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A few years back, inspired by the book “Angel Investing,” we founded FundingUniverse.com and started holding SpeedPitching events–two hour events where about ten entrepreneurs could have a few minutes at small tables with 2-3 investors.

FundingUniverse SpeedPitching events have been successfully held in six states, and are held bi-monthly in Utah. They are very affordable for entrepreneurs and they are popular with angels and VCs because they get a little exposure to a lot of deals very quickly–and save them a lot of time.

Most investors will tell you that they know within a minute or two if they are interested in a deal. But most introductory meetings between entrepreneurs (who think everyone should love their idea and can talk about it passionately for a long time) and angels/VCs are half an hour at least. Often, they go a lot longer than that, because it’s hard to cut a meeting short without appearing to be rude.

Many investors have told me they love this approach to deal flow because it saves them time.

As an entrepreneur, given the stage that FamilyLink.com is at, raising capital is not taking up much time these days. What is taking up as much time as I can possibly give it is recruiting–finding candidates on LinkedIn, responding to candidates who find us, identifying needs for positions we need to create and fill, and then doing lots of phone and in person interviews.

I blogged early today about our plan to use  a Billboard on I-15 to attract potential candidates here in Utah. But the more candidates that we get, the more time it takes to screen them, hold preliminary interviews, and then finally, get the top 3 or so candidates in face to face interviews with at least 5-6 hiring managers.

To streamline this process, what we really need to do is set up some kind of SpeedRecruiting event, where we can schedule 2 hours for all our top managers to meet with maybe two dozen or more potential recruits in a rapid-fire format. Each manager can have a prepared list of questions they want to ask each prospective employee. (It’s probably a good idea to ask the same questions each time to fairly assess the candidates for any given position.)

The goal of SpeedRecruiting would be to filter out candidates who aren’t nearly as impressive in person as their resumes suggest, and to identify top prospects for in-depth interviews with key hiring managers.

I can already see several potential flaws in this approach, but I’d like to know what other fast growing companies have done to speed up the recruiting process without ending up hiring employees that don’t end up as valuable contributors. Hiring too fast almost always ends in regret.

Have you seen any best-practices in this regard?

Help, we need suggestions here!

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5 Responses

  1. Great idea, Paul. I think one of the reasons this will work is that you will likely get a flood of potential recruits much like you would at a job fair. You will be able to quickly assess the best candidates for followup discussions. Another reason I think this will work is that it will give you a great cross section of the available talent in the community; you will be able to assess the level of position you could fill with local talent, and whether you will need to go ‘outside’ for a particular position or specialty (though I doubt you will have to). One thing you will have to watch for is talent overload. The local market is filled with young, talented individuals and you will need to have a good set of metrics with which to measure them, else you will have to deal with an overwhelming flood of qualified candidates with no way to segregate your most appropriate leaders. Interested to hear the followup on this one.

  2. Paul –

    If you want recruiting speed dating you should be using HireVue.

    The problem with having rapid fire in person interviews is the same with any panel interviews – by the end of it your managers won’t be able to remember who is who and who said what. You might as well have candidate responses to interview questions recorded – we eliminate problems with scheduling and recall and I promise that we will give you and your managers back work days in your life.

    Since we last connected we are now in 85+ countries for companies around the world. Being local, we can get you setup faster than a speed recruiting event.

    I hope all is well.

    Mark Newman
    CEO, HireVue
    [email protected]

  3. I interviewed with Ford Motor Co. last year. They used a format similar to what you are describing, just on a much larger scale. They call it their “Talent Management Conference”: http://www.mycareer.ford.com/HOWWEHIRE.ASP?CID=31

    If I remember correctly, I participated in a group interview and 3 other interviews where it was just me being questioned by 2 or 3 interviewers. I was 1 of over 100 candidates.

    I don’t know what metrics and such they used to evaluate us, but I can put you in touch, via LinkedIn, with a couple of contacts at Ford if you want to discuss it with them.

  4. Sam Lindsey

    Key is identifying what an “A” quality candidate is so your profile (e.g. role, responsibilities, performance expectations) plays an important role in reducing the volume of candidates that a mass approach can generate. I am all for “small teams of A performers” that blow the socks off the mass B’s, C’s, … that exist in the marketplace. Key is also having a front end qualifying process that gets your base down to a small number that your team of managers spends quality time interviewing. Finding the “A’s” can be done by taking the right approach.

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