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How to decide between two great candidates

Whether you’re a seasoned employer of apprentices and trainees or taking the plunge for the first time, finding the right person for the job is crucial. The candidate must be dedicated, passionate about the role and committed to forging a career in their chosen profession.

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However, what should you do when there are two excellent candidates to choose from? It’s a nice problem to have, but you’ll still need a way of selecting the final applicant. These tips should give you some ideas for how to make this tough decision easier.

1. Gauge enthusiasm

Apprentices and trainees may have little experience in your industry and few relevant qualifications, so picking between two people on these factors is difficult.

Instead, measure how enthusiastic they are in interviews, cover letters and email communication. Are they passionate about the industry and show a willingness to learn? These are crucial traits that could be the deciding factor.

2. Invite applicants for a second interview

If you’re really struggling to find the right person, asking your candidates to come back for a second, more informal interview can help. Even their response to being asked to interview again can tell you a lot – did they sound eager for the chance or reluctant?

You may want to bring in different interviewers this time around to get a more diverse range of opinions. Make sure to ask the mentor tasked with eventually training the apprentice or trainee who they prefer.

3. Consider company culture fit

When you have two equally good candidates, you’ll need to judge which person will fit better with your company’s culture. In many cases, this may just come down to gut feeling.

However, for a more quantitative approach, why not invite the candidates in to meet the rest of the staff or set up a team-based task somewhere in the recruitment process?

4. Choose both

One way to overcome the problem of picking between two candidates is to avoiding choosing at all. Does your company have the capacity to hire more than one apprentice or trainee?

Building for the future takes time, so you may want to get an early start by taking on a couple of people at the same time.

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