Thursday, May 5, 2011

Is the 10 minute interview the secret to picking a winner?


We're in the process of brainstorming our interview process. As many of you know, YCR is currently reviewing applications (we are also still accepting late apps) and from there we'll conduct face-to-face interviews with the founder(s).

One question that came up is how long should the interview process be? Some accelerators interview teams in as little as 10 minutes, yet others have a little more flexibility and spend more time with the team. I've been torn as to what is the best method.

On one hand, you may be able to gain more insight into a group with a longer interview. Some teams like to build up the story and then hit you with the WOW moment - this scenario brings out highlights of the interviewee that you as the interviewer may not have anticipated on asking. Other groups keep it to no BS and cut straight to the chase knowing that they have a small amount of time to make a lasting impression.

University of Toledo psychology professor, Dr. Frank Bernieri, noted in The Topeka Capital-Journal, that first impressions are formed within 30 seconds and often make the crucial difference in a job interview or a first date.

Fair enough. So why do job interviews and first dates traditionally last hours? If the first 30 seconds are so successful, should the job applicant get the offer letter at second #31 and shouldn't the couple start making wedding plans after that first half minute?

It seems like it's a risk if you made a favorable impression to sit around and talk.

I personally like the shorter interview such as the 10 minute one I mentioned. I'll run the 100m dash and never the marathon. Cut to the chase - state your point and answer my questions. In return, I'll provide you feedback. Seems like a win-win?

At the end of the day, what I do really know? Everybody has their own formula. One of the most successful companies in the worlds, Google, has a notoriously long interview process and they say on their website that individual interviews take between 30 minutes and hour and one may have up to four in one day. Yikes!

What do you think? Long interview or short interview?

(Image by bpsusf under the Creative Commons License)

1 comment:

  1. Applicants need time to explain why they're doing what they're doing, not just what they're doing and the how they're doing it.

    See http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html

    The time it takes will vary depending on how revolutionary the idea is and how much of the context the interviewers already understand.

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