How Long Do Job Interviews Last?

So, you’ve got that fateful call and have been invited for a job interview. You are probably feeling a mix of emotions: excitement, fear, determination — and lots more. And you should. According to the Recruiting Benchmark Report, only one in six candidates gets an invitation to an interview.

You may also be wondering “how long do interviews last”? There is no one-fit-all answer to this question. But there are helpful strategies that can let you predict how long the interview will take and make better use of your time.

So, how long do job interviews last?

How Long Do Job Interviews Last

How long do interviews last?

This is not an easy question to answer. How long your particular interview will last depends on several factors, which will be specific to your situation. Here are just a few factors that will have a direct effect on the length of your interview:

  • the type of interview you are going through
  • the stage of the interview process you are in
  • the position you are applying for
  • the industry you work in
  • company policy regarding interview procedures
  • preferences of the hiring manager
  • the way the interview is going
  • and more.

As there are a lot of things that influence the interview process, the time an interview may take varies from 15 minutes to several hours.

What types of interviews are there?

There are several common interview types.

Video/phone interview

The time that a phone or video interview takes depends on the stage of the interview process that you are in. Video and phone interviews are often used for the first interviews after your resume and cover letter have been reviewed. A typical video or phone interview lasts about half an hour and is used to verify the information on your resume as well as to learn more about you and your expectations from the job.

The interview may also involve questions that will help the hiring manager decide whether you are a good match for the company culture. In this case, the interview may last a bit longer, but typically under 45 minutes.

Video interviews are also often used instead of phone interviews as part of the pre-screen process. Plus, if you live in a different area, a video interview may be used instead of an in-person interview to make things easier and save time. A video interview may last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

In-person interview

In-person interviews may take from 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the purpose of the interview and the stage of the interview process. However, a standard in-person interview typically takes about 45 minutes.

Note that with some companies, you may need to attend several in-person interviews with different people as part of the interview process. For instance, you may have your first interview with the HR manager and then proceed to be interviewed by your potential supervisor, company manager, etc.

In most cases, your first interview will be the longest one as there are a lot of questions the HR manager may need to ask you. In fact, according to Indeed.com, it typically takes between two and three interviews to get a new offer.

However, the second round of interviews will typically be shorter, often up to 30 minutes long. This is because your potential employer will already have the information from your first interview to evaluate you as a candidate. They will use the second interview to ask additional questions and confirm points from your first interview.

How Soon Will I Get HR Interview Feedback?

As a second interview shows your employer’s interest in you as a candidate for the job, they may also discuss more specific issues this time: hours, salary, benefits, etc.

Group interview

In some cases, you may be invited for a group interview. Employers use these types of interviews to talk to several candidates at the same time. This often happens when the company has received a lot of applications and wants to make the interview process more effective.

Group interviews are also a great way for employers to learn additional information about the candidates they are considering. A group interview places candidates into a more competitive environment and also lets the employer evaluate their communication skills.

In some cases, the interview may begin in a large group and then the hiring managers will go on to split it into individual interviews.

As a group interview involves several people, it will typically last longer than an individual interview — expect interviews like these to be over an hour long. If a group interview is followed by individual interviews, these will often be short — 15 to 30 minutes.

Technical interview

A technical interview is an interview during which a candidate will need to prove their technical skills and abilities. As there are often tests involved in such interviews, they often last over an hour. The exact length of the interview depends on the type of skill that is being assessed.

The assessment of your professional skills may be done with the interviewer present. Or, you may be shown into a separate room and asked to complete the test within a specific period of time.

How much time does the pre-interview process take?

The length of the pre-interview process depends on the company and job you are applying for. However, in most cases, this process will include two main stages: interview scheduling and attending the interview.

  • Scheduling an interview. In most cases, the hiring manager will contact you for an interview within about one week from receiving your application. They may first schedule a phone or video interview before inviting you to the company office for an in-person interview. When you receive the interview call, use this opportunity to find out more about the upcoming interview. You can ask about how much time you should allocate for the meeting, if there is anything you need to prepare, etc.
  • Attending the interview. The next step is attending the interview itself. It’s best if you arrive 10 to 15 minutes ahead of the agreed upon start time. This will give you the time to gather your thoughts and show the hiring manager that you respect their time. When it comes to online interviews, there is also a way to “arrive early”. For instance, you can log into the conferencing platform the employer has chosen for the interview a few minutes early. This will let you adjust the equipment, make sure everything is working properly and sort out any technical issues. Your interviewer will also appreciate your early arrival as this shows that you are eager about the job and won’t waste their time.

Here are some more tips for better time management during the interview

First and foremost, prepare. Regardless of how much time your interview will take, your answers will be more complete and focused if you’ve thought about them before. This doesn’t mean you have to rehearse the whole interview. Simply take some time to think of the questions the interviewer might ask and consider your answers.

Here are some ideas: The 10 Most Common Job Interview Questions.

Don’t go into too much detail in your answers, unless prompted by the interviewer. Your answers should be clear, to the point and get your main message across. If you ramble on, the interviewer may not get the gist of your answer and you will miss out on a valuable opportunity to make a good impression.

Follow the interviewer’s lead. If you see that the interviewer wants to keep your meeting short, keep your answers brief. If you sense that the interviewer is looking for more in-depth answers, go into more detail and make sure they get the information they are asking for.

Finally, if you are worried about the interview and are afraid you might not use your time well, try to work on a mental roadmap. Note down the points that you would like to cover in the interview and try to steer the conversation in the direction where you feel comfortable and confident.

Here’s an interesting read: Best Questions to Ask an Interviewer.

Signs that you’ve nailed the interview

How Long Do Job Interviews Last

Let’s finish this up on a good note — here are some tell-take signs that you may be getting the job.

  1. Your interview lasted longer than expected. Say, the allocated interview time was 30 minutes. But the interview ended up lasting for over an hour. In most cases, this would be a good sign. It means that you’ve caught the interviewer’s interest and they were eager to learn more about you and your potential in the company.
  2. The conversation felt natural. This may be rather subjective, but you would probably have an idea of how smooth the interview went. If the conversation was flowing with no awkward pauses or uncomfortable silences. If you have a good feeling after the interview, the chances are it did indeed go well. However, it’s also important to note that a lot of companies have very structured interviews. This means that the hiring manager may stick to the scripted questions instead of allowing the conversation to flow freely. Don’t get discouraged as it may simply be part of the company policy regarding the interview process.
  3. You’ve met other people after the interview. A very strong sign of an interview going well is that the hiring manager introduced you to other people. Maybe you got to meet your potential supervisor or members of the team. This means that the HR manager may seek their approval on your candidacy.
  4. Finally, if you felt that the hiring manager was “selling” you on the company and job benefits, it’s a good indication that they want to work with you.

Increase your chances of landing the job by showing appreciation with an interview thank you email.

How long do interviews last: summing things up

So, let’s see what we’ve covered in this article.

A standard job interview takes from 30 minutes to an hour.

How long the interview actually lasts, however, depends on the company and position you are applying for.

There are different types of job interviews such as online interviews, group interviews, technical interviews and more.

Preparing for the interview will help you manage your time better. You will also be able to provide more focused and complete answers and make the most of this opportunity.

And now to the fun part — What are the Best Outfits For an Interview?

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