Talent Acquisition

Candidate Selection: How to Make a Hiring Decision

By Mike Baumgarten

Last updated: Mar 8, 2023

The screening process is over. It’s time to select a candidate — but how do you choose? Candidate selection is a crucial step in the recruitment process. The decision you make is going to impact your org — and hopefully for the better. If you have several great candidates lined up, however, the candidate selection process can be difficult. We’re here to help you make it a little easier.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • What is candidate selection?
  • Candidate selection criteria
  • Weighing up the pros and cons
  • How to make the hiring decision

Let’s get into it.

What is candidate selection?

Candidate selection is the process of finding and selecting the right candidate to fill a given role at your company. The initial step for a successful candidate selection is making a hiring plan.

The process is typically divided into different steps, all of which we cover in our 10-step recruitment guide: candidate sourcing, applicant screening, first and second interviews, skill and personality assessments, making the hiring decision, and — finally — offering a candidate the role.

This article will focus on the part of the candidate selection process where you make your final decision about who to hire. You can find all the previous steps of the process in our 10-step recruitment guide.

Candidate selection criteria

When selecting a candidate to hire, you want to choose someone who lives up to your selection criteria. Determining your criteria is similar to dividing job requirements into “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.” The difference is that at this stage, you should have gathered enough information and evidence to know if the candidate lives up to the criteria you deem most important — your key criteria.

Key criteria can be such things as skills, knowledge, competencies, attributes, and qualifications needed to succeed in the role.

Examples of key criteria include:

  • Education: a specific degree, certification, or level of education
  • Experience: a certain type or amount of work experience
  • Technical skills: specific technical skills or knowledge
  • Communication skills: strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Leadership skills: previous experience in a leadership role
  • Cultural fit: alignment with your org’s values and policies
  • Language skills: fluent in a specific language

Which criteria are key for the candidate to succeed and thrive in the role is entirely up to you to decide — after all, no one knows what your org needs better than you do.

Weighing up the pros and cons

The ideal candidate lives up to all your key selection criteria. However, you might not find a candidate who checks every box, but one or more candidates who check most of them.

The decision might be between one candidate who possesses a skill on your “nice-to-have” list and another who is a better fit for your company culture. Making a hiring decision, then, comes down to weighing up the pros and cons of each candidate.

For example, a candidate with a “nice-to-have” skill may have an easier onboarding process or bring valuable knowledge to your org. However, if that candidate isn’t a good cultural fit for your org, you may face other problems along the way. Even so — if you’re in a rush to fill the position and get the work done as soon and efficiently as possible, this candidate may still be a good choice.

If the candidate is a good cultural fit, but doesn’t have the same “nice-to-have” skills, it may take a bit longer for them to get up to speed. On the other hand, a good cultural fit can strengthen your team — and in the long run, this can be much more valuable than a fast onboarding process. If you have long-term goals that aren’t directly affected by how long it takes to onboard your new hire, this candidate may be the right choice for you.

Note: Showing candidates how they fit into your org has never been more important. Want to stand out in the crowd? Set up your company page and let The Org help you attract great talent.

Ask for insights from your current employees

Before you make the final decision, you should consult with your most valuable resource: your people. Asking your current employees for their opinions can give you great insights into the team’s wants and needs and help you determine if one candidate is more suitable than another. However, this isn’t the only reason you should talk to them.

Your employees are going to spend as much time with your new hire as you are — much more if you’re not working in the same department. They know what it takes for a candidate to succeed in the role and to fit into your org.

Ask your team or department for input. Are there any skills, competencies, or personal qualities that could strengthen the team? If you have an employee in the same position as the one you’re hiring for, it’s a good idea to ask them if they have any insights that can help you make the right choice.

How to make the hiring decision

We mentioned earlier that a candidate who isn’t the best fit for your company culture can still be a good choice if they possess skills that you need right now. But remember — hiring and onboarding a candidate can be expensive and time consuming.

To get the most out of the candidate selection process, one of the best things you can do is to look for factors that increase the chances of the candidate staying with your org long-term. These factors can include information from the candidate’s resume, answers from their interview, talks with their references, and their assessment results.

To help you identify such factors, here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Does the candidate seem enthusiastic and passionate about the role?
  • How well will the candidate be able to use their skills and experience in the role?
  • What is the candidate's potential to produce results that align with your company goals?
  • Do the candidate’s future goals and ambitions align with what your company can offer?
  • How well does the candidate align with your company values and work environment?
  • Is the applicant a team player who works well with others?

Finally, remember not to let personal bias influence your decision — and not just to ensure a fair hiring process.

Studies have shown that personal bias in the candidate selection process can negatively affect anything from company innovation to financial performance. For example, a recent study found that even seemingly trivial amounts of bias in the hiring process can produce significant productivity loss.

Key takeaways

Candidate selection is the process of selecting the right candidate to fill a given role at your company.

When it’s time to select the right candidate for your org, you should:

  • Determine your key criteria. Decide what skills, knowledge, competencies, attributes, and qualifications are the most important for the candidate to succeed in the role.
  • Weigh up the pros and cons of each candidate. What’s more important — a candidate who will be productive quickly, or one who fits your company culture? Ask your employees for insights.
  • Make a hiring decision that gives you as much value as possible. Look for a candidate who will stay long-term — they’re more likely to be worth the time and resources you invest in hiring and onboarding them.

Ready to make your choice? Excellent! Let’s move on to the next topic in our 10-step guide: how to write a job offer letter.

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