Yesterday, I had an in-house interview with two engineers and then later the owner of the company. It lasted three hours. Not sure what to make of a three hour interview about just work history and aspirations. Is that standard?

  • What does "in-house" mean in this context? As in "on the premises of the new company"? Or "applying to a different job with the same company"? – Erik Dec 18 '18 at 15:55
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    @Erik, on the premises of the new company. – Daniel Dec 18 '18 at 15:57
  • I don't know what "In house" means but I had a total 8 hour interview before. 4 hours with 3 managers (IT) and another 4 hour with 3 different managers (Financials). There isn't a standard. Every job/company is different – Isaiah3015 Dec 18 '18 at 18:25

There is no standard. Different companies have different hiring practices. Some focus on personal interviews, some on your on-paper qualifications, some focus on standardized tests. Also, companies tend to invest more time into hiring decisions when it's about a more important position. You wouldn't spend as much time on picking a janitor as you would on picking a branch manager. So depending on the job and the company, job interviews can take anywhere between a few minutes to several hours.

But when an interview takes longer, that's usually a good sign. It means everyone is interested in you. When they would have found some reason to not hire you early, they would have cut the interview short and gotten back to their actual work, not needlessly waste your and their time by extending the interview.

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  • That makes sense, I guess the team are excellent at playing poker because I could not assess what such a long interview meant. I used to be good at telling whether I got the job or not or whether they were interested or not. – Daniel Dec 18 '18 at 16:11
  • @dwizum I bowed to peer pressure and changed the answer. – Philipp Dec 18 '18 at 17:14
  • @Philipp upvote added. – stannius Dec 18 '18 at 17:58
  • I challenge the notion that janitors are less important than branch managers... ever work in a building with no custodians? Yeah. Certainly janitors' job skills are in greater supply, But less important? You can run a business for a week with no manager on site. Try it without a janitor. Enjoy the plummeting morale from the overflowing trash and filthy bathrooms. – Monica Apologists Get Out Dec 18 '18 at 18:34
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    @Adonalsium I did not claim that you don't need a janitor, just that the decision which janitor to hire is not nearly as important as the decision which manager to hire. – Philipp Dec 18 '18 at 18:37

At my current job, the interview was rather long. I spent 30 minutes with the recruiter, then 30 minutes with the manager I would report to, then just over an hour with the team i would be joining, then a little more than an hour with the IT directory (above the manager). Then 10-15 minutes with team and manager. Then we all went out to lunch. We only spoke of personal interests during lunch. Then back to the office where i spent another 30 minutes or so with the manager.

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    This is a pretty typical of how many tech jobs hire in the US. Great answer. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Dec 18 '18 at 16:50

Your (pre-edit) question was,

Is that standard?

It's hard to answer what is standard for interviews because policies will vary from position to position and industry to industry. That said, a 3-hour interview is certainly not unusual for many positions, and the structure you experienced (team technical interview, followed by a one on one interview with a leader) is pretty standard for a longer interview.

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  • You edited out the rest of your question as I was typing my answer so I'll leave the rest of my answer out - although you seemed stuck on their interest in your history so maybe that's worth a separate question. – dwizum Dec 18 '18 at 16:09
  • Yes, I edited it out, because I started to see one close vote, so I thought that it needed to be edited. – Daniel Dec 18 '18 at 16:10
  • I thought it raised a good point, you seem concerned about how to address your consulting/freelancing history in an interview setting, or at least concerned about how your history is being perceived. You might get some good feedback about how to address those concerns if you create a new question focused on that. – dwizum Dec 18 '18 at 16:20
  • I agree with you. It is an issue I would like addressed. I will create a new question regarding my consulting/freelancing history. – Daniel Dec 18 '18 at 16:23

I don't think there is a standard. Shortest interview I had didn't even last 10 minutes (I did get the job), longest I had was 7 hours: twelve 30-minute interviews with peers, followed by a one hour interview by the manager. And I've had everything in between as well.

At my current job, if you get to the stage of face to face interviews (we start off with phone interviews and coding tests), the candidate starts off with 30 minutes with a recruiter (mostly about the process of hiring/relocation), then has 2 one hour interviews with 2 peers (so 4 peers in total), followed by a 30 minute interview from someone from management. And then they see the recruiter again.

From my (limited) experience, both as a candidate, an interviewer, and from talking about others about hiring processes, I'd say that 3 hours is far from unusual.

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