How Long Does a Job Interview Last?

How Long Do Interviews Last? | Types of Job Interviews |

During an interview, you have a limited amount of time to make a lasting impression that makes you stand out as the best candidate. Knowing how long your interview could last can help you prepare to maximize your time with the interviewer or hiring manager. This article discusses how long each step of the interview process lasts to help you prepare for a job interview.

How long do interviews usually last?

The average length of an interview can be anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours. There is no one set length of time an interview can last. The length of your interview can vary based on several factors including the type of interview it is, what stage of the interviewing process you are in, the industry or type of position you are interviewing for and the personal preferences of the interviewer or hiring manager.

How long is the pre-interview process?

Here are the two main stages of the pre-interview process:

Scheduling an interview

Typically, the employer will contact you within a week from the time you submit your application or resume to schedule an initial interview. This initial interview can be a phone interview, video interview or an in-person interview, depending on the employer’s preference. When the employer contacts you to schedule the interview, you can begin preparing by asking the amount of time they are allocating on the schedule for the interview. This question will tell you how long the interviewer expects the interview to last.

Arriving at an interview

The next stage in the pre-interview process is arriving at your interview. You should prepare to arrive at the interview about 10 to 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time. Arriving early shows the interviewer you respect their time and are serious about the position. It also highlights your time-management skills.

You can also plan to arrive early for a phone or video interview. For online interviews, you can log in to the conferencing system early and wait for the interviewer to arrive. For phone interviews, make sure you don’t miss the interviewer’s call by turning up your ring volume and waiting for the call a few minutes early.

How long are different types of interviews?

Here is a breakdown of each interview type and how long they take:

Phone and video interviews

The amount of time you can expect a phone or video interview to last varies depending on where you are in the interview process. Recruiters and human resource specialists typically use phone interviews to contact candidates for an initial interview known as the pre-screen interview. A pre-screen phone interview usually lasts 30 minutes or less and involves the recruiter verifying information on your resume, asking for your desired start date and salary expectations and scheduling an in-person interview.

The recruiter or human resource specialist may also use the pre-screen phone interview to ask questions that help them determine your fit for the company’s culture and the position. If they are asking you these questions in addition to discussing the standard pre-screen information then you can expect this initial phone interview to last between 30 and 45 minutes.

Interviewers can use video interviews during any part of the interview process. They may use a video interview instead of a phone interview for the initial pre-screen interview. Interviewers and hiring managers may use a video interview instead of an in-person interview if you live in a different area than where they are located. You can usually expect a video interview to last between 15 minutes and an hour and a half depending on where you are in the interview process.

In-person interviews

In-person interviews can range in time from about 30 minutes up to several hours. A standard in-person interview for an entry-level position will usually last between 45 minutes and an hour and a half, while an in-person interview for a technical, mid-level or high-level position may last longer.

You may also be asked to attend several in-person interviews throughout the hiring process. For example, you may have an in-person interview with a supervisor or manager and a second-round interview with the department head or an executive-level employee. Typically, a second-round in-person interview will be shorter than the initial in-person interview and will be about 15 to 30 minutes long. The employer will usually use the initial in-person interview to assess whether you are a good fit for the position and the company, while they use the second-round in-person interview to discuss salary, benefits and work hours.

Group interviews

Because there is more than one candidate present during a group interview these interviews are typically at least an hour long. Employers use group interviews to interview several candidates at the same time. Doing an interview this way allows the employer to see how candidates respond and interact with each other and to save time by interviewing several people at once. Sometimes the interview will begin as a group and then be broken down into individual interviews with supervisors and managers.

Technical interviews

Technical interviews require a candidate to prove their technical skill and ability to perform the tasks they will be responsible for in the position they are applying for. Technical interviews typically last for at least an hour and may last for several hours depending on the type of technical skill being assessed.

Technical interviews can occur during any phase of the interviewing process and are common for positions in engineering, information technology and software development. During an in-person technical interview, the interviewer may ask you to write your answers on a piece of paper or a whiteboard. Sometimes, they will ask you to complete a technical questionnaire prior to an in-person interview by logging in to a secure portal where you will have a set amount of time to complete each technical assessment.

How to maximize your time during an interview

The following steps can help you maximize your time during an interview:

1. First, practice answers to common interview questions

Practicing answers to common interview questions that you expect the interviewer may ask can help you prepare how much time you should spend focusing on each answer. You can prepare the length of your answers by asking a friend or family member to do a mock interview with you and timing your responses. Doing a mock interview can also help you estimate how long an interview might last if the employer doesn’t tell you how much time the interview is scheduled for.

2. Second, prepare questions for the interviewer

You should try to prepare a list of specific topics you want to discuss during the interview and any questions you have for the interviewer. Doing this provides you with an outline that can help you move from one topic to another to maximize the time you have during the interview.

3. Finally, keep the discussion relevant

When you are in the interview you should try to make sure the discussions you have with the interviewer remain relevant and on-topic. While some interviews may turn casual or veer slightly off-topic, you should try to steer the conversation back to topics that highlight why you are the best candidate for the position. Doing this can help you prevent missing the opportunity to discuss the things that make you the best candidate before the interviewer runs out of time.

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