I've been interviewing for a couple positions lately. The industry is much in favor of the employee in my country: there are far more positions than specialists and wages are sky high compared to other industries.

Out of the 5 companies, 4 interviews were about 45 minutes long, with one manager and one team member usually.

One company stood out with a more than two hours long interview (HR warned me during scheduling), many in-depth questions, and two managers interviewing. I'm surprised a company is willing to invest 4 hours of employee time on an interview for an entry level position.

I wonder: is there something I can judge from this, or is this rather standard?

Clarification: I wonder what I can judge about the company/it's culture, not about how likely I'm going to get the position.

Edit2: I wouldn't agree with the suggested duplicate, since none of the answers address interview length directly.

  • My guess is that it's company-specific. I have done interviews lasting 3 hours, one hour with three different departments for the same interview. I have also done a 30-45 minute interview as well. – Brian May 22 '15 at 20:08
  • 1
    This is very company specific but could be a good sign. If the normal interview for the company is an hour and a half and yours went 2 hours its a good sign. If a normal interview runs 3 hours its not. Normally, a longer than normal interview is a good sign but not knowing the normal for the specific company makes it hard to answer. – RubberChickenLeader May 22 '15 at 20:15
  • @WindRaven I've been told the interviews cap at around 2 hours, but some are shorter. By now I know I got the position. Another previously successful candidate also had a two hour interview. I'm just wondering if this says anything about the company in particular or why they may be choosing the longer process as opposed to the other 4. – user36326 May 22 '15 at 20:17
  • @user36326 They probably get a "feel" for a candidate while interviewing. Or, you as a candidate went into more detailed answers to their questions and/or asked great questions that warranted detailed answers. Congrats! – Brian May 22 '15 at 20:21

It is not surprising that companies invest a lot of time in the interview process, considering the high cost of a bad hire.

In my experience, the quality of a company's hiring process reflects how well structured, disciplined, and organized a company is. In one specific case, I accepted an offer from a company primarily because their recruitment was highly professional.

I would say that 45 minutes is closer to the standard, and the 2+ hours interview indicates that the company has a thorough process and/or their interest in you is high.

  • Regarding "interest in you is high", what if that's the length for all interviewers? – Pacerier May 26 '15 at 10:13
  • @Pacerier true, doesn't necessarily prove their interest is high, but personally I would not spend the full 2 hours interviewing someone if the candidate did not do well in the first 30 minutes. – mcknz May 26 '15 at 12:52
  • I have several times had the full day interview process that was completely worthless. The company heard that was the thing to do and mandated that all interviews for professional staff would be the full day process. In most cases the interview could have been just as effective in an hour as it was in 6 – IDrinkandIKnowThings May 26 '15 at 14:02
  • @ReallyTiredOfThisGame good point -- it probably does depend as well on how many people or departments you're shuffled through in the process. – mcknz May 26 '15 at 15:36

Shorter than scheduled interviews are generally bad news. Even if they are cut short because of a legit business reason that often is reflected in their opinion of you even though it was out of your control.

A longer interview only means 2 things for sure:

  1. Talking with you is more entertaining than what they would be doing otherwise. That doesn't mean good it could be the interview is enjoying watching you squirm, or that they really just do not want to work on the task they have at their desk and watching bread mold would be better.
  2. While you are talking with them you have the opportunity to create a good impression. So even if it is going badly as long as they are talking with you, there is a chance to turn it around. So do your best and keep trying.

I wonder: is there something I can judge from this?

You might be able to conclude that they haven't yet rejected you completely. But even that isn't assured.

Some companies conduct long interviews with many folks involved, some don't. Some companies will immediately end the planned interviews if someone feels that the candidate doesn't fit, but most won't. Some poor companies conduct extremely lengthy interviews, some great companies conduct short interviews.

In reality, the length of the interview might be significant, but it might not. The only way you'll know for sure is if you get hired, and get exposed to their interview practices.


If the person who is conducting the hiring process talks most of the time

  • Then a long interview means they are willing to sell the company to the potential hire. They are interested on the candidate

  • Else (if the person who talks the most is the candidate) a long interview only means they are just being polite

If the company is big enough(i.e. +100), the cost in hours/employee will be smaller. They have enough people doing real work, and will have full-time H.R. people

  • Then a long interview means only they've plenty of time, so it's not representative

  • Else they are a company with scarce time so a long interview means they're trying to make the Best possible choice

  • I didn't get the sense that a recruiter was involved here -- not sure I understand your second paragraph. Can you clarify? – mcknz May 22 '15 at 21:30
  • Edited. Hope it's clearer now. Thanks for the comments! – Project Shepherding May 22 '15 at 21:44

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