Interviewing

FAQ: How Many Job Interviews Should You Expect in the Hiring Process?

March 25, 2021

For hiring managers, the goal of a hiring process is to choose the right candidate for the job the first time. For candidates, it's to excel in an interview and hopefully receive a job offer. In this article, we discuss how hiring managers and candidates view the hiring process, determine how many interviews the process may include and share types of interviews you may encounter during a job search.

What do hiring managers think about multiple job interviews?

Hiring managers may think potential employees are excited to be contacted and asked to return for multiple interviews. They typically hope it shows that the organization is still interested in the candidate and they are still in contention for the position. Hiring managers may also think holding multiple interviews shows they're being thorough in the hiring process and that they're trying to make an informed decision for everyone involved.

What do candidates think about multiple job interviews?

Near the beginning of their interview process, candidates may be excited to get past an initial interview and asked to return for another. They may feel they have a better chance of earning the job because they've advanced to the next stage. However, if the cycle repeats too many times with one company, they may question why the hiring manager hasn't decided on a candidate. They may also wonder if it is still worth it to schedule time—possibly unpaid—away from their current job to continue pursuing a new one.

Related: Video Interview Guide: Tips for a Successful Interview

How many interviews does it take to get a job?

There isn't a set rule for how many interviews it takes to get a job. However, for hiring managers, using between one and three interviews per candidate may be the most successful. The number of interviews can depend on the open position. For entry-level positions, one interview may give enough information to decide. For mid-level positions, two interviews may be sufficient. Companies may use three for senior level or above. Organizations may sometimes justify using a fourth interview to make a final decision between two highly qualified candidates. The exact number typically depends on the specific company's hiring practices, though.

Why do companies hold so many rounds of interviews?

Here are six reasons companies may hold multiple rounds of interviews before filling an open position:

Check credentials

Companies may hold multiple interviews to ensure that the candidates they meet in person are the same candidates that have presented themselves on resumes and in cover letters. Hiring managers may use screening or phone interviews to ask you to give more explanation or depth to the claims in your application documents.

Determine job capability

Holding multiple interviews may help determine if you can do the work required in the open position. Even if you have knowledge or experience in a particular industry or niche, no two jobs or companies are exactly alike. Hiring managers may have an ideal type of person in mind for a position, and they hold multiple interviews to see if you fit that model.

Related: A Guide To Acing the Interview

Confirm their choice

Multiple interviews, especially third and final interviews, may help hiring managers to confirm they're choosing the best candidate for the position. If it has been a few days, weeks or months since your last interview, companies may ask you back one more time to reaffirm the notes they've taken and decisions they've made about you in previous interviews.

Get additional opinions

Attending multiple interviews with the same company may allow you to meet other people in the organization besides the hiring managers or your potential direct supervisors. Hiring managers may collect feedback and opinions about your interactions from those people. They may hope to learn how you interact with coworkers and how they feel about you potentially joining their team.

Learn your personality

Hiring managers may hold multiple interviews to learn more about your personality outside of being a business professional. They may want you to get more familiar with them and become more comfortable to see if you have a sense of humor, compassion or other positive personality traits.

Pursue another candidate or position

Sometimes, hiring managers may ask for multiple interviews if their first choice candidate declines the job offer. They may return to the list of qualified candidates and conduct more interviews to make another offer. Similarly, if a company has multiple but slightly different open positions, they may ask you back for an additional interview to apply for another, more suitable job within the same organization.

What are the different types of interviews?

During the hiring process, you may encounter multiple types of interviews. Hiring managers may even combine some types depending on the open position and the number of candidates they intend to meet. Some interview types include:

Behavioral interviews

Behavioral interviews are a type of interview style used to predict how your past behavior may affect your performance at a new job. Interviewers may ask you to tell stories or give examples of how you've overcome challenges, successfully solved a problem, resolved a situation with a coworker or other items that may help them determine your personality, skills and work ethic.

Case interviews

Case interviews are a type of interview style that incorporate hypothetical scenarios. Hiring managers may give you a fictional challenge and ask how you would handle the situation. This interview style is common for roles that value problem-solving skills and analytical ability such as management and investment banking.

Competency based interviews

Competency based interviews, also known as job specific interviews, are a type of interview style that encourages you to give examples of specific skills required for a position. Hiring managers may ask you to tell stories, show a portfolio or complete a practicum test or assignment.

Exit interviews

Companies don't use exit interviews in the hiring process, but rather when an employee leaves a position or is terminated. The human resources department uses the information from these types of interviews to learn about the work environment at the company. They may also ask questions like why you're leaving and where you're going next. They can ask you to provide feedback about managers, colleagues and the work itself.

Final interviews

Final interviews are the last interviews you complete before a job offer. They may combine with another interview type, depending on how the company structures their hiring process. You may have your final interview with a member of upper-level management or the company CEO. In this interview, you find out whether they're offering you a position. Being asked to attend a final interview may not guarantee a job offer.

First interviews

First interviews typically take place one-on-one with a hiring manager or potential direct supervisor in person or on a video call. Candidates may answer questions about their work history, skills, experience and future availability for other interviews or for accepting the position. Sometimes a first interview is the only interview a candidate has before the hiring manager extends a job offer.

Group interviews

Companies may hold group interviews for convenience of the hiring managers or the candidates. Group interviews may include one candidate and a panel of interviewers, allowing them all to assess the candidate and discuss their impressions. Another type of group interview includes multiple candidates and one hiring manager. This type of interview may help companies compare potential employees more quickly.

Related: How To Succeed at a Group Interview

Informal interviews

Informal interviews are a type of interview style that may take place near the beginning or end of an interview cycle. These types of interviews are more conversational. Hiring managers may use this type to learn about your interests outside of work or your personality.

Informational interviews

The candidate usually conducts informational interviews prior to applying for a position or during the early stages of the hiring process. During informational interviews, candidates may as questions about an open position, a company or the industry at large to determine if the potential job or company is right for them.

Mock interviews

Career coaches, counselors and university career centers may hold mock interviews to help candidates prepare for their real interviews. Mock interviews allow you to get feedback on your attire, mannerisms, resume, cover letter, portfolio and responses to questions. Hosts may also provide encouragement and tips for improvement.

Related: 7 Interview Practice Tips

Off-site interviews

Off-site interviews may take place in public somewhere other than in an office setting. Hiring managers can choose to conduct an off-site interview if a company is moving, the building is under maintenance or has another related issue. They may also choose to combine off-site interviews with informal interviews to have a more relaxed environment.

Open interviews

Open interviews, also known as walk-in interviews, take place on-the spot without individual scheduling. Most companies hold open interviews when they have multiple positions to fill. Typically, open interviews take place during job fairs or other hiring events. To take part, candidates arrive at the advertised time and location and meet one-on-one with a hiring manager or with multiple interviewers on a first-come first-serve basis.

Phone interviews

Phone interviews are usually short and may take place early in the hiring process. Hiring managers may conduct scheduled phone interviews or surprise ones to see how candidates react without preparation. Phone interviews may help narrow a candidate pool to see who to invite for in-person interviews.

Restaurant interviews

Restaurant interviews, also called dining interviews, take place over a meal, usually lunch or dinner. Hiring managers may hold restaurant interviews to assess a candidate's social skills, communication and table manners. They may also hope to see how candidates react under pressure or in social settings away from the office.

Screening interviews

Screening interviews may be the first interview you complete during a hiring process. They may take place over the phone and may be shorter than other types of interviews. Hiring managers may ask you yes or no questions about the information in your resume or on your application to determine if you have the qualifications to move to the next set stage.

Second interviews

Second interviews may be longer and more in-depth than screening interviews or first interviews and could last for a few hours. You may meet with the same person or people from your first interview or with a new group or other staff members such as your potential direct supervisor or team.

Structured interview

Structured interviews are more of an interviewing style rather than an interview type. In structured interviews, hiring managers use the same template of questions for all potential candidates to assess specific skills or situations. Hiring managers may choose this option to streamline candidate comparisons or to make impartial decisions about candidate qualifications.

Third interviews

Third interviews may be the last interview before the final interview or combined with a final interview and include a job offer. This interview allows for more meetings with others in the organization and to help hiring managers confirm their choice of candidate.

Unstructured interviews

Unstructured interview style uses an outline rather than a template of questions to move through an interview. Hiring managers may start with a few general questions but then move further into the interview guided by the candidate's responses. This type of interview may flow more conversationally. However, it may be more challenging to compare candidates since all interviews may be slightly different.

Video interviews

Hiring managers may use video interviews for clients applying to remote positions or when in-person interviews can't take place. They may use video chatting or virtual meeting software to conduct a traditional interview at a distance. Companies may also use video interviews in place of phone interviews to narrow a candidate pool and invite people to meet in person.

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