14 Helpful Tips To Prepare For A Speed Interview (With FAQs)
Updated 8 February 2023
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Companies often use different screening methods to help them identify the strongest job candidates. Employers may use speed interviews to interview multiple candidates in a quick and organised way. Understanding the unique features of speed interviews and how they differ from traditional interviews can help you better prepare for this process. In this article, we discuss 14 helpful tips to prepare for a speed interview, explore some common speed interview questions and look at some related frequently asked questions.
14 Helpful Tips To Prepare For A Speed Interview
Here are some helpful tips to prepare for a speed interview:
1. Read the job description
Read the job description thoroughly to best showcase your suitability for the position during the interview. Make sure to include keywords from the job description in your resume, such as required skills and knowledge and other preferred candidate qualities. Understand how your qualifications and aspirations relate to the job description and provide relevant examples to the interviewer.
2. Research the organisation
Learn about the organisation before your interview. Familiarise yourself with their services, goals and values. Try to learn more about the people who may interview you, such as whether they are from the human resources (HR) department or the department you are applying to join. Researching the organisation can increase your confidence, improving the chances of the company short-listing you.
3. Prepare a brief introduction
Prepare and practise a brief and compelling introduction. It is important to refine your introduction and deliver it confidently to make a good first impression. While preparing your pitch, highlight your most relevant qualifications and accomplishments and consider sharing the things about the job that you find most attractive. Try to keep it 20–30 seconds long. In a speed interview, you only have around 5–15 minutes in total to convince an employer that you are the ideal candidate for the position.
Related: Helpful Tips To Breeze Through Self-Introduction For Interview
4. Customise your resume
After gathering sufficient information about the position and company, tailor your resume accordingly. Emphasise the abilities and strengths that the company is focusing on and exclusively looking for in a candidate. Edit your resume so that it can achieve its maximum effect within a 1–2-minute scanning period, including keywords from the job description.
5. Practise common speed interview questions
Practising questions before the interview is important to respond effectively during the interview itself. Search for commonly asked questions in speed interviews and prepare your answers. Prepare your answers while focusing on the position you are interviewing for and the skills you listed on your resume. Ask a family member or friend to hold a mock interview with you. You can also set a timer to simulate the speed interview experience. Speed interviews typically last less than 15 minutes, so keep your answers clear and concise.
6. Prepare your own questions
It is likely that at the end of the interview, the interviewer may ask you if you have any questions for them. It is good to prepare for this by making a list of possible questions to ask. The questions you ask may make an impact on the interviewer, so question intelligently. Consider asking questions that are highly relevant to the role and important to know the answers to.
7. Dress professionally
As a speed interview is short, what you wear is crucial for making a good impact. Your outfit creates the interviewer's first impression of you. Dress professionally, as you would for a traditional interview. While the most appropriate clothing may depend on the job you are applying for, you would typically wear a formal business outfit.
Related: What To Wear: The Best Job Interview Attire
8. Arrive early
Try to arrive at the interview approximately 15 minutes before it begins so that you do not feel rushed. Allow enough time to travel to the destination and account for potential delays. Arriving early allows you to get familiar with the environment, relax, organise your thoughts and rehearse your answers. This may also make you feel more confident and help you perform better in the interview.
9. Bring copies of your professional documents
Speed interviews consist of many short interviews for a specific position at one location. Consider taking copies of your resume and think about bringing business cards or networking cards. You can also take reference sheets of your achievements and certifications or work product examples that showcase your qualities and knowledge. Using a portfolio folder may help you easily organise these items.
10. Greet everyone appropriately
Begin each interaction with a friendly greeting and a firm handshake. Be sure to maintain eye contact and be mindful of other non-verbal cues. Respond with their name if they have introduced themselves to you. For example, "It is a pleasure to meet you, Nidhi".
Related: 9 Common Mistakes To Avoid In An Interview
11. Limit the length of your answers
Answer each question thoroughly, but avoid lengthy and confusing responses. Try to limit the length of each answer to approximately two minutes. Listen to the interviewer carefully and respond to each question thoughtfully. Frame your responses to highlight your best qualities and demonstrate you are the ideal candidate for the role. If you do not understand or hear a question, ask follow-up questions or request clarification to ensure you provide an appropriate answer.
12. Be patient and polite
Remember that many organisations use speed interviews as an initial screening process. It may be some time before they follow up, so it is important to be patient. Keep a positive attitude throughout the interview process. Show your enthusiasm for the job, but remain professional throughout your interactions.
Related: How To Prepare For A Job Interview
13. Maintain positive body language
Your body language says a lot about you, so it is important to be aware of this during the interview. Maintain positive body language with every interaction, whether a front office executive, HR executive or interviewer. Speed interviews are about making an instant impression, and the hiring company typically declares the results within a few hours. Be conscious of body language when sitting, walking, greeting and talking to the other candidates.
14. Thank the interviewer and send a follow-up note
At the end of each interview, thank the interviewer for their time. Repeat their name while thanking, for example, "Thank you for your time today, Mr Aman". Shake their hand again before moving on to your following short interview. After completing your speed interviews, consider sending follow-up notes to each person you spoke with during the process. This may help you leave a good impression and differentiate you from other candidates. You may send these via email or as handwritten notes. Try to include details about something you discussed during the interview to personalise each message.
Common Speed Interview Questions
Here are some common speed interview questions an interviewer may ask:
How would you describe yourself in one or two sentences?
How do your colleagues describe you?
What has been the most challenging moment of your career?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
How are you suitable for this role?
How do you spend your typical day?
What is most important to you in your work?
What do you do in your leisure time?
Can you think of a particular mistake you have made and what you have learnt from that mistake?
Do you have any questions you want to ask me?
FAQs About Speed Interviews
Here are some common FAQs and answers about speed interviews:
What is a speed interview?
A speed interview is a process that involves approximately 10–15 candidates completing 10–15 short interviews for the same position. The interviews happen simultaneously, and each short interview happens one on one. Each candidate meets with an interviewer for approximately 15 minutes. After completing an interview, candidates move to the next one. The process continues until they have met with the required number of interviewers.
Related: What Is An Interview? (Types Of Interviews And Formats)
Why do organisations use speed interviews?
Organisations often use speed interviews for entry-level positions. Some also host them at career centres, job fairs or college placements. This type of interview allows organisations to screen candidates quickly and determine which candidates may be best to move forward in the hiring process.
How does a speed interview differ from other interviews?
Speed interviews are very similar to traditional interviews. The main difference is that you try to keep your answers short and precise in speed interviews. Unlike traditional interviews, speed interviews are quick and involve more structured questions for the candidates. Candidates have limited time to showcase their skills and talents and leave an impression on the interviewer. Another difference is that many companies conduct speed interviews for a single position at one location.
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