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I have been to a few interviews and the max they have gone is 1.5 hours. But there is this one interview that could take 4-5 hours. I wonder why companies need to interview a junior developer for so long. I would understand if it was a senior position.

(sarcastic : Do they want me to code their entire app in those 4 hours or know my life history ?)

marked as duplicate by enderland, Garrison Neely, Jim G., jmort253 Jul 24 '14 at 1:12

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    A junior developer? No. A senior? Certainly. – Joel Etherton Jul 23 '14 at 19:30
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    Generally, interviews work both ways - they check on you and you check on them. And the longer it takes the whole process - more information one might have about the company by judging the entire process, questions asked, people met, etc. I wouldn't mind a 4-hours interview as long as the time was spent wisely and all meetings and questions asked along the way actually made sense. Also, the more rigour the process is - the higher is the average level of your potential colleagues! – Evgeny Goldin Jul 23 '14 at 20:25
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    I think the answer to any question about interviews which starts with "is it normal..?" is that it's hard to talk about "normal" because every company interviews differently. I can tell you, though, I would never spend multiple hours of my day interviewing someone for a junior programmer position! – Carson63000 Jul 24 '14 at 1:23
  • I spent 3 days at IBM interviewing for a graduate role. And 1.5 days at the company I ended up with. Some larger companies just work like this. – Fiona - myaccessible.website Jul 24 '14 at 8:32
  • I spent 4 hours in a COOP interview. I thought that was crazy. Essentially every vital member of the team interviewed me and asked their own questions and tested different skills. By no means did they make me code an app, it was just a few simple snippets here and there, puzzle questions which tested some algorithmic skills, etc. – TheOneWhoPrograms Jul 24 '14 at 10:02
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There is a school of thought in interviewing that you don't want to have too many people in the room at the same time. The concern is that it might feel threatening to the interviewee when 5+ people are firing off questions one after the other, and it is more difficult to carry a conversation - which is something that you want to do to really get to know the candidate.

In my experience, long interviews involve seeing different people that you will work and interact with. Most of the conversations will involve the same things, and you may start to feel that you are repeating yourself to different people. This is fine. The idea is that everyone needs to make sure that they can work with you.

Alternatively, they could be expecting to you to complete a programming task, and are allocating 1-2 hours for it with another couple of hours for face-to-face interviewing. I suggest you inquire ahead to of time to know what it is that you have to prepare for.

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There are a couple of different categories that could explain a 4-5 hour interview:

  1. Psychology profile - I remember when looking for my first job out of university, that some HR people may spend some time collecting enough information to give a profile of who I am, how I think and where I would fit into things. This included the questions like, "What kind of tree would you be?" and "What is the greatest challenge you ever overcame in your life?" among others.

  2. Multiple technical interviews - Other times there may separate hour long interviews with one at the beginning and end along with a few in the middle just to have people review my technical skills. In this case, I may be coding a priority queue or doing basic tree traversals on a whiteboard. This is about seeing how well can one communicate even on something as simple as FizzBuzz.

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The interview I went through to get my first software engineer job after University lasted 3.5 hours.

The first hour was a one-to-one interview with the head of the department. Mainly behavioral questions.

The second 1.5 hours was a one-to-many interview with the head, the software engineer manager and a senior software engineer. Very technical questions and project demos.

The last hour was programming tests.

So yes it can take that long.

With that in mind, the interview to get my next job only took 1 hour (one-to-many + short test). So I guess every company is different.

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Depends on the company.

I have worked for a major software company, and even college hires and other junior positions are usually whole day interviews. The process would be multiple interviews with different people.

The reason this was done was: - Multiple technical interviews, to cover different aspects and make sure multiple people agreed that the candidate was skilled. - Interviews with hiring manager, and/or hiring managers manager to determine team fit, 'soft' skills and more. - Room for non technical interview to have people in other positions the candidate would work with give feedback.

This approach would also help determine 'team fit' - multiple persons on the team talking to the candidate.

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