Job interviews last between 45 minutes and one hour on average.
Phone and video interviews tend to take less time, while in-person interviews, group interviews, and technical interviews take longer.
But is it bad if your interview only took 20-30 minutes? Not always.
Coming up, I’m going to reveal exactly how long job interviews last in various stages of the interview process.
Is a 20-30-Minute Interview Bad?
It’s not necessarily bad if a job interview only lasted for 20 to 30 minutes. It’s normal to interview for only 30 minutes in an initial interview. The first interview is the shortest with most employers.
However, the average job interview does take longer, and if you were scheduled for more time, then a 20-to-30-minute interview could be a bad sign.
For example, if you were scheduled for a one-hour face-to-face interview and the hiring manager only spent 20 minutes, that’s a bad sign.
Alternatively, it’s usually a good sign if your interview went longer than expected. This indicates you likely gave a good impression and left them wanting to learn more.
How Long Do Phone Interviews Last?
A phone interview lasts 25 to 45 minutes in most cases and is the shortest of any interview type.
The phone interview is often the first step in an interview process, is conducted by a recruiter or HR person, and is intended to confirm basic details and ensure you are qualified for the primary job duties.
So make sure to practice these common phone interview questions.
How Long Do Video Interviews Last?
A video interview typically takes 30 minutes to one hour. If the video interview is the first step in the hiring process, it may only take 30 minutes, like most phone interviews.
However, if your video job interview is a second or third step in the process, and/or is being conducted by the actual hiring manager, then it’s likely that you’ll talk for closer to one hour.
Before the interview, ask the employer how long you should set aside for your video interview so that you know what timeframe to expect.
Further reading: Zoom interview tips.
How Long Do In-Person Interviews Last?
In-person interviews usually last for one hour. The in-person interview is often reserved for later in the job interview process, once a company is somewhat interested in hiring you.
In the in-person interview, you will face a variety of interview questions to determine if you’re a good fit for the role, the company’s culture, and more.
You’re likely to meet with the hiring manager and possibly other team members. If you’re going on a full day of face-to-face interviews and meeting multiple people, then you can expect to meet with each person for 30 to 60 minutes.
Ask for your interview schedule ahead of time, which may give clues to the interview length you can expect.
All of the above depends on many factors, such as the hiring manager’s schedule, so the only way to be sure how long your interviews will take is to ask for a schedule.
How Long Do Technical Interviews Last?
A technical interview will last at least one hour. This timeframe varies depending on the industry and the type of technical skills you’re being tested on.
As with face-to-face interviews, you should ask each of the employers/hiring managers for an interview schedule ahead of your technical interviews.
This will help you prepare better and anticipate what to expect during your day of technical interviews.
How Long Do Group Interviews Take?
Group interviews take anywhere from 40 minutes to two hours. Of all the different types of interviews, group interviews can vary the most in length.
If you are invited to group interviews in your job search, always ask for a schedule. Simply say, “Do you have a schedule and information on who I’ll be meeting with, so that I can better prepare?”
That’s the best way to determine how long your group interview is going to take, because the average interview length varies so much from company to company.
Fortunately, most employers don’t use group interviews in their hiring process, so you aren’t as likely to encounter this interview format in your job search.
How Long Do Panel Interviews Last?
Panel interviews take at least an hour and often take 90 to 120 minutes. Of all the in-person interview types, the panel interview may last the longest.
In a panel interview, you’re typically meeting with three, four, five, or more people from the company. Panel interviews are usually conducted in person, but may be done as a video interview, too.
The good news is that panel interviews allow job seekers to meet with the entire team at once, which means job candidates will likely have fewer steps in the interview process overall.
Always ask for a list of the people on the panel and how much time you should set aside so that you’re able to research and prepare.
Further reading: How to ace your panel interview: 9 tips
Overall Job Interview Process/Steps: What to Expect
From the initial interview to job offer, you may be asked to attend three or even four rounds of interviews.
I recommend asking the employer, either before or after the initial interview, for information on the hiring process and what you can expect.
Interview processes vary greatly from company to company so it’s best to ask them.
Don’t sound impatient or desperate when asking, but do ask what their typical hiring process looks like. This is a good question to ask employers at the end of the first interview.
In general, you can expect an initial interview to be done via phone or video. You’ll likely be talking to a recruiter or another HR person.
Next, you’ll likely meet with the hiring manager for the position, either by video or face-to-face.
Then, you may meet other team members, company leaders (like the department head or CEO), and sometimes one or two other hiring managers.
Unfortunately, the current trend seems to be that employers are requiring more job interviews before issuing a job offer. I’ve heard of some companies requiring four or five rounds of interviews, which in my opinion as a former recruiter, is far too many.
Yet that’s the current hiring landscape we’re in.
The best thing you can do is ask hiring managers what their process is and what to expect, especially as you reach the stage of in-person interviews and know that a company is getting serious about you as a candidate.
How to Impress a Hiring Manager so Your Interview Isn’t Cut Short
If you’re worried that a past interview didn’t last long, or if you just want to perform better in an upcoming interview process, these tips will help you immediately.
Every hiring manager (and recruiter) looks for the same things in an interview.
This article goes into detail on what hiring managers look for. I suggest reading it.
In short, every employer wants to know:
- Can you do the job?
- Do you want the job?
- Are you likely to enjoy the job and stay long-term?
If you review the three points above, you’ll see only 1/3 is focused on your skills and qualifications to perform the actual role.
This means that 2/3 of your interview success (and the hiring manager’s focus) is more related to your goals, personality, interests, etc.
The hiring manager will ask a variety of questions to determine this, and you should prepare for questions such as:
- Tell me about yourself
- What do you do for fun?
- What are your career goals?
- Why are you applying to this position?
These questions could be asked in phone interviews, video interviews, or face-to-face interviews.
Always be ready to show why you want a job, why you applied, etc. Saying “I just need a job” isn’t enough and won’t impress the interviewer.
Beyond answering these questions, try to build rapport with the hiring manager or interviewer, too. Learn a bit about them and their company/team.
If they ask you a question like, “What type of work environment do you prefer?” then end your answer by asking, “How would you describe the environment here?”
If they ask, “Describe your ideal manager?” then end your response by asking, “What is your approach to managing and leading?”
Create a back-and-forth conversation by mixing in questions of your own instead of just waiting for the next question over and over. This will build a better bond with the interviewer.
Conclusion: How Long Do Job Interviews Take?
The length of an interview depends on the format and stage of the hiring process, but on average, you can expect your job interview to take 45 minutes to one hour.
It’s not always a bad sign if your interview took less time, though, especially on an initial interview such as a phone interview or video interview.
In-person interviews take longer. And technical interviews, group interviews, and panel interviews can go for multiple hours.
Always ask the employer about the schedule and format ahead of your interview so that you know what to expect, who you’ll be meeting, and how to best prepare.
You don’t want to get caught off-guard by a technical job interview when you were expecting a casual phone screen with HR, so this is why you ask for details on the interview process before attending.