How Long Should An Interview Last?

How Long Should an Interview Last

Whether you’re someone who enjoys job interviews, or someone who finds them terrifying, it can often feel like time doesn’t behave normally while the interview is going on.

Sometimes an interview can feel as though they go on forever, while in others it can feel like time went by incredibly quickly.

This can make it hard to judge how long an interview will last, and this is made even more complicated by the various different types of interviews that you could have to do.

How Long Should an Interview Last

There are various styles of interviews from video interviews to panel interviews and even group interviews, and each type of interview can have a huge impact on how long the interview lasts, as well as other dynamics that can change the whole format and process of the interview.

In this guide, we’re going to look at how long interviews last to give you a better understanding of what to expect, as well as how to prepare and organize yourself to take full advantage of the opportunity and put yourself in the best position to succeed.

How Long Do Interviews Generally Last?

Getting an idea for how long interviews will last is a key part of structuring your approach to the interview as well as organizing your life around it.

If your recruiter is well organized they will have given you a rough estimate of how long the interview could last, but oftentimes these estimates are either wrong or not available, meaning candidates are left mostly in the dark and unsure what to expect.

Some interviews can last as little as half an hour, while others can take over an hour, it’s generally dependent on the format of the interview, as well as the type of position you are applying for and the industry into which you are applying.

To get a better idea of how long the interview will take, it’s important to look at the type of interview you’re expecting to do.

Phone Interviews

Phone interviews are one of the most common types of interviews and are generally the first point of contact between the interviewer or recruiter and the candidate.

Phone interviews are common because they’re a little easier to set up.

Often these interviews won’t go into too much detail, and will mostly involve confirming details and asking preliminary questions, to gauge whether you’re suitable for the position and should be allowed to proceed to the next level.

However sometimes phone interviews are the only part of the process and while this is less common, these interviews will often last a little longer.

If you’re only answering basic questions about you and your CV, you can expect these interviews to last as little as 15 to 20 minutes, however, you should plan to allow for at least 45 minutes, as some phone interviews will last much longer depending on the factors mentioned earlier.

In-Person Interviews

In-person interviews are much more of a commitment for both the candidate and interviewer and generally represent a much more serious and involved layer of the recruiting process.

These interviews are generally a second or third stage of the process when final candidates are being chosen, and as such, they will often be much more specific and go into far more detail, which can make them take much longer, as well as the extra time it takes to get to the interview location.

These interviews will generally last some 45 minutes to an hour and a half depending on various factors, however, it’s not unheard of for some interviews to take even longer for certain positions.

In-person interviews may also include office tours or other extra commitments of time, so generally, your day should be entirely structured to accommodate a large time investment in the interview process.

Video Interviews

Videos have become more and more common, and they are replacing phone interviews almost across the board.

Generally, they will last for around 30 minutes and follow a similar pattern to phone interviews, however, some video interviews can last for over an hour if it’s a second or third stage interview, so be prepared for this and plan accordingly.

Panel Interviews

Panel interviews can last well over an hour as you will be meeting and answering questions from multiple people simultaneously which often slows the process down and makes it much more specific and scrutinous.

These are uncommon, but again, it’s a significant time investment for you as a candidate, so plan accordingly.

Group Interviews

Group interviews are another popular choice, and while these may be a time saver sometimes, they are often much longer than standard interviews and can take several hours in some cases, depending on the number of candidates.

Preparation Tips

Bring Some Water

Always bring a water bottle to your interview, whether it’s at home in your office or elsewhere. You’ll be doing a lot of talking, and being able to pause for a drink will also allow you to take some time to think of an answer to a question if you’re stuck.

Check Everything Before The Interview Starts

Check everything before you start your interview. If it’s in person, check your breath, check your tie, and check your notes. If it’s a video interview, check your equipment! If it’s a phone interview, check your phone isn’t silent and that no one will disturb you!

Any disruption during an interview can ruin your flow and massively affect your performance, so do everything you can to prevent this ahead of time!

Keep Your Answers Short, Direct And Clear

You can speed up your interview by avoiding long, rambling answers, as not only will these not serve you well in terms of your interview performance, but they will also make your interview take much longer.

Answer directly and in short clear sentences to not only save time but to come across as proactive and knowledgeable.

Jamie Willis