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Guide to Deciding Who is More Qualified for the Job

By | Farhan Ali

If you are on a search committee and considering candidates for a position, how can you tell who is the most qualified for the job? Using your applicant management system, you can probably eliminate several candidates immediately based on responses in their applications to must-have job requirements.

For example, if a candidate’s education or prior experience do not meet the job requirements, they can be eliminated. If they do not have a specific skill set that the job requires, they can also be eliminated.

However, what about the ultimate finalists for the job? The candidates who meet all the requirements, who have educational and professional backgrounds in line with the open position, and who have the specific skills needed to do the job. In that case, consider this guide to deciding who is more qualified for the job:

Review the Basics

While you have already narrowed your field to those applicants who meet all the requirements for the job, you can now take a deeper look at those requirements and just how well and comprehensively they meet the requirements.

For example, in the initial phases of narrowing down candidates, you probably noticed certain strengths and weaknesses in each candidate, and overall, the strengths and weaknesses of the finalists probably balanced out. However, now is the time to delve more deeply into those and to examine which are going to impact the job you are hiring for more. For example, if one candidate has the technical skills for the job, but not the people skills, you might favor another candidate who also has the people skills to work with clients.

Consider Supplementary Factors

If you are again coming up with two or more candidates who are neck and neck as far as the basic job requirements and what they bring to the specific position, consider some supplementary factors that you may not have initially contemplated.

For example, consider which candidate may stay at the company the longest, which candidate seemed most passionate about the position or the field, or any other qualifiers that might indicate they will be more successful in the position than other candidates. Examine these supplementary factors when it comes to each finalist, and use these additional indicators to help you and the committee move towards a decision.

Final Steps

If you are still deadlocked, first, consider yourselves lucky that you have two (or more) highly qualified candidates. Then, consider some other ways to help you make the final decision. The final steps you can take as last resort tactics depend on the position, the time you have available, and more.

One of these tactics includes another interview. You can ask some further or clarifying questions, and you can even invite other colleagues to sit in for a fresh perspective. Another tactic, depending on the position, is to give them a test or “trial run.” Ask them to do a sample product pitch, test them on a specific hard skill, or ask them to see some other job-related skill in action.

Finding the perfect candidate for an open position is a challenge, but this guide can help you as you narrow down your pool of potential candidates to the best of the best.

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