How Long Do Interviews Last? A Complete Guide
Updated May 12, 2023
Companies use various interview forms in their hiring process to search for the best candidate to fill their open position. In order to plan your schedule for an interview, you can benefit from knowing approximately how long it will take. Understanding the types of interviews and how long they typically last can help you better prepare for the interviewing process when job-seeking. In this article, we discuss the various interview forms, the typical length of each one and answers to frequently asked questions about them.
How long do interviews last?
There are several forms of interviews you can experience as a job seeker. The type and length of the interview depend on each company's recruiting and interviewing process, the industry and the position. As an average range, an interview can last anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours. Here are the most common forms of interviews, with information about the length of each that you can expect:
Screening interviews are typically the first interaction you have with a hiring company and can last five to 15 minutes. In order to schedule this type of interview, a recruiter or human resources assistant usually reaches out to you by phone or email to let you know they've received your resume and have some questions. The questions they ask are to confirm basic details on your resume and check whether you're still interested in the job description. They may also ask when you're available to meet for an interview.
Related: How to Prepare for a Job Interview
A phone interview can last from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the depth of the questions. Recruiters or human resources assistants typically conduct phone interviews, and they may ask screening questions along with more in-depth inquiries. If the company combines a screening process and phone interview into one call, you can expect to confirm the basic details on your resume and answer high-level questions.
You can also expect the recruiter to ask additional questions to determine how you would fit into the company culture. For example, they may inquire about your preferred work style and environment, how you handle stress and your ability to work productively in a team environment. The recruiter may also ask you to summarize your professional experience, knowledge, and skills.
An in-person interview can last from 30 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the depth of questions and if there are people to meet in the company. You may have just one in-person interview or a series of multiple meetings. During an in-person interview, a hiring manager asks various questions about your work history, abilities and educational background. They also ask situational and behavioural questions, requesting examples of how you've used your skills in real-world circumstances. The hiring manager is constantly evaluating your responses to determine your ability to perform the duties of the position.
There are several forms of in-person interviews you can experience. For example, you may meet with the hiring manager alone or with a panel of company representatives in a panel interview. The hiring manager may also introduce you to members of the team and managers. The company may require a final interview with the department head. These last interviews usually take about 15 minutes and involve a discussion of basic aspects of the position, such as salary, work hours and benefits.
Video conference interviews
In the current era, companies are using video conference interviews to replace in-person interviews more frequently. A video conference interview is ideal for remote positions and situations where attending an in-person interview is impractical. A video conference can replace a phone call interview, allowing the interviewer to see a candidate's reaction to various questions. In addition, a company may conduct an in-depth panel interview via video conference. Depending on the meeting attendees, the questions and the interviewing process, you can expect a video conference interview to last from 15 minutes to more than an hour.
When preparing for a video conference interview, consider treating it like an in-person interview. Follow the same dress code, sign in early and maintain a professional demeanour at all times.
A technical interview can last from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. A technical interview focuses on your technical knowledge and expertise, and companies use them for highly specialized roles, such as engineering, software development or IT positions. During a technical interview, the hiring manager asks questions about the specific knowledge or skills required for the position.
The hiring manager may ask questions that determine your knowledge of terms, concepts or theories. In addition, they may ask you to perform a task, such as debugging a computer code or solving a math problem relevant to the job. Many companies use computerized software to complete technical interviews by providing you with a login to a website to complete a test. Often you have a specific amount of time to complete the test before the company grades it.
Assessment interviews can happen any time during the interviewing process and can last from one to several hours. A recruiter or hiring manager asks you to complete an assessment in one or several areas of focus. These assessments can be personality profiles or skills-based assessments like typing tests or spreadsheet knowledge assessments. A company uses assessment interviews to determine cognitive skills, deductive reasoning, problem-solving and critical thinking. They may also use profiles such as Myers-Briggs to determine your personality style for evaluating how you would fit into the company culture.
A group interview is when a hiring manager, and usually their assistant, meets multiple candidates at once. It can last up to an hour, depending on the size of the group, and it allows a hiring manager to see how candidates interact within a team environment. The interviewer may ask a series of questions to the group, requiring individual responses. Or, the interviewer may ask the group to perform a task, observing them while they work together to create a solution. A group interview can save time for hiring managers during the hiring process.
Open hiring interviews
Many companies offer open hiring events or take part in job fairs where a recruiter conducts screening interviews on the spot. Typically, open hiring interviews are shorter, from 15 to 30 minutes, as the recruiter needs to interact with as many candidates as possible. Some companies that offer open hiring events may provide time slots you can book for an interview, which may be up to an hour. Open hiring and career fair interviews are opportunities for candidates to learn about and make connections with different companies.
Frequently asked questions about job interview timelines
When searching for a job, there are several other essential interview timelines you may want more information about. Here are three other common questions about interviews:
How long does it take to hear from a company about an application?
Once you have applied for a job, you typically wait for the company to contact you. The time it takes for a company to respond to job applications depends on several factors. Some companies respond quickly to applications to fill the position as soon as possible. Other companies have a longer hiring process and may provide an extended application window.
How long after a job closing date should I hear from a company?
A closing date is a deadline for candidates to apply for an open position. Every company moves at its own pace regarding its recruitment and interviewing process, but typically you should hear from a company within six to eight weeks of the job closing date. If you have not heard from the company since sending in your resume within the first three to four weeks, it's a great idea to follow up with the recruiter or hiring manager.
How long does it usually take for a company to call after a job interview with their decision?
The time it takes a company to make its hiring decision after an interview depends on several factors. Each company follows its own protocol for interviewing and hiring, including completing skills assessment testing, conducting reference checks or conducting occupational health exams. The timeline for a decision also depends on how many interviews you attend and how many other candidates are being considered.
An organization is under no obligation to inform you of its decision. However, many companies reach out to inform unselected candidates as a gesture of goodwill and business etiquette. Typically, you hear within two weeks if a company has selected you as the best candidate. At the end of an interview, it can be a good idea to ask your interviewer politely whether they have a timeline in mind for getting back to you.
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