You've finally been called for that elusive interview, and you and your potential new boss quickly develop chemistry. The interview's running smoothly until you realize you've got to leave to pick up your kids at daycare. By not knowing the usual length of an interview, you can easily run into scheduling conflicts on your big day. Interview lengths vary according to the position, the interviewer and how well the exchange is going.
Although many factors can influence the length of a typical job interview, Amy Williams of the recruiting firm Hobson & Associates reports that interviews often last between 35 and 40 minutes. In an interview posted on Jobing.com, Williams states that your first interview is often a screening interview, in which the employer gets the opportunity to evaluate your attributes and the way you conduct yourself. Prairie View A&M University's career website states that interviews often last 30 minutes, which includes five minutes of small-talk at the start.
If you are called for a follow-up interview, you likely showed enough promise during the screening interview that the employer is seriously considering hiring you. Williams reports that follow-up interviews can occasionally last three hours, often because you may be interviewed by several people.
The average length of a job interview depends on such factors as the type of position for which you're interviewing, the interviewer's style and schedule, and how well you're performing. A company won't spend as long interviewing a potential intern as it will when hiring for the position of chief executive officer. Likewise, if the interviewer has interviews lined up throughout the day, your interview might be shorter than usual because of time constraints. Finally, if the interviewer gauges immediately that you're not suitable for the position, the interview will likely end quickly.
Before the Interview
If you have a busy day planned for the day of the interview, consider contacting the employer in advance to ask about the typical length of an interview for the position. Because some interviewers employ a free-form style, the interviewer might not be able to give you an exact length, but could provide a range, such as 20 to 30 minutes. Job website Gulf Jobs Market suggests that knowing if your interview is over or under the allotted time gives you a rough indication of the success of the conversation.
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images