Is a Short Job Interview Bad?

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February 4, 2020
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min read

How long your interview lasts can be a good indicator of how your interview went. However, it's not the only deciding factor on if you will get the job or not.

We are going to break down when a short interview is a bad sign and when it won't affect your chances of getting a job offer.  Below are some advice and guidelines for how long your job interviews should be based on who your conversation is with. 

Who are you interviewing with?

The biggest factor in how long your job interview should be is who your interview is with. The hiring process is long and chances are you will have multiple interviews before a decision is made. Before panicking if your interview was only 10 minutes, remember each round of interviews will vary in time. Every company handles the hiring process differently and interview times will vary throughout your job search. 

Recruiter or Human Resources

Your initial interview at a company will most likely be with a member of human resources or a recruiter. The interviewer's main objective is to confirm your experience and decide if you are a good candidate for the role. This meeting will be shorter and might only last a few minutes with limited questions.

This first step might also take place on the phone. The recruiter will ask a few questions about your resume and background, and if they feel you are a good fit for the job, they will set up a time for your next round of interviews. Their main objective is to put together a list of candidates for the hiring manager to interview.

If it's short, it's not a bad sign. It's the beginning of your job search so consider it passing the gatekeeper for the company.

Hiring Manager

The interview with the hiring manager will take up the most time. It could easily last thirty minutes, an hour, or more. The interviewer will ask multiple questions on your experience.

They want to confirm if you are a good fit for the open role. You want to prepare each answer and take your time with your responses.

Before your interview with a hiring manager, have a good understanding of the job description and requirements for the job.

Your resume should reflect your skillset, but be ready to answer questions about your knowledge and background in your field.  Your answers to these questions will help drive the interview and the time you will be given. This will help the person conducting the interview to process you as a candidate.

The interviewer wants to get to know you both personally and professionally. Stay on track and try not to ramble on. The impression you give the employer could make or break your future career. 

Team Members

If your interview with the hiring manager goes well, they may introduce you to other members of the team. While still part of the interview process, expect these meetings to be more informal. The interviewer may do this to see if you fit in well at the company managers.

It's a great sign that your job interview is going well if you meet more people than scheduled. Don't be surprised if they only ask you a few questions. You may only spend about 10-15 minutes with these people.

They will most likely just look at your resume and ask you about your experience. Candidates should not think negatively if this part was a short interview. 

Senior Management

The amount of time your interview with senior management or a c-level executive will last depends on the role you are interviewing for. This is usually one of the last interviews in the process. It's a great sign if you are brought in to meet with the higherups at the company.

Not all candidates are given this opportunity. If you are interviewing for a lower-level job, your meeting with a senior manager might only be a few minutes.

The hiring team has already made the decision you are a good fit for the role. It's not a bad sign if they only ask you a couple of questions about your experience.  

How long does a good interview last?

If the role you are applying for at the company is a more senior position, your interview with senior management will take more time.  Before your job interview, do a quick search on the company's website on the executive team. Usually, they have bios on their role and experience that you can reference during your interview. 

You will want to have a strong thoughtful answer to each of their questions. This interview could make or break your chances of getting the job. If the interviewer cuts your time short, it could be a bad sign. 

Final Thoughts

Is it bad if your interview is short?

A short interview is not always a bad sign. Each job interview you go on will be different. The most important thing is to be prepared for each interview.

Practice answers to common interview questions. Make sure you properly follow up to all of your interviews by sending thank you emails. Stay positive and confident and you will limit the bad interviews!

How do you know if an interview went badly?

Trust your gut. Regardless of how long your interview lasts, you will have a sense of how it went. Pay attention to all the signs such as body language and feedback. If you are constantly striking out, ask a past interviewer why you aren’t getting hired at other companies.

The answers might not be easy to hear but can help you become a more professional job interviewer and help land you the job of your dreams.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the length of a job interview be indicative of the hiring manager's interest?

Yes, the duration of an interview can sometimes reflect the interviewer's level of interest. A very short interview may suggest that the interviewer has quickly determined a candidate's suitability, either positively or negatively. However, it's important to consider other factors such as the interviewer's schedule, the interview format, or the position's requirements before jumping to conclusions.

What are some positive signs to look for during a short job interview?

Even if an interview is brief, certain positive indicators can suggest it went well. These include the interviewer discussing next steps in the hiring process, asking for your availability for follow-up, or expressing clear interest in your qualifications and experiences. A focused and efficient interview can also be a sign of a well-organized hiring process.

How should a candidate follow up after a short job interview to gauge their standing?

After a short interview, it's appropriate to send a thank-you email within 24 hours, expressing gratitude for the opportunity and reiterating your interest in the position. You can also ask for feedback or inquire about the timeline for the hiring decision. This follow-up demonstrates professionalism and can provide further insight into your interview performance.

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.

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