Speed interviewing--is it fair?

Did you read the article on the SHRM website about "speed interviewing"--comparable to those speed dating lunches where you sit with a potential date for 5 minutes and talk until a bell rings.  In this process, applicants go through a series of interviewers at 5- to 10-minute intervals and must tell how their skill sets fit in with the company's needs.

The article acknowledges that this process  is heavily weighed to the outgoing extroverts who can get their personal "elevator pitch" out in a few minutes.  Seems to me it would only work for a few jobs--sales and customer service come to mind.

I don't think I ever would have gotten this job--or any job--using this process, or through a "phone screen" for that matter.The article says preparation for this process is the key, but I don't think I would do well no matter how prepared I was.

What do you all think of this?




  • 8 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • i would like to know if speed interviewing works.  even though i have never tried it speed dating would seem to be at least as effective as any other way of meeting people. i wonder if the same could be said about speed interviewing.

  • For our most entry level jobs, we do a modified "Speed Interviewing" called "Open Intreview Day". Candidates complete Employment Applications, a questionnaire and a writing sample (for a job that would require them to take phone messages and complete work orders)  Then there are several managers available for interviewing candidates, asking them basic questions.  If the candidates are hired, it's for on-call positions.  Many of them have worked out and gone on to become great regular (notice I didn't say "permanent") staff.  I think it's all in what questions you're asking.  We have a list of job-related questions and some questions that give us a little insight into the character and work habits of the person.  The interviews can take from 5 to 15 minutes.  It's a good system and it works for us with these particular jobs.
  • Usually it happens in mass hiring that speed interviews takes place specially in hospitality field were you can hire entry service members.

    Of course it is not fair because to assess a candidate in the right way , it takes at least 30 to 45 mins but urgent or stressful business needs it happens.

    Speed Interviewing is fair only for temporary or casual employess were an interview can take 5 to 15 mins.

  • Speed interviewing would seem to be more appropriate in jobs where a first impression is very important - jobs requiring a lot of contact with the public. For research positions or desk jobs not requiring public contact, where other skill are more important than first impressions, this might not be as effective a way to interview.
  • Though we don't do in-office speed interviewing, we do participate in college career fairs. With a lot of students coming up to us it has the same effect - we can size them up pretty easily and target the ones to call for interviews. It is a bit weighted to personality - at least to handshakes and eye contact - but we have found that even stereotypically introverted engineers function much better in our org. if they have good communication skills.
  • While I usually get a feel for the person in the first few minutes, I don't think this style of interviewing is fair.  Just because a person isn't outgoing doesn't mean they won't be a good employee.  For me personally, I don't interview well anyway - I do better by showing you what I can do.  If I was put in that high pressure interview, I don't know that I would come out on the best end of it.

     As you said, it might be applicable for jobs that require really out-going, fast-thinking type individuals.  However, overall, I don't like it.

  • You mentioned phone screening - I phone screen all of my candidates.  As you mentioned preparation is a key component.  I ask all of my candidates the same questions to make sure they have the skills/requirements we need for the position. It doesn't make sense for me to have a candidate come in and waste his/her time or the manager's time if the candidate doesn't have the skills/certification we are looking for, doesn't want to travel around the area (a requirement for most of my positions), isn't looking for a salary in the same range, etc. 
  • IT HR makes a good point.  I always used phone interviewing when I was working in recruiting and hiring.   For one thing, I would have to call people to set up interviews anyway so why not screen them a bit first?  Then, if that went well, I would set the interview.   I was always really upfront about compensation and it saved lots and lots of time, for both parties, to have that out of the way before proceeding through a series of personal interviews.  I didn't tell the people I called that it was a phone interview nor did I tell them I was calling to set up an interview.  I would usually open with something like, 'I have your resume here and just had a couple of questions."  Seems like that kept the person from getting all nervous.    That said, if you aer going to have to interview a lot of people, and you need to get it done quickly, I don't see much wrong with speed interviewing.  Just have your questions prepared beforehand.  I also agree with the person who said they often make a judgment about a candidate in the first few minutes.  I used to interview quite extensively (upwards of 250 people per year) and in only 2 or 3 cases was that first impression very far off base.        
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