We’re excited to announce our new weekly series “Ask an HR” where we answer your most burning questions about job search, interviews, and career. Have a question for an HR but haven’t had the chance or courage to ask? Just tweet it to @freesumes with the hashtag #AskAnHR and we might feature your question and your tweet in our next edition.
Without further due, here is this week’s question:
How long does a job interview last?
You should allow up to one hour for a job interview. However, this may depend on a few factors, so consider the following scenarios.
The role might require seeing you on the job before making an offer
If completing a trial shift (common in retail or hospitality) is part of the interview process, your initial conversation may be brief. How you perform the job practically is critical to determining your suitability for the role, and employers may want to see you in action rather than ask you a lot of questions.
There might be more than one interview stage
It is common practice for a role in a professional environment to have multiple interview rounds. Often the first one will be with HR and/or the hiring manager, and the other stages could involve a peer or more senior staff members. Allocate an hour per interview stage. These stages typically take place over a few weeks, depending on how many candidates are being considered for the role.
The meeting is virtual
A virtual interview can take the same time and format as a face-to-face meeting. To ensure you get the most out of your time with your prospective new employer, make sure you:
- double-check any meeting details before the scheduled time
- ensure you have the correct meeting app installed
- check your technology works, including headset and sound
You might need to do pre-work or a case study
Sometimes. Employers may give you some work to do before the interview to test the practical application of your skills. It’s easy to write on your resume that you can master a program or task. Performing this well within a timeframe and under pressure is a different skill set. Employers may want to test this as part of the recruitment process. You should allow time to do this before the interview or as an additional part of the interview process.
Other things to allow time for
People can and do run late. Allow for the interview to run over the scheduled time. In addition, you should plan your travel and allow for delays so that you are on time.
Getting there early
It is essential to be on time and not rushed. Arriving early can make a good impression, but there is a balance. An hour early is excessive and could make it seem like you can’t organise your time. Or even worse, it may make the interviewer feel under pressure as they may have a very carefully scheduled day. About 15 minutes early will make a good impression.
Asking how long the interview will take
Usually, the person who sets up the interview will provide you with these details when organising the date and time with you. If they don’t, you can also ask them how long you should allow for the job interview or confirm if it will take approximately an hour. This is a reasonable question for a candidate to ask.