Making your final hiring decision

Once you've finished interviewing jobseekers and made a shortlist of the best candidates, it's time to make a final hiring decision. Accelerating this process can help you avoid a slow hiring process and secure the best talent.

Choosing the right candidate for the job may not be as straightforward as you think – even if they seem to meet all your essential hiring criteria. Be sure to follow these basic guidelines when in the final stages of making a hiring decision to secure the best person for the job.

Apply objective hiring criteria

When evaluating the top contenders, it may be tempting to choose someone on the basis of one positive attribute that particularly stood out for you. This can be a recipe for trouble later. Make sure your hiring process follows a level playing field in which each candidate is judged against identical selection criteria.

That's not to say that your final hiring process can't be an art as much as a science. To ensure your final decision is as objective as possible, however, check your hiring criteria again to make sure your top choice closely matches the job requirements you originally identified for the role. In particular:

  • How much experience does he/she have doing the work required for the job?
  • What relevant advanced skills can he/she bring?
  • How much training will he/she need?
  • How quickly will he/she be able to work without supervision?
  • How fast did he/she progress through previous roles and responsibilities?
  • Was he/she able to provide quantitative evidence of past career achievements?
  • How recent were those achievements?

You will also want to rank all your shortlisted candidates based on how well they fit with the team and company culture. Don't let yourself be dazzled by a candidate's skillset and smarts alone. Having just one employee who doesn't embody the right attitude can be detrimental not just to the morale of the team, but to the whole business.

Final reference checks

By this stage, you may have already checked at least one or two references for each shortlisted candidate. But if your top candidate included more referees on their resume, it doesn't hurt to call them up as well. This can be an opportunity to fill in any blanks in relation to the candidate's skills or personality attributes. As previously noted, stick to questions that relate directly to the job and hiring criteria and do not violate discrimination laws.

Make sure all stakeholders are in agreement

If multiple internal stakeholders are involved in the hiring process, make sure that everyone – or at least the key decision-makers - are in agreement before you move forward and make a formal job offer.

A hiring process can quickly go off the rails if a candidate is left waiting too long for a final decision, so make sure you set a clear deadline and that all stakeholders stick to it. If, for any reason, more time is needed, make sure the candidate is informed right away.

Who you choose to hire makes a big difference to the success of your organisation. Follow these steps, and you are well placed to make the right hiring decision. 

Want more hiring tips and recruitment advice? Visit our recruitment process hub.