Choosing between two stellar recruits

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  Published on Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Choosing between two stellar recruits

Library Home  >  Leadership & Service Management
  Published on Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Staff recruitment is an ongoing responsibility for managers in the early childhood sector. While directors from larger centres may benefit from a centralised HR department, for the owner/directors of smaller centres it’s another responsibility to add to the list.

Recruiting new staff to the team is a job that becomes easier with practice and if a candidate has the requisite skills and experience the most important consideration is likely to be whether they will fit in with the rest of the staff and the established culture of the organisation.

But what happens if you conduct a recruitment round and end up with two high calibre candidates, with equal skills and experience who could both, seemingly, do an excellent job? Situations like this can be quite stressful for managers, it's understandable to be concerned about making the right decision and not suffering from 'buyer's regret' a couple of months down the track.

If you are left with two equally strong candidates following a formal application and interview process, then consider these approaches to making a final decision:

Meet informally

If your interview and recruitment process is quite formal, then consider meeting and talking with the candidates in a less formal setting. You could bring them in to meet other staff members on a tour of the service, have a coffee at a local café or spend time with the children in the yard. Spending time with candidates away from the stress of the interview setting will enable you to learn more about their personality and how well they would work alongside existing team members.

Think about cultural fit

Following this informal meeting have a serious think about your team dynamics and which of the recruits would best fit the established rhythms of your team. As a manager you have great insights into the peculiarities of your team, what works well and what doesn't work so well. Consider previous experiences with people who have left the organisation and personality types. Remember, your team is likely to be more successful and productive if everyone gets along.

Check references

In situations where you have two equally qualified candidates, it is very important to contact former employers/referees to ask their opinion of the person. Have a short list of questions prepared and ask referees for both candidates the same questions to ensure the process is fair. Establishing a friendly and open rapport with the referee will help you build their trust and encourage them to be open and forthcoming with you. Be sure to take notes while you are chatting, so you can refer back at the end of the call.

Ask the candidates

Another interesting approach is explaining your predicament to both recruits and asking them directly why you should employ them over the other person. This process can reveal a person’s motivations and what aspects of their experience and personality they think would be of most benefit to your team. Take this opportunity to ask about their expected pay and conditions and whether you can realistically meet those expectations.

Hire both people

If the budget allows you this luxury, then consider offering both candidates a role. As a recruiter it's rare to find two people who can do the job equally well, and the value they could add to your team is inestimable. If you can't offer both people the position, then be sure to explain your position to the unsuccessful candidate and keep their details on file so you can contact them if another vacancy arises.

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This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2020