Startups & Businesses: Speed dating to uncover your next find

Define your role(s) before you meet the students

Before the speed dating event, get thinking about who and what skills your company requires. Consider the following:

  • The kind of work you need done i.e. a specific project, part time or a trial for a permanent role?
  • What activities or tasks will the role involve i.e. programming, content writing, website design, business analyst reporting etc?
  • What are the ‘must have’ skills or prior experience required for this role?
  • How the student will fit in with your company? Will they be working with a specific person or the whole team? Are they required onsite, or is it a remote position?
  • What can you offer the student? For instance, mentoring, industry exposure, ongoing employment etc.

Put it in writing

Speed dating events tend to be noisy, crowded and energetic i.e. a sensory overload. As many students meet multiple would-be employers in just a few hours, providing them with a company and role fact sheet after the interview can make your company stand out, particularly if they have multiple offers.  Tapview, a payments startup based at Sydney’s Stone & Chalk, is a regular participant at Ribit speed networking events. Co-founder, James Jansson, compiles a handout for each student interviewee which details the company, work involved and benefits (such as reference letters), which makes it really straightforward for proactive students to follow-up.

Get them talking

Warm up the interviewee with a brief introduction about yourself, your business or the role on offer.

Avoid the hard interview questions which could put them on the spot (i.e. the often despised “What’s your biggest weakness?) Focus on keeping it conversational, i.e.:

  • “Tell me about your passions”.
  • “What skills can you bring to the table?”
  • “Why’d you choose x degree?”
  • “What would you like to get out of working with us?