With all things being equal, the details decide.
Translating this statement into our field:
With all things being equal: when a company talks to the best three candidates (= the shortlist) who have graduated from the same or similar schools, have worked in the same industry, who have comparable experience and successes, who have similar competences…
The details decide: well, if they are almost identical, how does a company decide who to choose?
A real life example:
One of my colleagues, an Executive Search Consultant, had such a situation. After his client met with all shortlisted candidates (Marketing Manager), they chose, let’s call her, candidate B.
My friend immediately inquired with the client about their decision process, “Why not candidate A or candidate C? What made the difference? They are all so similar.”
To what the client responded, “It’s winter time. All of the candidates were well-dressed, but only one made the effort to arrive 10 min early to change into her business shoes. The other two (also female) candidates remained in their winter shoes for their interviews. That’s why we chose candidate B.”
Do you pay enough attention to details? How often might you have not received a job offer because of something seemingly so innocent and unimportant?