Can five minutes really change your future?

Can five minutes really change your future?

Daresay Team - October 3, 2018

A good digital solution is much more than the solution itself, it’s the impact that it has on people or processes. The new Speed Interview Service from Arbetsförmedlingen ticks these boxes big time.


For many HR professionals the job interview process is pretty much the same. You write a job description (or edit an existing one), describe your ideal candidate and post it on several job websites and share it on social media. Then you wait for the replies, sift through them and pick two or three to interview in person, already knowing who your favourite is, but open to persuasion from one of the other candidates.

This is a tried and tested method that interviewees are aware of; they may even be able to gauge where they lie in your ranking during the interview. But a new service from Arbetsförmedlingen is challenging this process. And it seems it’s about time, because what seems like the ideal candidate on paper isn’t necessarily the ideal fit for the job.

60,000 job ads can’t be wrong, can they?

In a recent AI project run by the Digital Services department at Arbetsförmedlingen, 60,000 job ads from different industries were reviewed to see which if any commonalities existed between them. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, most of the ads seemed to be looking for the same person, or at least the same type of person. Hard working; sociable; domain expertise; relevant experience; these types of phrases permeate most job ads. Everybody wants the ideal candidate, and if you have managed to crack the code to applying for a job you may be able to get into the top three almost every time. If you haven’t cracked the code, you might regulalry come fourth, eighth or tenth, but that doesn’t mean you’re not the best person for the job.

Or does it?

The newly launched Speed interview Service from Arbetsförmedlingen allows an interviewer to conduct short introductory meetings to get an initial insight into interested jobseekers before creating a shortlist of interview candidates. This puts new demands on interviewers; conducting a five-minute interview doesn’t leave you much time to learn the ins and outs of a person’s character but it does give you more of an idea about why they want the job and what kind of person they are – the type of information you can’t always get from a CV or cover letter.

From tenth to favourite

So far, the results of the Spped Interview Service have been pretty spectacular. Many interviewers have changed their top three picks after conducting a quick video meeting with several candidates. It seems that a brief structured video interview is all it takes to assess a person’s ability to go further in the recruitment process. And nobody has been as surprised as professional recruiters and HR staff. Some of them have begun to rethink the competence requirements they seek in recruitment.

So it seems that this service is a real winner for everybody – well apart for the select few that have cracked the application code and are usually in the top three, they’ll just have to crack the code to five minute interviews in the future.

The Speed Interview Service

The Speed Interview Service is a video interface that can be run from a phone, tablet or computer. On the interviewer side it has a timer that counts down each meeting as it happens and turns from white to red as the meeting draws to a close. There is also a function that reminds you to enquire about the competences you decided to look for in candidates. Between interviews there is sufficient time (one minute) to write a few notes and sort the interviewees into Yes/Maybe/No applicants. The interviewer can also be prompted onscreen to ask questions (that they have decided upon earlier) which can then be ticked off as they are answered. They can also see how many interviewees remain in the queue.

The interviewee side of the interface is much simpler. Interviewees can log into the service at any time and view the camera angle that the interviewer will see during the meeting. This allows them to reposition their phone or elect to use a laptop. The feature is turned off during the meeting and they can only see the interviewer. Interviewees can also see when their allocated time slot is coming up, but not how many people are being interviewed before or after them. After the meeting they are prompted to state whether they are still interested in the job. This has proved to be very useful feedback for interviewers.

The interface has a chat function but this is only used if there are technical or sound issues during the meeting. Interviewees are not able to communicate with one another.

We didn’t just deliver a design, but also  included a backlog for building features and functions consisting of around 200 user stories. These detailed every click and action scenario that can occur when an employer or jobseeker interacts with the service.

The Daresay Angle

Daresay designers were heavily involved in developing the service, which is built on WebRTC, an existing video platform from Google. The idea and basic version of the service was in place, but it required large-scale reworking of the user flows and the user experience. Working closely with the Direct Services department at Arbetsförmedlingen, we ran a collaborative development process in which we conducted customer interviews, designed the interface and carried out extensive user testing. To ensure a smooth transition from concept design to product, we provided developers (the service was built inhouse by Arbetsförmedlingen) with a complete map of the build. This included a backlog for building features and functions consisting of around 200 user stories, detailing every click and action scenario that occurs when an employer or jobseeker interacts with the service. The development team was then able to build the service ­– refining as they went with no further support from Daresay designers ­– and launch a customer-first service that is making a difference to the way people are employed.

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