How long Should a Job Interview last?

How Long Should a Job Interview Last?

Job interviews are a crucial component of the hiring process, used to evaluate a candidate’s fit for a role and the company. One important aspect to consider is the length of the interview.

While it might seem straightforward, determining the ideal duration for a job interview involves careful thought. This article explores various factors that can influence the length of a job interview and provides guidance on the typical duration.

Factors That Influence the Length of a Job Interview

Several elements can impact how long a job interview should last, including:

The Position Being Filled The complexity of the role can significantly affect the interview duration. For instance, an entry-level position might only need a brief interview, whereas a senior executive role could require multiple, lengthy interviews.

The Number of Interviewers More interviewers typically mean a longer interview. Each interviewer may have their own set of questions and will want sufficient time to get to know the candidate.

The Interview Format The format of the interview also plays a role. A panel interview, where multiple interviewers ask questions at once, might be shorter than a series of one-on-one interviews where each interviewer takes a turn.

The Candidate’s Experience Candidates with extensive relevant experience might have shorter interviews as fewer questions are needed. On the other hand, those with limited experience or gaps in their resume might face longer interviews as interviewers delve deeper into their background.

Questions and Discussion Topics The number and complexity of questions can affect the length. Behavioral and situational questions, which require detailed responses, can lengthen the interview.

How Long Should a Job Interview Last?

Generally, job interviews should last between 30 minutes to an hour. However, this can vary based on the company’s recruitment policies, the position’s seniority, the number of candidates, and the interview format. For instance, an initial phone interview might take only 15-20 minutes, while a final in-person interview could last up to two hours.

Keeping the interview duration reasonable is important to avoid exhausting the candidate and wasting the employer’s time. Short interviews might not provide enough time for candidates to demonstrate their skills, while overly long interviews can lead to fatigue and reduced engagement.

Tips for Ensuring a Productive Interview Duration

  • Prepare a Structured Interview: Having a clear structure and agenda can help keep the interview focused and prevent it from dragging on.
  • Prioritize Essential Questions: Identify and prioritize the most important questions to ensure they are covered within the allotted time.
  • Keep an Eye on the Clock: Set time limits for each section of the interview and stick to them to avoid overrunning.
  • Provide Breaks: For interviews longer than an hour, offering a break can help candidates relax and recharge.


The ideal job interview duration can vary based on the position, company, and interview format. However, a 30-minute to one-hour interview is generally sufficient to assess a candidate’s skills and qualifications. Employers should prioritize essential questions and maintain a structured and focused interview process to ensure efficiency and productivity.

For more insights on interview durations and best practices, check out these articles from Indeed’s Interview Tips and The Balance Careers on Interview Length.

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