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How to Handle Speed Job Interviews

By Laura DeCarlo

First, there was speed dating, and now there is speed interviewing.

According to the Globe and Mail article, "Quick Encounters of the Hiring Kind" by Wallace Immen, speed interviews could include a circuit of as many as 14 mini-interviews of 15 minutes a piece in a row.

What is a Speed Interview?

A typical speed interview meeting could include up to 10–15 job seekers, each of whom move along to a new interviewer at the commencement of a bell.

Entry-level candidates will often find themselves in these types of interviews.

Tim Cork, president of the Toronto career transition company Nexcareer, Inc., believes, "Speed interviews should be used in recruiting at every level, all the way up to senior executives."

What is the rationale behind this type of interview? In addition to saving time on first level evaluations, Malcom Gladwell, author of Blink, the Power of Thinking Without Thinking, believes that, "The human brain is capable of making instant judgments with great precision." In his book, he presents evidence that, "A decision made in literally the blink of an eye can be just as correct as months of mental analysis."

How to Handle Speed Job Interviews

When you prepare for the possibility of a speed interview, you need to realize the importance of making an immediate positive impression, as is the case in another popular interview-type setting, speed dating. You must always look professional and well groomed; remembering always to adhere to the suggestions listed below in the interview.  According to Immen, as a job seeker you should always:

  1. Familiarize yourself with what employers want to know.
  2. Review company information including Web sites and annual reports.
  3. Be prepared to introduce your experience, goals, and prospective benefit to the organization.
  4. Make a positive impression through grooming and professional dress.
  5. Bring extra copies of employment documents, such as résumés and references
  6. Make eye contact and exercise good posture.
  7. Act mature and professional yet positive and enthusiastic.
  8. Pay close attention and listen carefully in order to respond appropriately in the time allotted.
  9. Furnish complete answers but limit them to a maximum of two minutes each
  10. Be prepared with a listing of questions to ask about the company.
  11. Ask to schedule a follow up and demonstrate interest for the job
  12. Follow up with a thank you card or email (that sells you for the position).


Bottom Line:

In a poll conducted by Career Directors International as a part of their annual Career Industry Expert Trends, 2% of surveyed human resource professionals worldwide stated that they had used or planned to use this type of interview. Therefore, chances are not very large that you will experience a speed interview, but, if you prepare for the worst you will shine in a traditional interview venue as well!

About the author...

Laura DeCarlo is recognized as the career industry’s ‘career hero’ making a difference to both job seekers and career professionals as the founder of Career Directors International. She possesses 11 top-level certifications in resume writing, career coaching, and career management; 7 first place resume and job placement awards; and has written three books on interviewing and job search including Interview Pocket RX, Interviewing: The Gold Standard, Resumes for Dummies,and Job Search Bloopers. Follow Laura on Google+ and Twitter at @careerhero.


Guide to Successful Interviews

Essential Job Interviewing Requirements:

Job Interview Tips:


Succeeding at Different Kinds of Job Interviews:

Preparation for Successful Interviews:

More Information About Interviews:

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