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Should You Try the Speed Dating Approach to Hiring?

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on September 20, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In the typical speed dating set up, a group of single people looking for love gather for a formalized meet and greet with potential partners. You may spend three minutes speaking to Sandy then, switch, three minutes with Cameron. The point isn't having a deep experience, it's developing an interest, seeing if there's a spark, and then pursuing that further afterwards.

If it can work for love, can it work for work? At least one New York firm thinks so, having turned the traditional OCI set-up in to its own form of professional, non-romantic speed dating. Should you follow suit?

What's Next, Tinder for Law Clerks?

You might be wondering, "Wait, isn't OCI already like speed dating?" Yes, it is. After all, hiring committees can see dozens of law students a day for just about half an hour each -- and often in hotel rooms, no less.

But Herrick Feinstein has made OCI even more speed date-ier. The firm recently hosted a cocktail even that doubled as a speed dating interview for 50-some law students, according to's Vivia Chen:

They mingled freely for 30 minutes with the firm's lawyers and each other. Then, with drinks in hand, each student picked a bar table and chatted up a hiring committee member for five minutes. (Students were told to come prepared with an elevator pitch on why they should be hired.) After five minutes, a bell rang, and students went to a new table to meet another lawyer. Repeat.

The whole thing went off without a hitch, at least according to the co-chairman of the firm's hiring committee, John Goldman. "We had so much fun, and students loved it because they got to meet many more people," Goldman told Chen.

Speed Date Your Way to a New Hire?

That's certainly a fast way to get through OCI interviews. And since most of the first round interviews, the worst of which barely last 15 or 20 minutes, are simply a way to screen candidates, speed dating might not be a bad approach. If you regularly recruit through OCI, it could save you some time and help speed up the process.

But we have our doubts, too. Turning your interview process into speed dating isn't exactly the most serious approach to hiring. And if you're looking for new support staff, rather than new associates, the concept could be downright off-putting to applicants who won't be contrasting it to the usual meat market atmosphere of OCI and campus career fairs. Perhaps a more traditional hiring approach is appropriate in such situations.

Have an open position at your law firm? Post the job for free on Indeed, or search local candidate resumes.

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