How Long Do Job Interviews Last?

Calendar Icon
February 4, 2020
Edited by
Clock Icon
min read

Many factors can affect the amount of time you are given. In this article, we provide a few tips to help you make the most out of the time you have for your job interview. 

Screening Interview

The first step in the interview process is usually a screening interview. This allows interviewers to search for the skills and specific type of experience needed for the hire. This could be a phone call or an in-person meeting with candidates.

For most people, this interview should last thirty minutes or less. The initial conversation simply is for the company representative to screen you as a potential candidate, so don't expect it to be an hour.

They want to confirm that your background is a good fit for the role in a short amount of time with some key questions. The interviewer may only ask a couple of basic questions before deciding.

Don't be discouraged if this interview is short. Chances are the person you are speaking to is a recruiter or member of human resources and is simply putting together a list of candidates for the open position.

Hiring Manager

After your initial screening, you will be brought in for an interview to meet with the hiring manager. This interview should take up the most time. At this point, you may be wonder, with the hiring manager, how long should an interview last?

Candidates should be prepared for at least thirty minutes of questions and answers. It could easily last an hour, and could take a long time for them to bring out another manager should they choose to schedule your second interview on the spot.

The interview with your future manager will likely be the most in-depth. It's a good sign if it goes over the allotted time. Don't feel bad if it doesn't go over. People may only have a dedicated amount of time to meet with you though. 

Hiring managers want to get to know the candidate. They tend to ask questions related to your background and skill set. It could be a bad sign if this interview only lasts a few minutes. It takes more than a few minutes for you to learn about the role and express how you are the right candidate for the job. Stay on track so that you utilize the minutes you are given to ask and answer questions. 

Every company is looking for different qualities in their potential candidates. Use the time you are given while interviewing to leave a good impression. Practice your answers to common interview questions in advance.

Each question you are asked affects your chances of landing the job. Interviews are often stressful so preparing in advance can make you an ideal candidate

Team Members and Coworkers

If your interview with the hiring manager goes well, you could be asked to meet with future team members. It's not uncommon for a person to just pop in for a few minutes to chat with candidates. Chances are, these people weren't prepared to interview you and just want to see how the interview is going.

Do not plan on these lasting nearly as long as the initial meeting with the hiring manager. They may only have a question or two for you. Take it as a great sign that the company wants to see if you mesh well with the team. Not all candidates will make it this far in the interview process. 

Senior Management and Executive Leadership

How long should an interview last with senior management? The position you are interviewing for could affect the amount of time an interviewer at the company will give you.

If you are going for a more junior role, don't expect more than a few minutes of their time. If they only ask you a question or two, it's not necessarily bad. An hour of someone's time that you will not have much day-to-day contact with is unlikely. 

If you will be directly reporting to members of senior management, your interview should last longer. Plan on at least thirty minutes for a senior position.  Typically, if you are interviewing for a higher-level role, you will have more rounds of interviews. 

If you're giving a presentation as part of your interview, that meeting could last longer. Presentation interviews can last an hour and half, to allow enough time for questions and answers at the end.

Bottom Line: How Long Should an Interview Last?

Every company has a different interview process for its candidates. How long an interview lasts will depend on the position and job you are applying for. Each candidate will be given time to answer a series of questions.

Some may last a few minutes with others lasting an hour. Stay focused during your interviews and you are sure to eventually land an incredible job.

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors influence the duration of a job interview?

The duration of a job interview can be influenced by several factors including the level of the position being applied for, the industry, the company's interviewing style, the number of interviewers present, and the complexity of the job's responsibilities. Higher-level positions often require longer interviews, as do roles in industries with specialized skill sets. Additionally, panel interviews or interviews with multiple rounds may extend the overall time.

Is there a difference in duration between a first interview and subsequent interviews?

Yes, typically a first interview is shorter, lasting around 30 minutes to an hour, as it serves as an initial screening to assess the candidate's basic qualifications and fit for the company culture. Subsequent interviews are often longer, sometimes up to several hours, as they delve deeper into the candidate's skills, experience, and may include assessments or meetings with multiple team members.

How can a candidate best prepare for the varying lengths of interviews?

Candidates can prepare by researching the company and the specific role to tailor their responses to likely questions. It's also beneficial to practice concise yet thorough answers to common interview questions. For longer interviews, candidates should be ready to provide detailed examples of their work and think critically about their experiences. Time management skills are crucial, so practicing with a timer can help candidates get a feel for pacing their responses.

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

We help you find
the career dream.