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How Long Does a Job Interview Last?

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The hiring manager or recruiter reached out and scheduled you for an interview. Fantastic! But now you’re wondering how long does a job interview last? More importantly, how long will this job interview last?

As a rule, the person scheduling you for the interview will give you an indication of how long the job interview will take. But that’s not always the case. So, how long do interviews last?

How Long Do Job Interviews Last?

Well, it depends on the interview! Cidnye Work, former Meta university recruiter and former career coach, says, “Most interviews are typically between 30 and 45 minutes in length.” That said, the type of interview can influence how long the interview lasts.

As Work notes, “Recruiter phone screens can sometimes be short, such as 15 to 20 minutes and final round interviews can sometimes be longer, such as an hour or hour and a half if there is a panel, case study, or other special interview or assessment.”

One thing to remember when you’re considering how long job interviews last: there’s usually time at the end of the interview for you to ask the hiring manager questions. So, if the recruiter schedules a phone interview and books 30 minutes of your time, they may ask questions for 20 minutes and leave the last 10 minutes for you. 

Expert Tip

Worried about running out of time in an interview? Remember to listen to the interviewer and follow their lead. Once they’ve finished their questions, they may say something like, “We only have time for 1 or 2 questions before we wrap up the interview today.” This is a sign they have a tight schedule and you should keep things short. Alternatively, they may not show any concern about the interview running over a few minutes because they’ve allotted a little leeway time.

Why Interview Lengths Vary

You may wonder why the kind of interview impacts how long it lasts. Well, that’s because each interview type assesses different things about your application.

For example, a phone screening is usually 30 or so minutes because it’s a quick “let’s get to know each other” session for the recruiter to figure out if you meet the bare minimum requirements for the role and for you to figure out if the job is something you’re really interested in.

In-person interviews can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes because the hiring manager is assessing not only if you can do the job but how well you might perform in it. The questions are often more in-depth and require longer, more thoughtful answers from you, which takes more time. 

In a panel interview, you may meet with multiple interviewers at the same time (like the team you would work with). Or, you may meet with the entire team over the course of several shorter interviews (like four separate 30-minute interviews spread over two hours). Not to mention, some in-person and panel interviews include time to tour the office and meet other departments. No matter the set-up, when you’re meeting a lot of people, you need more time to talk with everyone.

And a technical interview can take 60 minutes or even longer because you’re often demonstrating your technical ability throughout the interview. That takes time since you may have to draw or code something, then explain why you did what you did.

Technical Interview Prep

Learn how to prepare for technical interviews by practicing prompts and tackling coding tests and case studies.

Avg. Time: 5-6 hours

Skills you’ll build: Research, career development, technical interviews, whiteboard challenge, hash table, array

What if My Interview Is Longer or Shorter?

Remember that these times are typical, which is another way of saying “average.” If you’re worried your interview was too long or too short, keep in mind the type of interview you’re in when you’re trying to “read the tea leaves.”

For example, if your phone screen lasts 25 minutes, that likely means you and the recruiter hit it off and had a lot to talk about. But if the phone interview only lasts 10 minutes, that doesn’t automatically mean the recruiter thinks you’re not a good fit for the role. It could easily indicate they got all the information they needed from you in that amount of time.

However, if you’re in a later stage interview (like the final round) or a more technical interview (like a case study) and the interview is only 10 or even 25 minutes long, there’s a good chance you’re not right for the role. While it’s possible you wowed the interviewer in that limited time, it’s more likely they decided you weren’t a good fit and cut the interview short.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Interview

No matter how long your job interview lasts, you want to maximize that time, not only to sell yourself to the hiring manager but also to learn as much as you can about the job and the company.

And how can you do that?

Prepare to Answer Common Questions

No matter what kind of interview you’re preparing for, there are certain questions you’ll undoubtedly encounter. Read up on how to answer some of the most common interview questions out there:

Get Ready for the Type of Interview

How long your interview lasts also depends on the kind of interview you’re in. Here’s how to get ready for a few different types:

Remember the Role

While you can prepare for common types of interview questions, don’t forget about the kind of job you’re interviewing for! Your interview for a technical role could last a lot longer than the interview for a customer service role (or vice versa). Either way, being prepared for the specifics of the interview will help you feel confident and ready, no matter how long the interview lasts:

Interview Preparation: Your Own Story

Prepare for your next interview by identifying and understanding your strengths and learning how to tell your unique story.

Avg. Time: 3-4 hours

Skills you’ll build: Interview preparation, career and self-development, research, storytelling, communication

Image Credit: Canva

Rachel Pelta is the Head Writer at Forage. Previously, she was a Content Specialist at FlexJobs, writing articles for job seekers and employers. Her work has been featured in Fast Company, The Ladders, MSN, and Money Talks News.

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