Getting the Most Out of Tech Speed Interviews

Speed Interviews: Not Just for Dating Anymore

We live in a fast-paced, high-touch point world. We are now accessible on various devices at all times of the day. With that, there’s an inherent need for speed—in everything we do.
Speed interviews, which have most recently become popular as an effective recruiting tactic for technology professionals, typically result in the same high quality hires but take much less time than the traditional interviewing lifecycle. The technique has proven effective in hiring for a wide variety of positions including project managers, business analysts, developers and the like.

The Players, Who’s Involved

Successfully conducting speed interviews primarily involves three people on the interviewer side, and then of course the candidates themselves:

  1. The recruiter
  2. The interview facilitator
  3. The employer's hiring manager

Each plays a critical, but quick role in the speed interviewing process. The recruiter's role is standard, as is the role of the hiring manager. The interview facilitator’s primary task is to organize and manage the speed interviewing process.

The Speed Interview Process

The facilitator organizes and manages the process while the recruiter and hiring manager conduct the interviews and make decisions. After the recruiter finds potential candidates for the job opening, the list of candidates is trimmed to five or six. Interviews take place in one day over the course of 2-3 hours. Each candidate is interviewed by the hiring manager for about 15 minutes while the facilitator keeps track of the time.

The hiring manager either concludes the interview or asks for a short extension (usually 5 minutes). As the next interview proceeds, the interview facilitator debriefs the recently interviewed candidate to gather feedback on the process and their interest in the position. After the first two interviews, a 10-minute break gives the interviewer(s) a chance to regroup and prepare for the next set of interviews.

Once all five interviews conclude, the facilitator then debriefs the hiring manager for their opinions of the candidates. Usually, two candidates out of the five are selected for longer, more detailed interviews with the IT team.


Benefits of Speed Interviews

Save Time

The hiring manager has already gauged the candidates’ personality and skills so the production team’s time isn’t wasted on interviewing unsuitable prospect

Put Down the Phone

Speed interviews eliminate often lengthy telephone interviews, which frequently take from 45 minutes to an hour each. The time saved can add up to several hours..

Learn Your Options

The candidates get one-on-one face time with the hiring manager..

Move Quickly

Instant feedback from both the candidates and the hiring manager provides insight into the program’s effectiveness.

Less Interruptions

Production people aren’t pulled away from their jobs to interview non-qualified candidates. This can save hours of costly production time.

More Quality Candidates

The process has proven to be as effective in hiring quality people as conducting lengthier interviews with more candidates..


Speed Interview Tips

So, what if you want to implement speed interviewing into your next new hire, or, if you’re a candidate on the job market about to partake in a speed interview for an opening you’re interested in—here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind if you’re about to enter into this fast paced arena:

1. Five candidates is the optimal number. It’s a broad enough selection, while still shortening the hiring process for all involved.

2. Designate a knowledgeable person as the interview facilitator. For the method to be most effective, someone has to maintain time constraints and organization. Without a firm structure the process won't work. This person also plays a key role in the post-interview assessment with the candidates, where he/she can gauge if speed interviewing is the best platform for the opening.

3. Prepare folders for the hiring manager prior to the interviews that contain a schedule of the interviews and the candidates' resumes. The hiring manager can use these folders to make notes. And for the candidates, it’s a great all-inclusive profile in which they can sell themselves, albeit quickly, to the hiring manager. (As a side note to candidates: Always make sure you come prepared with a couple extra copies of your resume so that you can follow along, as well as hand out a couple should you need to.)

4. Have the candidates arrive at least 15 minutes prior to their designated interview time; candidates, this should be common practice for all scheduled interviews, speed or otherwise. This builds in time for unanticipated problems. Prepare the candidates by describing the process to them so they won't be flustered by the speed and intensity of the interview.

Want guidance or help running speed interviews for your technology teams?

Email the experts at Randstad Technologies at


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