When you can’t decide who to hire, take an elevator ride.

I am definitely not the best recruiter in human history, and I am certainly not the worst, but I have had some good days.

When I am working with an employer to find staff, I usually submit five candidates for their consideration, after eliminating all others. Of the five, usually, three will get a face-to-face interview. One gets the offer. But a couple of times, clients have called exacerbated, “We can’t choose between them. What should we do?”

Naturally, I tell them that I am more than willing for them to hire all three, or both, as the case may be. For some reason they don’t take that advice…

After their sarcastic chuckle, I tell them what to do:

Bring everyone together who interviewed all/both of the candidates. Sit them around the table. Give them a pen and paper. Forbid discussions. Tell them to write on the paper the name of the candidate who they would most prefer to be stuck in an elevator with, alone, between floors, for three hours. Whoever gets the most “votes,” gets the offer.

This works. Why? Because you have to like the person you are hiring. If you are willing to be stuck in an elevator with them, then that means that you believe they are the best fit for the company. Being the best fit means getting the culture. If a candidate doesn’t “get the culture,” they will not last. Culture is the most important facet of a successful placement. Period.


Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 330,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he chairs their Entrepreneurs Network, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements.