Speed Dating, Meet the Interview Process

In a world where job candidates are in abundance, how do you find the best and the brightest among a sea of eager seekers?

Well, perhaps some of the nations top medical schools are onto something. Virgina Tech Carillion is among a group of top medical schools looking beyond the grades, MCAT scores, and resume and placing a huge value on interpersonal and communication skills. As such, they are implementing a new form of evaluation for its applicants- the Multiple Mini Interview. It is a sort of ‘speed dating’ process where interviewees rotate through a series of 10(ish) minute interviews. Each mini interview presents the interviewee with a real world situation or problem and they are asked to discuss and evaluate with an interviewer. It is designed to give insight into how people think on their feet, as well as reveal how they react when they are faced with opposition or disagreement from another person. They want to see how each candidate interacts with others and if they are willing to work as a team. Admissions officers are hoping these types of interviews will help prevent impersonal doctors from going into the field and improve communication among nurses, doctors, and patients to ensure the best medical care possible.

This new type of interview is proving to be one of the most effective ways to evaluate candidates and it is something that hiring companies can use to measure the success of future employees. Studies have also shown the multiple mini interview is a strong predictor for how well people will perform in future jobs. It allows you to see how the skills and experience etched in a resume come to life in the real world. You want to find the people who are skilled and knowledgeable about what they are doing, but also those you will enjoy seeing in the office everyday and those who you feel confident representing your company in a positive and effective way.

And if you don’t want to orchestrate this complicated, structured interview process, you can create this kind of a set up where candidates can talk to multiple people on your turf in a less formal way. Throw a cocktail party, invite your candidates and see how fare in a social situation that is relevant to your companies culture and values.

Either way, this type of ‘social evaluation’ can be key to finding the best of the best- those who look great on paper and are great in the real world!

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Comment by Valentino Martinez on July 22, 2011 at 12:46am

Once a "testing" method/tool is introduced in the candidate selection process it has to be administered in the same way every time an interview is conducted to be consistent and fair, and documented as such.  Otherwise it can be challenged as flawed and possibly discriminatory. 

Therefore, testers beware. 

Comment by Alan on July 22, 2011 at 12:10pm

I heard of this in medical training situations and makes a lot of sense from a bedside manner to a communication point of view. I also experienced with a graduate fast tracking process. Here a Sr. VP had a "informal" meal with the top candidates. He wanted to evaluate their executive presence potential. One of the tests was to see who would order dessert if the SVP passed up the dessert table.

I'm always amazed at the lengths we go through to predict the future. 

Comment by Sandra McCartt on July 22, 2011 at 1:49pm

Trust me this is not new, it just got left by the wayside.  It used to standard procedure that the Big 8 public accounting firms would not hire a new grad or even someone on partner level until they had taken the candidate to dinner at a restaurant or private club where the service and the atmosphere were pretty formal. 

Candidates were evaluated on their ability to carry on dinner conversation, table manners, appropriate drinking habits and social polish to the enth' degree.  Many were eliminated because they salted their food before tasting it, ordered too many drinks or didn't order a drink.


In the mid 80's and early 90's i was retained by several public firms to work with their new grad hires in a formal dinner setting so they knew which fork to use for what, didn't ask why they were getting desert before their entree when the sorbet was served.  The theory being that a professional firm should present people to their clients who looked and acted like they had some social polish and the ability to carry on an adult conversation.


It appears that like a lot of things some of this is coming back into vogue.  In my opinon is about damn time.  :)


Comment by Marianne De Leonardis on July 22, 2011 at 1:53pm
Sounds like the "round robin" type of interviewing, where candidate and Recruiter spend the day with various hire managers..... not new, but very effective if you can get all on board!


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