How long should an interview last?
Discover the full range of items to take into account when planning to interview a candidate
The all-important process of interviewing candidates is often the most crucial part of any recruitment process. Yet, the question that often arises is just how long should an interview last?
Spending too little time in an interview can leave you none the wiser of a candidates skills. Too long and it begins to drain both energy and resources.
Commonly, face-to-face interviews tend to last no less than 30 minutes. A mere half an hour doesn't give either you or the candidate an accurate impression of each other. After all, you want to ensure that they are the best fit for the business.
Although it varies depending on industry, most interviews last between 45 minutes and one hour. That should provide sufficient time and flexibility from both sides to get to know one another. Although, this length of time would only be advised if it is part of a longer recruitment process that involved more communication with a candidate than simply the one interview.
But what works for one business may not work for you. The length of time spent in an interview is also highly dependent on how senior and/or specialist the role for which you're recruiting is, as well as the total time you and your staff have available in a working day. See more details here with our article on how to conduct an interview.
So, to help you to decide on how long an interview should last, here are some items to consider:
Before the interview:
To make a good impression candidates naturally often arrive before their allotted time. Ensure either yourself or a member of staff has the time to greet them before the interview begins.
During the interview:
Making a firm decision on how an interview will be structured beforehand will often dictate the overall duration of the interview.
If an interview is a structured series of competency based questions then the overall time spent will be fairly consistent across multiple candidates. Rehearsing the interview process with another employee can help to gauge how long the interview will take. If you feel
However, informal chats often help to gain a better insight into a candidate and can help to build a greater rapport. Yet, if you're planning on a more relaxed interview style then extra time may need to be factored in depending how the conversation develops.
Certain industries will often ask candidates for a demonstration of their skills alongside a traditional face-to-face talk. If there are any tasks, tests or formal presentations that need to be completed the time for these will also need to be factored in.
It is also important that a candidate has the opportunity to raise anything that they're unsure about. Some candidates may have nothing to ask, whereas others can have a huge number of potential queries. Although this leaves you with an unknown figure, time does need to be allocated towards it.
After the interview:
Once the discussions have taken place does the candidate need to be shown anything more, meet members of staff, or see your facilities?
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