How Long Does a Job Interview Last? (Plus Tips to Maximise Your Time)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 1 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The length of an interview and other recruiting processes can depend on multiple factors, including the type of interview and the company's hiring practices. Though interview processes can vary depending on the company and position, it's helpful to learn about the general process. Understanding what to expect of the interview process, including how long each stage lasts, can help ensure you make better choices during your interview. In this article, we answer the question, how long does a job interview last? and share tips on how to maximise your interview time.

Related: Interviewing Skills To Ace a Job Interview

How long does a job interview last?

As you prepare for an interview, you might wonder, 'How long does a job interview last?' The length of a job interview often varies depending on the type of interview you're attending. Some mediums professionals use to conduct interviews naturally allow for more time, while others may offer a more convenient and concise interview format. Here's a list of the different interview types with details on how long they typically last:

Phone interviews

Phone interviews tend to be the first interview you encounter during the hiring process. Typically, a recruiter or human resources representative may call you to confirm basic details on your CV. They may also ask about your available start date if you receive the job and the best time for you to come in for an in-person interview. Sometimes, they may enquire about your salary requirements. This is usually a brief conversation.

In-person interviews

In-person interviews typically last between 45 to 90 minutes, depending on the hiring manager's preferences and if you need to meet with a panel of interviewers. In some cases, you may interview with a company for up to a full day, performing some of the primary job duties under their close supervision.

Video interviews

Video interviews may occur at any time during the hiring process. Some recruiters may use video interviews in place of phone conversations so they can see how you react to different questions. If you applied for a job in a different location than you, or the hiring manager works from a different location, the recruiter may schedule a video interview in place of an in-person meeting.

Technical interviews

Some companies perform technical interviews for roles in engineering, software development and other similar positions. These usually last between 45 minutes and one hour, much like first-round, in-person interviews. They could occur anytime during the hiring process. During this time, the interviewer may likely test your technical skills. They may ask you to respond verbally or write down your answers on a sheet of paper.

Related: Written Test for Job Interview: Definition and Preparation Tips

Group interviews

During group interviews, you and several other candidates meet with the hiring manager or a panel of interviewers at the same time. Some companies conduct group interviews to see how candidates react to one another, and they also save time during the hiring process. These interviews usually last about one hour, depending on the size of the group.

Open hiring interviews

Some companies conduct open hiring events on certain days or during career fairs. During these events, you meet with interviewers at any time during their open hours. The interviewer reviews your CV and conducts an impromptu interview. In some cases, the hiring manager may offer you a job immediately following the interview. Open hiring interviews typically last anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour.

How to maximise your interview time

Understanding how long your interview might last can help you decide how to best spend the time. Follow these steps to help you learn how to maximise your interview time:

1. Create an interview plan

Develop a plan to ensure the interview flows smoothly from beginning to end. Make sure you arrive early and have your interview materials readily available, such as your CV, cover letter, notepad and pen. If you're interviewing on the phone or via video, check your phone service and internet connection before the scheduled time.

2. Prepare answers to common questions

Most recruiters and hiring managers ask standard interview questions at any stage in the hiring process. Preparing some basic answers ensures you're ready to respond without taking additional time to think about the question. Searching for common interview questions for your career can also help you understand what competencies employers typically look for.

3. Write a list of questions

Most recruiters or hiring managers allow you to ask questions at the end of the interview. Planning your questions enables you to think carefully about what you expect from the organisation. Tailor your questions to evaluate what the company expects from you, your suitability to the company's culture and the kind of people you can expect to work with.

4. Stay on topic

Sometimes you may find your interviewer especially interesting, based on their role at the company or their personality. You may want to ask more questions about their position or hobbies, which could reduce the amount of valuable interview time you have. Creating a plan helps you stay on topic and remain within the allocated interview slot.

How long does the pre-interview process last?

The pre-interview process involves the effort of submitting an application and the length of time in which you may wait to hear back from an employer. This process can vary depending on variables, such as:

When you submit your job application

Depending on when you submit your application, hiring managers might review it at different times. For example, if you apply for a role on a Saturday, hiring managers likely won't see it until the next business day. This also applies to applying for positions on holidays.

The response time between submitting your application and companies contacting you can vary depending on the company. Many companies contact you within two weeks of you submitting your application, though there isn't a specific timeframe for them to follow unless otherwise specified.

Screening processes

Some positions may have certain screening processes for you to follow, which can extend the pre-interview timeframe. These screening processes can include online assessments, background checks and other processes that test your abilities and past history. Screening processes allow companies to focus on candidates who best fit the requirements of the position.

How long does the post-interview process last?

The post-interview process typically lasts a shorter time than the pre-interview process. The employer's hiring practices can change the timeframe of the pre-interview process. Some organisations might have a longer application process. For some positions, employers may take longer to decide on which candidate to hire. Generally, organisations share their hiring decision about one week after the interview. You can ask your interviewer about this timeframe at the end of your interview to give you a better idea of what to expect.

Related: How to Write a Compelling Post-Interview Thank You Note

What are some examples of questions you can ask in an interview?

Often, interviewers ask candidates if they have any questions towards the end of the interview. It's typically a good practice to ask a few questions, as it demonstrates your interest in the position. It can also be a great way for you to continue making a great first impression on the interviewer. Here are some examples of questions that you might ask your interviewer:

  • Could you describe the typical day for a professional working in this position?

  • Are there opportunities for growth in this position?

  • What are some practices a professional can adopt to succeed at this company?

  • Can you elaborate on the management style of the supervisor of this role?

  • Do you need any further explanation on any of my skills or experiences?

  • When can I expect to hear from you about your hiring decision?

  • What are some of the recent accomplishments your team achieved?

  • How would you describe the company's culture?

Read more: How to Respond In an Interview to "Do You Have Any Questions?"

What items might you bring to an interview?

Typically, you don't need to bring many items to your interview. Professionals often bring their identification cards and might prepare a copy of their CV for the interviewer to reference. It's also helpful to bring a notepad so you can write down details about the job. You can also ask the hiring manager who schedules your interview if you should prepare any materials, as this allows you to prepare for the specific interview.

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