Q&A: How Long Does an Interview Usually Last?

Updated June 9, 2023

Knowing how long an interview could last can help you maximize your time with the hiring manager and leave a positive impression. Preparing for a specific length of time ensures that you stay on topic when offering responses so the interviewer can make an informed decision when making job offers. The interview length will likely depend on the format and which stage of the process you’re in.

In this article, we will list the different types of interviews, how long they last and offer advice on how to prepare for your next interview. 

How long does an interview typically last?

Interviews can last anywhere from 15-30 minutes to several hours. The length of an interview depends on several factors, including its structure. There are several different types of interviews you may encounter during the hiring process, including:

Phone interviews

Phone interviews tend to be the first interview you encounter during the hiring process. Typically, a recruiter or human resources representative will call you to confirm basic details on your resume. 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 inquire 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 should schedule you for an interview with the hiring manager. 

If the recruiter only asks basic questions about your resume, you can expect the interview to last about 15 minutes. You can plan for up to 40 minutes if they ask you additional questions about your work style. 

In-person interviews

In-person interviews typically last between 45 to 90 minutes, depending on the hiring manager 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 of the duties related to the job. You may also meet with potential coworkers to see how well you would fit in with the team. During panel interviews, you will meet with a variety of managers and colleagues at the same time. 

You may also need to attend a final, in-person interview with the department head or employer. These interviews typically only last about 15 minutes and review basic aspects of the job, such as salary, work hours and benefits. 

Video interviews

Video interviews may occur at any time during the hiring 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 hiring manager 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 hiring manager, you can expect a phone interview to last from 15 to 90 minutes.

Technical interviews

Some companies perform technical interviews for roles in engineering, software development and other similar positions. These usually last between 45 and 60 minutes, much like first-round, in-person interviews. They could occur anytime during the hiring process. During this time, the interviewer will likely test 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 will probably have a set amount of time to complete the questions and send the form back. They will then review your answers and determine if you should continue to the next round of interviews.

Group interviews

During group interviews, you and several other candidates will meet with the hiring manager 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 hiring process. These interviews usually last about an hour, depending on the size of the group. 

Open hiring interviews

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

How to maximize interview time

To ensure you leave a positive impression in the allotted time, follow these steps:

1. Create an interview plan

You should develop a plan to ensure the interview flows smoothly from beginning to end. Make sure you arrive early and have any interview materials readily available, such as your resume, cover letter, notepad and pen. If you’re interviewing on the phone or via video, you should check your phone service and internet connection before the scheduled time.

2. Prepare answers to common questions 

Most recruiters and hiring managers will ask standard interview questions at any stage in the hiring process. Preparing some basic answers ensures you are ready to respond without taking additional time to think about the question.

3. Write down a list of questions

Most recruiters or hiring managers allow you to ask questions at the end of the interview. Planning your questions will enable you to think carefully about what you expect from the organization. Tailor your questions to evaluate what the company expects from you, your suitability for the company’s culture and the kind of people with which you will work.

4. Stay on topic

Sometimes you may find your interviewer especially interesting, based on their role at the company or their personality. You may want to ask more questions about their position or hobbies, which could reduce the amount of valuable interview time you have. Creating a plan helps you stay on topic and remain within the allocated interview slot.

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