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Interview

How Long Should an Interview Last?

How long should an interview last?  We get asked this question multiple times a week by both interviewers and candidates.  While there is no set or scientific timeframe set, generally most interview will last between half-an-hour to one-hour in length.  If the candidate is meeting with multiple interviewers on one day, then expect the interview process to stretch to two or more hours.

How Long Should A Phone Interview Last?

As a rule of thumb, phone interviews generally take less time to complete then in-person interviews.  Phone interviews are usually more scripted, with a rapid question-and-answer format.  The phone interview is typically used to determine if the applicant is suitable for the position and whether or not an offer to come in for an in-person interview should be extended.  As-such, phone interviews are usually set for half-an-hour and can even end in twenty minutes.

But, How Long Should An Interview Last?

As stated above, interviews generally run from half-an-hour to one-hour in length.  There really is no correct answer on how long it should last.  Generally, an interview will be conducted in a similar format.  In the beginning of the interview, expect to be asked introductory questions.  This will include a little about yourself, your most recent and previous work experience, and your education.

The length of the interview will generally be dependent on a few factors.  The first is industry.  If you are applying to a position that is highly technical or fact-based, then the interview may need to be longer in length to cover the necessary topics and information.  The interviewer will likely take some time to ensure that the candidate fully understands the information and is able to accurately and adequately explain the concepts.

Secondly, the interview may be longer in time if the position being offered is more senior or a management role.  In these roles, the interviewer will typically ask questions related to the candidate’s previous management experience.  They may ask pointed questions on the type of manager the candidate is and how they corral their team.  They may ask questions about specific situations and scenarios to get a better sense of how they would handle situations if they occurred at the company.

Another determining factor is related to the candidate’s experience level and work history.  A candidate who has extensive, varied, and thorough work history and experience may require additional time to fully explain their work history.  If the work history is tied to the current position being offered, then the interviewer may take extra time with that candidate to really get a better sense of what they had done and their career trajectory.

The last determining factor is personability and overall likeability.  If the interviewer and the candidate have a shared or common bond or if they immediately create a rapport, then the interview is likely to go over an hour.  Much of the conversation may not even be related to the open position, but rather may delve more personal and intimate and may discuss their own lives.  While this doesn’t happen often, it is one of the best things that can happen as hiring managers are more likely to hire someone whom they like.

Are Shorter Interviews A Bad Thing?

Looking from an overall picture, it is best to try to reach the full half-hour to one-hour mark at an interview.  If the interview is scheduled for half-an-hour, then it should take about a half-an-hour to complete.  Similarly, an interview set for an hour should take about an hour to complete.

If you find yourself in an interview that does not meet the preset length, don’t try to force a conversation or ask questions that don’t relate to the topic at hand.  You should allow the interview to flow and be conducted in a natural manner.

However, a U.S. News article did find that an interview that lasted less than half-an-hour may be a bad sign and that the candidate may not be an ideal fit for the position.  Again though, this is not a scientific truth.  You should always allow the interview and the interviewing process to proceed normally and naturally.

How Should I Prepare For An Upcoming Interview?

For both the candidate and the interviewer, preparedness is essential.  Both parties should review beforehand and ensure that they have completed their homework.  The candidate should research the position, the company, and the individual conducting the interview.  They should prepare a list of questions beforehand and prepare themselves to answer commonly asked interview questions.

The candidate should also prepare the details before the interview.  These details include how they will get to the interview, what clothing they will wear, what type of resume paper they will print their resume on, and if they need to bring in any additional and supporting documents.

The interviewer should also prepare for the interview beforehand.  They too should research the candidate, their previous work experience and the college or university the candidate attended.  They can peruse the candidate’s LinkedIn profile and determine if they have any mutual or shared connections.

The interviewer should prepare a list of questions to ask the candidate.  These questions should be specific and pointed and should relate to the role and the open position.  The interviewer should ensure that the interview is on schedule and remains on track and the best way to get that done is to have a list of questions prepared and customized for the candidate.

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