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TIM #2: The interviews are over. How to decide who to hire?

Welcome to the weekly TIM (The Tech Interviewer Manual).

Today we discuss one controversial topic.

What happens after we have interviewed the candidates and need to decide who to send the job offer to?

We have spent weeks interviewing candidates, wrapping up our notes from the conversations and evaluating their skills.

We have worked tirelessly to create a framework which we use when assessing the candidates so we are fair to all.

And now, at the end of the process, when it seems like it is time for the work to become easier, we are faced with one of the most difficult choices - who to send the job offer to.

There are 2 scenarios in my work, which are the most difficult to take a decision:

  • there are no good candidates

  • two candidate shine brightly

1. There are no good candidates

Deceitfully easy, the right answer here sounds to be - just do not hire right now.

Keep on searching, screening and interviewing.

But I disagree - we should not just keep interviewing.

We should time box our process from the beginning - say to 2 or 3 months.

And we need to either fill this position in, or close it.

And here is what I would do if there are no good candidates.

My 3-step process:

a. re-think the job description.

I assume that I have not written the job description well - and consider removing some of the required skills needed. Or loosen them up like saying:

"I really do not need someone who necessarily knows React.js. Maybe the candidate who has 3 years of experience with Vue.js can learn to adapt. Do I have such a candidate?"

b. re-think the job position we are trying to fill

I usually ask myself questions like:

  • can this job be done in less hours (full-time v.s. part-time)

  • if I hired a person to do only 1/4 of the job, e.g. something small and specific, will that save me enough time to still be content?

c. allow for more flexibility

I check whether having the job changed to remote will attract more candidates.

If yes, I will select a few, interview them and find whether they are the ideal profile we look for.

2. There are two brilliant candidates, which one to choose?

What to do?

My advice here.

Look beyond the technical skills.

Consider what other skills the candidate needs to have to be successful at the job 2 years in the future.

You want to promote this candidate to a team leader in 1 year? Look for leadership experience - at their previous work, at Uni clubs, while volunteering.

You need the candidate to lead tech research and lead your organization in the future? Look for projects he or she completed (even in their spare time) which used a new technology.

You expect the candidate to on-board new members of the team? Look for teaching experience.

In summary, find the one non-technical dimension that is a nice-have for the same position 2 years in the future. Send the job offer to the candidate which has a proven record of that one soft skill they need to succeed in the job and cover this non-technical dimension.


The two most difficult cases that I have seen at work when deciding which candidate to hire are:

  • you have interviewed no good candidates

  • there are two great candidates you can choose from

Lucky for you, both problems are solvable.

Happy hiring!


Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

1. Send me the one burning question you have here, and I will write an answer to you.

2. Book an online consultation with me here, during which we go over 2-3 pains of yours and create you action plan to destroy them within 1 month.

3. Need help with interviewing tech candidates? Find the option that suits your needs the best here.

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