How Long Do Interviews Last? Your Answer Here

Do you have an interview in the near future? Wondering how long do interviews usually last? That’s a fair question. And one you should be asking yourself if you are getting prepared for your interview properly.

There are many types of interviews that you could be on. And what type of interview, as well as what type of company and what stage of the interview process you are in, will determine the length of the interview.

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Length Of The Interview By Role Or Company

Let’s say that you are applying to be a waitress. For the most part, you aren’t going to be talking to too many people. You will most likely interview with only the manager of the restaurant, and then you’ll be notified after your interview whether or not they’ve decided to move forward with you. Because of this position and the fact that the company is hospitality, you may only interview for 30 minutes.

Other interview sessions, let's say for a technology company, may have you interview on-site for a much longer period of time. Where they will have you speak with up to 5 employees of the company who you could potentially work with. When this happens, your interview sessions could be up to 5 hours of the day, speaking with one person every 30 minutes along with a series of introduction and book-end conversations with the hiring manager.

Anticipate The Time It Takes Before The Interview

In most circumstances, if you are trying to prepare yourself for the day ahead and need to think about how much time your entire interview session is going to take, you should consider arriving early and the time it takes to say goodbye. Hiring managers will usually provide you a small tour of where you’ll be working, either before or after your interview. And then you’ll want to make a good impression on the person that you were interviewing with, so you’ll most likely spend additional time thanking the interviewer at the end of the session. Consider the time that could take when determining the total amount of time your interview will be.

How Long Do Interviews Last

As a general basis, most phone interviews will last around 30 minutes. Most in-person or on-site interviews will last around an hour. Any second round interviews, where you’ll be speaking with either a group of managers or a group of your peers, that could take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours of your time. While the duration of the interview can vary, if you are present with someone who is making a decision about your employment, you are interviewing.

Consider all time that is spent speaking with employees at the prospect company you are interviewing with, an interview in of itself. You want to make a long-lasting impression and show that you could have great chemistry with your co-workers. Because of that, every interaction you have with them, even before the formal interview has started, will be part of the interview process.

If The Interview Lasted 20 Minutes, Is That A Bad Sign?

The length of your interview can absolutely be an indicator of a poor interview. Though, you'll need to look at more factors than just that to truly declare the interview didn't go as expected. If you feel like it went poorly, then it may have. Though, sometimes interviews are truly just that efficient and having them end 10 minutes earlier than expected could be a good thing, too. Meaning, the interview could have actually went well.

Most times if the interview was short, you should be able to note the interviewer's body language (even over the phone) of the interview to be able to determine if it was a good type of short interview or a bad type of short interview.

If it was a short interview and you thought it was bad, some indicators might be:

How Long Should A Phone Interview Last?

If you're being asked to participate in a pre-screen or phone interview, the general rule is that the interview should last no longer than 30-minutes. If these interview sessions didn't last that full amount of time, this could be an indicator that the interviewer felt as though you were not a good fit for the position and decided that they'd like to move in a different direction.

Though, the expectation to the interview lasting a shorter amount of time is if the interviewer explicitly mentions that they'd like to get you into the office for an on-site interview and ended the session early due to that.

How Long Should An Internship Interview Last?

Internship interviews aren't drastically different than a regular interview, as it stands for the employer. Though, the questions you'll be asked will be more suitable for the fact that you're applying for an internship. The general rule of thumb is that an internship interview should last around 30-minutes. Unless you're meeting with a larger group of employees, which can mean multiple 30-minute sessions.

How Long Does A Good Interview Last?

Being able to say the interview was "good" can be really hard to determine without speaking to a professional career coach directly. But in terms of the length of time for a good interview, it would be the full allotted amount of time they had scheduled for you (in usual cases around 30-minutes).

The exception to this is if the interview goes a shorter period of time because the interviewer feels as though you're a wonderful fit and they'd like to move forward right away. You'll know this is the case because the interviewer will express this fact at the end of a short interview. If they didn't, the chances are that this scenario didn't happen for you.

More Resources on Timing

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams.

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