The Typical Interview Timeline and What You Can Expect

Updated June 9, 2023

While the interview process varies for each employer, there are some standard steps that most follow with potential employees. These steps during this period are known as the interview timeline. If you're new to the hiring process, knowing what to expect can make things much easier when you apply for jobs. In this article, we discuss what a typical interview timeline is, along with what you can expect during each phase.

What is a typical interview timeline?

A typical interview timeline is the average time it takes from submitting an application to getting hired for a job. Whenever you apply for a job, you usually need to go through several steps before you are hired and each one of these takes time. However, it's important to remember that every job is different. Some companies may spend a few weeks on one phase, while others spend only a few days. At the same time, some employers may skip certain steps entirely.

Factors that may impact the speed of the interview timeline include:

  • A background check

  • Number of applicants

  • Level of the position

  • Number of hiring managers involved

  • Your current employment situation

Different time periods in the interview process

Here are the different phases involved in the interview process and what to expect during each one:

  • Week One: Submitting an application

  • Week Two: The screening process

  • Week Three: Scheduling an in-person interview

  • Week Four: Attending the in-person interview

  • Weeks Five and Six: Follow-up interview

  • Week Seven: Meeting upper management

  • Week Eight: Receiving the job offer

  • Week Nine and beyond: Starting the new job

Week One: Submitting an application

The first week is when you start applying for jobs. This usually includes filling out applications online and submitting additional information such as your resume and cover letter. An employer could be receiving dozens of applications for a single position, so it may take a while to hear back about some job applications.

Related: 10 Tips for Completing a Job Application to Get an Interview

Week Two: The screening process

After about a week, you can expect to start hearing back from employers for some of your applications. If you submitted a strong application that demonstrates your qualifications for the job, some employers may express their interest in talking with you further.

They may ask you to go through an initial screening or a phone interview so that they can continue to narrow down their candidates. It's usually beneficial to schedule this first stage of the interview process soon so that you can begin to move the hiring process along quickly.

Related: 25 Phone Interview Tips to Get You to the Next Round (With Video)

Week Three: Scheduling an in-person interview

If you make it through the initial screening process, you can usually expect to hear back about an in-person interview about a week later. By this point, the employer has narrowed down their choices to a select few, and they want to have further in-depth conversations with each of them.

These in-person interviews take up time for the employer, which is why they typically go through a screening before scheduling one. Work with the hiring manager to find a time that is suitable for both you and the company. If possible, consider requesting a few hours off from your regular work schedule to make time for the interview.

Week Four: Attending the in-person interview

It may take up to four weeks before you're sitting down for your in-person interview. Practice answers to common interview questions before you go, and have a list of questions ready that you want to ask about the job. Remember to look your best and arrive for the interview a little early.

The in-person interview is when the employer gets the chance to learn more about their candidates and begin making a final decision about who they want to hire. For you, it's an opportunity to learn more about the position and make sure it would be a good fit for you as well.

Related: 21 Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression

Weeks Five and Six: Follow-up interview

Some employers choose to conduct a second interview after the first in-person interview. It's during this meeting that the employer often asks some follow-up questions to try to get to know you better. Second interviews typically take place for mid-level and senior positions rather than entry-level jobs, but they are a possibility at any level. If you've made it to this round, it's a good sign that the employer thinks highly of you and could be considering you for the position.

Week Seven: Meeting upper management

If you do well during your second interview, you may get called in one more time to meet with upper management. This is typically the last stage of the interview process, as the hiring manager just wants you to meet the managers before making things official. The managers may have some additional questions for you regarding your skills and experiences, or it could just be a quick meeting to say hello. Come prepared as you would for any other interview to make the best impression possible.

Week Eight: Receiving the job offer

If the employer decides to go through each of the previous stages, then you may receive an official job offer after about eight weeks. The hiring process can take a while, but employers want to make sure they are getting the right person for the job, and they likely have a lot of applications to go through.

During this time, it's common to wonder how strongly the employer is still considering you for the position. Be patient and give it some time. If after a few weeks you still haven't heard anything, you can reach out to them and request an update on the status of your application. Simply staying in contact with an employer can help remind them that you're the right candidate for the job.

Related: Follow-Up Email Examples for After the Interview

Week Nine and beyond: Starting the new job

Once you've been offered the job, the next step is to work with both your new employer and possibly your current employer to work on a date to start. You will need to provide your current employer with a notice of preferably at least two weeks, which will allow them to find a replacement for you before you leave. It's common to start a new job about two to four weeks after accepting the position, depending on the company's needs and your current employment situation.

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