How Long Do Interviews Last? (FAQ and Tips to Prepare)

Updated 18 May 2023

No matter the job you apply for, interviewing is an important step in the recruitment process. Depending on the position, the length of time it takes to interview can vary. How long it takes to interview can also differ based on the structure of your meeting with recruiters. In this article, we answer the question, 'How long do interviews last?', with additional insight into how long you can expect your job interview to take.

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How long do interviews last?

Understanding how long do interviews last is important for ensuring you have enough time for when the employer wants to meet with you. To help determine how much time to allow yourself when scheduling your interview, consider the structure. Different interview structures can have different time frames, such as:

Phone interviews

Phone interviews are usually the first interview during the recruitment process. Typically, a recruiter or human resources member calls you to confirm the details you include on your job application. They may also ask about your available start date if you receive the job and the best times for you to come in for an in-person interview. Sometimes, they enquire about your salary requirements. During phone interviews, some recruiters may also ask questions that determine your fit into the workplace culture.

Questions may determine whether you work well on a team, how you manage stress and how you manage your time. They may ask these questions to decide whether they want to schedule you for an interview with the recruiter. If the recruiter only asks basic questions about your application or CV, you can expect the interview to last about 15 minutes. You can plan for up to 45 minutes if they ask you additional questions about your work style.

In-person interviews

In-person interviews typically last between 45 minutes and an hour and a half, depending on the recruiter and if you need to meet with multiple employees. In some cases, you may interview with a company for up to a full day, performing some of the primary job duties under supervision. During in-person interviews, you can expect a variety of questions that determine your ability to perform all the duties related to the job.

You may also meet with potential coworkers to see how well you would fit in with the team. In-person interviews can also be a final meeting with the department head or employer. Final interviews like these typically only last about 15 minutes and review basic aspects of the job, such as salary, work hours and benefits.

Video interviews

Video interviews are another type of structure that can occur during the recruitment process. Some recruiters may use video interviews in place of phone conversations so they can see how you react to different questions. If you applied for a job in a different location than you, or the recruiter works from a different location, the recruiter may schedule a video interview in place of an in-person meeting.

Depending on whether you're interviewing with a recruiter or a recruiter, you can expect a video interview to last from 30 minutes to one and a half hours.

Related: Video Interview Tips: How To Prepare for and Succeed in a Video Interview

Technical interview

Some companies perform technical interviews for roles in engineering, software development and other similar positions. These usually last between 45 minutes and one hour, much like first-round, in-person interviews. They could occur anytime during the recruiting process. During this time, the interviewer tests your technical skills. They may ask you to respond verbally or write down the answer on a sheet of paper or whiteboard.

Some recruiters may send a technical interview questionnaire through a secure website. You may have a set amount of time to complete the questions and send the form back. They then review your answers and determine if you can continue to the next round of interviews.

Panel interview

During a panel interview, an applicant meets with a variety of managers and colleagues at the same time. Each participating staff member comes with questions that help them evaluate different aspects of the role. Typically, panel interviews can last as long as traditional one-on-one, in-person interviews. However, jobs requiring specialised credentials or qualifying skills may take as long as an hour and a half to two hours.

Group interviewing

During group interviews, you and several other candidates meet with the recruiter or panel at the same time. Some companies conduct group interviews to see how candidates react to one another, and they also save time during the recruiting process. These interviews usually last about one hour, depending on the size of the group.

Open interviewing events

Some companies conduct open recruiting events on certain days or during career fairs. During these events, you meet with interviewers at any time during their open hours. The interviewer reviews your CV and conducts an impromptu interview. In some cases, the recruiter may offer you a job immediately following the interview. Open recruiting interviews typically last anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour.

Related: Guide: How To Succeed at a Hiring Event or Open Interview

How long does a job interview take when meeting in person?

Employers often allot 45 minutes up to an hour and a half for the entire interview process. Interviewing stages can comprise several phases that employers generally consider when scheduling meetings with candidates:

Before interviewing

Many candidates arrive up to 10 or 15 minutes early for interviews, as these several minutes are beneficial for meeting staff members and familiarising themselves with the environment. Many employers consider this stage when scheduling interview times and may appreciate your promptness and initiative to learn about their organisations. When determining how long your interview can take, consider adding 10 to 15 minutes to your appointment time for arriving early.

During the interview

During most in-person interviews, recruiters ask questions at varying levels, starting with basic questions about your interests, goals and interest in the career. The beginning of an interview is generally the time during which the interviewer gets to know you and how their work culture suits your personality. As you spend more time in the meeting, you can expect questions that assess how you qualify for the job and how your skills would be an asset to the company. Depending on the complexity of the position, these interviewing processes can take around one hour and up to 90 minutes.

After your interview

Towards the end of an interview, recruiters usually allow up to 10 or 15 minutes for additional discussions if the candidates have questions about the job and company. Some employers allow for additional time for introducing candidates to colleagues and other staff members. In situations like these, some in-person interviews can take up to two hours or more.

Related: Follow-Up Email Examples for After the Interview

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How do you use interview time effectively?

Since the employer likely considers interview length when scheduling a meeting with you, it's important to use the time you have effectively. The following steps provide some helpful strategies for maximising your interview time with potential employers:

1. Plan in advance

If you're interviewing in person, plan for travel time when commuting to the organisation. It's also important to learn which area of the company's building you need to go to when checking in for your interview. Be sure to arrive early so you can acquaint yourself with the office environment. If you're interviewing via phone or video conference, ensure your device and connection are stable.

2. Anticipate different questions

Prepare responses to general questions that the interviewer is likely to ask about your skills, qualifications and desire to work in the role. You might also research and practice questions related to the profession, such as technical and role-specific topics. Consider situational questions that assess your job performance and prepare for questions that evaluate your ethics. It's also important to create a list of questions about the role to ask at the end of your interview.

Related: Questions To Ask at an Interview

3. Have all materials ready

Consider keeping two to three copies of your CV when you attend your interview, in case a team leader, manager or another potential colleague would like to review it. If you're interviewing over the phone or in a video call, be sure you have your CV with you to refer to, and it's also beneficial to have a copy of the job description to refer to when discussing your qualifications. Whenever you interview, have a notepad and pen with you for taking note of additional information.

4. Keep your answers concise

To use your time with the recruiter efficiently, keep your responses to questions clear and concise. Stay on topic and use interview response formats to help structure your answers. For instance, the STAR technique can ensure you answer questions concisely. To use this method, always provide an example of a situation or challenge, your task or role in the situation, the actions you took and the results you achieved.

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