Is speed-dating the route to great recruitment?


Recruiters are more pressed for time than ever before as business, work and every kind of pressure conspire to squeeze time out of diaries. Speed dating is the go-to model in our time-constrained world for matching couples: dragon’s den entrepreneurs with business angels, pets with owners and now, recruiter with candidate. But is speed dating really the perfect model to a sound hire?

The psychology of speed dating is a bit like the principles behind brain storming. Discuss ideas quick fire with lots of colleagues and you’re likely to hit on the breakthrough solution. Likewise, if you fleetingly meet many potential partners, so the argument goes, you’re more open, less judgemental and chemistry is more likely to happen!

Of course this may not be such a good thing for recruiters.  The wrong candidate hired in a euphoric rush of dopamine, could prove very expensive indeed. Other facets of romantic speed dating may give you pause for thought. Of women who do a lot of speed dating, the bigger pool of potential partners they “date”, the fewer potential partners they select.

One recruiter that thinks speed dating works is Luxembourg-based online recruitment platform, Individuum, who hosts ‘speed-dating interview days for recent graduates and local employers. Participants hurtle around a series of activities from introductions to company reps, to participating in mock-interviews and putting questions to the event’s special guest speakers.

“Speed-dating is all about giving students a chance to shine in front of potential employers”, says Per-Fredrik Hagermark.”It’s great fun for them and for us it’s crucial to also introduce students to the possibilities of working in start-ups or even starting on your own.”

All exciting stuff, but as Pers Frederick is the first to admit, the onus is very much on introductions. Now in a bygone era of boom economy, recruitment was all about the introduction. But in the new world order of meagre growth, employers are pickier and employees have to go the extra mile; love at first sight is not the thing it was once cooked up to be. Now new hires have to help the business over the long haul.

Some recruiters in the profession, such as Greg Savage, are advocates of the ‘Placement Architecture’. Savage outlines three components in a strong hiring process:

Take the time required

Recruitment is a series of discrete human interactions. Great recruiters manage, control, and influence the outcome of each of those interactions to maximise success.

Listen better than ever before

Uncovering, questioning, and understanding are sadly undervalued recruiter skills that we need to hire and coach back into our business. It sounds counter-intuitive, but great recruiters will be “slow to understand” on purpose.

Question everything

The biggest cause of placements falling through is people making assumptions. Recruiters taking what they are told at face value. Ask for the “why and how” of everything that does not ring true, and don’t stop asking until you get an answer


So there’s the process lover’s view of recruitment. But the fact remains that speed dating is catching on in recruitment, especially on university campuses where for students and employers it’s a souped-up adjunct to the traditional milk round. Job seekers cruise around the employers’ tables and meetings last anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes.

While there are no guarantees of employment, attendees get valuable information and feedback recruiters generally don’t have the time to offer up online. And for recruiters getting to meet dozens of viable workers in person makes their job easier and more efficient.

Combine speed dating intros with proper placement architecture and you’ll be onto a winner.


  1. Julia August 28, 2014 at 1:09 am

    I’m interested in this position

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