on the interview process, you may need to give each qualified candidate some sort of small task or test to more thoroughly judge their abilities for the position. In his article “You Have Identified the Candidates. How Do You Pick the Right One? for The New York Times You’re the Boss blog, Bryan Burkhart outlines small tests he gave to qualified candidates for H.Bloom. Floral buyers were given a list of the stems for a single arrangement and asked to state how they would go about creating the arrangement, from the resources she would use to buy them to the prices she would pay for them.

It’s not easy, but someone’s got to do it (and that someone is you). Finding the correct candidate the first time around can be incredibly advantageous to the company.