Do Pizza Hut’s 140-Second Interviews Fit the New Digital Dialogue?

Discussion
Mar 11, 2013

Pizza Hut is choosing a new manager of digital media — referred to as its "Manager of Digital Greatness" — based in part on 140-second interviews being conducted during South-by-Southwest (SXSW), the 11-day tech, film and music festival now taking place in Austin.

Reporting to the director of digital marketing, the tech-savvy applicant "must be a true social media maven, staying on top of digital trends and executing new ways to make Pizza Hut the undisputed champ within the digital space." Pizza Hut has more than 10 million brand likes on Facebook, the most Twitter followers in the pizza category, and is also highly active on Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, among other platforms.

Calling it "an ode to the often forgotten elevator speech, which requires clear, concise communication when presenting an idea in a limited amount of time," Pizza Hut said the speed interviews connect with today’s digital age, likening it to how conversations unfold in real time through 140-character Tweets.

In Austin, interviews took place at the Hilton Austin from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, March 10. SXSW still stands out in indie music and movie convention, but its interactive part has increasingly become a platform for entrepreneurs and startups to network and launch social media products. Twitter and Foursquare both first earned fame at the show.

"For the Manager of Digital Greatness position, we know the interactive festival in Austin is one of the largest gatherings of talented individuals in the digital space — and one we consider a target-rich environment for finding our next team member," said Caroline Masullo, Director, Digital and Social Media.

Pizza Hut, part of Yum! Brands, is also conducting 140-second interviews via Skype and Google (GOOG) Plus.

Do 140-second interviews make sense for businesses in an increasingly digital world? How may the interview process have to change to find the best workers to serve increasingly digital and mobile consumers?

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13 Comments on "Do Pizza Hut’s 140-Second Interviews Fit the New Digital Dialogue?"


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Cathy Hotka
Guest
9 years 2 months ago

To succeed with Millennials, companies will need to think digitally. This could be a really smart exercise.

I also like the focus on succinct messaging. I have worked with a number of companies that are unable to efficiently convey their brand message; ask them what they do, and they’ll talk for 20 minutes. I’ll be interested to learn more about what Yum learns from this.

Max Goldberg
Guest
9 years 2 months ago

Nice gimmick. 140 second interviews will provide a bit of face time for potential candidates and generate publicity for Pizza Hut. The finalists will face a significantly longer process, but it’s good to see their personal elevator pitches.

Doug Fleener
Guest
9 years 2 months ago

It’s a great gimmick that will clearly get them a lot of publicity, and I’m sure it will also result in better candidates. With that said, 140-second interviews makes little sense in the real world. What does make sense is for retailers to spend less time talking to their applicants, and more time watching them engage on the floor with customers.

Kurt Seemar
Guest
Kurt Seemar
9 years 2 months ago

Interesting publicity stunt that is going to waste a bunch of people’s time. First, I am incredulous that they actually found 140 qualified people to interview a second time. Next, it seems unlikely that the interviewers can keep track of 140 candidates. The 140 second pitch is interesting idea and does makes sense as part of a longer process.

Steve Montgomery
Guest
9 years 2 months ago

Great gimmick that is generating publicity for Pizza Hut. Have often asked clients for their evaluator speech but see it as only a small (no pun intended) part of a longer interview process.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
9 years 2 months ago

An interesting new way to get their name in the spotlight. Successful as a recruiting tool? Doubtful.

Matthew Keylock
Guest
Matthew Keylock
9 years 2 months ago

It seems like fine idea for attracting interest and a pool of candidates, plus some general publicity. I guess they’ll learn whether, when and how it works over time (e.g. which roles or candidates it favors).

Digital is already impacting interviews in some ways whether by reducing distance barriers (e.g. use of skype) or through assessment of candidates’ public personas (twitter, linked in etc.).

I see this continuing to evolve further for relevant roles. For instance I see the use of real-time or live case-studies and tests for candidates being increasingly used as part of the process.

Shep Hyken
Guest
9 years 2 months ago

This is an interesting concept. I think it is impossible for an entire interview or a decision to be made in 140 seconds, but what a great filter to see who gets what Pizza Hut is trying to achieve. If the Manager of Digital Greatness can deliver their personal message in “Tweet-like” lengths, then they surely can’t do it for the company.

Lee Kent
Guest
9 years 2 months ago

Great way to get your creative on! Kudos for Pizza Hut to use SXSW in this way and a great way to get a glimpse of someone’s creative ‘greatness’. Can’t wait to hear where this goes.

James Tenser
Guest
9 years 2 months ago
First I must confess to serious case of SxSW envy. Since I can’t be there in person, it seems somehow appropriate to make a virtual appearance via RW, while watching live streaming video of today’s “100 Year Starship Interstellar Travel & Beyond” presentation by Stephen Wolfram. (True!) With respect to ‘ZaHut’s 140 people by 140 secs interview concept, I’m squarely in the “nice gimmick” camp, along with several colleagues here. But 140×140 is an imaginative hook for a marketing-driven company that knows it can’t gain a meaningful edge by tweaking its product. So hiring a SoLoMoMe guru is a solid tactic in the present moment. And using the micro-blog metaphor during SxSW is at least metaphorically appropriate. Let’s remember that a key feature of our era is a shortening of the life cycles of cultural innovation. Just as all art is ephemeral, techno-social phenomena are tending toward rapid massive onset and fast fades. So Manager of Digital Greatness is not a 20-year career. It’s a star vehicle for a social media prodigy, and an instant… Read more »
Kai Clarke
Guest
9 years 2 months ago

No. Trying to capture the essence of an interview in just the first 2 minutes and 20 seconds, as part of the decision process borders on ridiculous. Why would anyone feel comfortable with an HR decision which even included this? How could the interviewer or the interviewee even feel that they had displayed and captured their best efforts in such a short amount of time? This model reflects poor efforts, poor results and what may even become a poor career for the chosen individual.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
9 years 2 months ago

I LOVE this idea! If the job candidate cannot get their value communicated concisely and effectively, then how can the employer expect them to do it for a living?

Jusin Sanderson
Guest
Jusin Sanderson
9 years 2 months ago

Interesting concept … doubt it will work, good for publicity.

The most interesting thing to me though is the fact that (from what I can tell) the Director of Digital and Social Media, Caroline Masullo, has only one tweet. Can you direct a program and hire the right people if you don’t use the tools yourself?

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