The Speed Dating Interview Improve Your Odds of Selecting the Ideal Candidate

A few months ago, our manager Molly brought in a nursing candidate she really liked. I walked into the office to find a pleasant young lady with an impressive resume. She seemed like the perfect fit. Molly and I were very excited about the potential to add such a great person to our team. However, staying true to our protocol, we did not offer her a position the same day we interviewed her. Rather, we invited her back the next day to participate in what we affectionately call speed dating.

Allow me share with you what I’ve learned about the interview process, specifically how we use this powerful tool to introduce candidates to our entire team.

Business people at job interview

The candidate came in the next day to meet our team of approximately twenty-five people. After she had spent a few moments “speed dating” with each member of our staff, I was positive we would get the green light. But Molly reported that several people did not like her. She went on to describe in detail what others saw—traits Molly and I had missed.

How The Speed Dating Interview Works

I have witnessed this pattern before. Candidates show their true colors to team members, thinking they really don’t carry much weight in the hiring decision. But it is the real picture of the candidate my team sees that I value so much. In this case, the candidate was not hired.

The Speed Dating Interview has been our hiring method for a few years, and I believe it is one of the main reasons we now have such a low turn over rate. I will share the benefits of this approach with you below, along with a few tips for implementing it. If you are considering this for your team, the key is to have everyone with whom the candidate would potentially work, meet the candidate, then offer constructive feedback to the leadership staff. The leaders then weigh the team’s responses in their final decision-making.

Tips for Implementing The Speed Dating Interview Technique 

Below are some points to consider as you implement this or similar methods into your hiring processes.

  • Make the final decision, but rely on others to weigh in heavily. I would much rather turn away someone whom key members of my team find undesirable to work with, than hire them on my own and end up with a mess on my hands later.
  • When you involve others in the important decisions of adding new members to your team, you show people that you value their opinion. Twitter_logo_blue When you truly change your decision based on their input, you communicate, “I trust your feedback.”
  • New members will work more closely with fellow team members than they will with you, the leader.  So it only makes sense to allow your team to select the members of their team. If they are not feeling the chemistry, why force it?
  • If you are a small or medium sized organization, be involved with all new hires and in the hiring process. Simply stated, if you bring good people—the right people—onto your team, success is much more probable. Twitter_logo_blue
  • Make sure new candidates share the values you have already established with your team. You don’t want to teach them your values. You want to hire people who already espouse your values, then teach them the nuances specific to your organization.
  • Remember, you can and should override the team if you see something they don’t. Be wise. Personally, if my team does not accept someone, I rarely challenge their decision. However, if they really do like a candidate and I don’t, I’m comfortable to make a final decision even when it’s contrary to their positive feedback.

Hit reply to the email and let me know your thoughts.

Your Friend,
Wes Saade MD Signature

For Further Reading:

Hiring the Best
How to Ask Powerful Questions

2 Comments
  • Paul Coneff
    Posted at 09:54h, 26 December Reply

    Thanks so much for your honesty in this article on leading a team. It has a balanced, holistic approach honoring the importance of feedback, while also honoring the leader. Patrick Lencioni has written a number of best-selling books on teamwork. One of his latest books highlights the important values you are sharing, teaching real-life truths through a fictitious story about a company looking for a new employer, “The IDEAL Team Player: How To Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues.” It’s an easy read, highlighting the importance of vetting the new person being considered for an opening in three key areas: He also has a small workbook that goes along with his book, with discussion questions helping to apply what is being taught.

    • Andria Bicknell
      Posted at 12:57h, 05 January Reply

      Thank you, Paul. Great recommendation for Patrick Lencioni!

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