How to Choose the Best Candidate


Hiring is the most universal and challenging aspect of running a business. You can rarely be 100% sure that the new employee is going to be the absolute perfect fit, but there are steps you can take to ensure you’re as close as possible to choosing the perfect candidate. It essentially comes down to being certain of who you’re looking for, but more importantly, why you’re looking for them.

Getting to the stage of being able to choose from a shortlist is only half of the challenge when it comes to recruitment; separating a seemingly identical group of candidates is tough. So what can you do to choose the best candidate? Check out the action plan below to ensure the next person who joins your team is just the right fit.

Why does the opening exist?

Any recruitment decision should return back to the answer to this question to determine a candidates’ suitability. The purpose of the opening is as important as the suitability of a candidate to a job spec. For example, the overarching reason for the hire may be to lead a team, rather than work on day-to-day activities. Or, the opening may exist because the previous person in that position didn’t quite fit the culture or working environment, and so the importance of the person spec is just as prevalent as the role spec. Either way, if torn between a shortlist of candidates, consider which one is most likely to solve the problem.

Are they engaged in the process?

To determine whether somebody is truly passionate about being a part of your business, consider how they engaged with the recruitment process. The candidate who who’s most likely to be a success will be the one who showed passion for the role from the offset, and made real efforts to be remembered. It could have been something small, like showing up early for the interview, or maybe they sent follow up emails after interviews. By reflecting on your experiences of meeting with all the candidates, there will usually be one who made a real effort to go the extra mile and stand out from the crowd.

Have they experienced any elements of the job?

If at this point, you’re still struggling to find a differentiator of the candidates, you can get them to try out some element of the actual role. For example, if the role if phone based, you can get them to have mock conversations as part of the interview process. Alternatively, you can see what they’d intend to action if they landed the role. By asking candidates to create a short presentation, you can give yourself an indication of their knowledge of the subject area, and how they may be able to perform on the job.

Are you focussed on potential or experience?

Too often, a very qualified candidate is written off from a process because they’re missing a year of experience or lacking some degree of technical knowledge. Although on paper the CV that perfectly matches the spec should be the obvious choice, the CV doesn’t take into consideration a candidates’ potential to grow and develop within your company. To focus your selection criteria on potential, you’ll have to be willing to be flexible with the job spec and not be confined to its requirements. Additionally, you’ll want to look for someone who shows evidence of picking up new skills quickly, rather than specialising in only one area for the entirety of their career. The benefit of this strategy, is that the person bought into the businesses grows with the company, and with any luck, starts to share your passion for the business.


In summary your priorities for choosing the best candidate should be as follows:

  • Do they solve the problem you’re recruiting for?
  • Have they shown a genuine passion for your business?
  • Are they going to capably perform the role?
  • Do they have the potential to grow and develop with your business?

We can ensure you only select the best! 

If you’d like to work with us to find some exceptional candidates, then place the very best into your business, get in touch via our contact page, or call us on 0117 946 7212