You want to make a great first impression; there are no do-overs on that, but how long do you have to get that first impression across to the hiring manager or interviewer?

It can be a tough pill to swallow to realize that hours or days of preparation for your interview will amount to only a short period of time in front of the interviewer. The truth of the matter is that interviews aren't supposed to last very long. Obviously, an interview for a full-time job will vary slightly from one for a part-time job, but not by much. 

While there is an average number of minutes that represents a good interview, it's not a set-in-stone timeframe. Interviews can last anywhere between 15 minutes to three hours. Though, if you have an interview that only lasts 15 minutes, that's probably not a good sign. So, how long should you expect a job interview to last?

The 45-minute interview

Forty-five minutes is what is considered the average amount of time a good interview should last. During this time, you'll have the opportunity to talk about your history, skills, education, and achievements while simultaneously sizing up the interviewer and company. 

PRO-TIP: Always remember, you're interviewing them just like they're interviewing you. 

The interview should not be a question-and-answer session. It should be a mutually beneficial conversation about what you bring to the table for them and what they can offer you. That is accomplished by asking them questions, too. 

The 15-minute interview

When you apply for a part-time position, your interview can be fast. It will likely feel like you didn't get enough time. However, if you're applying for a full-time position, a 15-minute interview is not the goal. This short time period simply doesn't provide for effectively relaying what you bring to the table. It often doesn't give you the time to ask them a lot of questions either.

If you realize that your interview is coming to an end and you're near the 15-minute window, try to find out if your qualifications are lacking or if they feel you wouldn't be a fit for the work culture. Qualifications can be augmented with professional development courses. There are even some free certifications you can earn to boost your skills. You can also realign your soft skills so that you will appear to be a better fit during your next interview. 

The 30-minute interview

Thirty minutes is also a good timeframe for an interview. Generally, that's how much time the hiring manager has blocked off to talk with you. Using up all the time on the calendar means that you fully answered their questions. 

The one-hour interview

Most people won't see the one-hour mark very often during interviews. If you make it this far, then you've really piqued their interest. On the other hand, if you're applying for an executive position, one hour should be your goal. 

During this longer interview, you can expect to be asked to meet other people within the company. If you can get the hiring manager out from behind the interview desk, then you're making a very strong impression. You may even be asked to complete an on-site project or efficiency test.

Completing an on-site project or efficiency test

Be careful with on-site projects. Use your judgment about whether they're trying to get free work from you or if they're truly using this step as a means of gauging whether you'll be a good fit for the role. Not to speak ill of any company's interview methods, but there have been occasions when interviewees were asked to work on something during an interview that didn't lead to a callback or job offer. 

Timeframes are similar across interview types

It doesn't matter if you're taking part in an in-person, virtual, or telephone interview, the timeframes mentioned here are a good indicator of whether you'll receive a callback or job offer. The more prepared you are for the interview, the better your chances of being able to manage the time and hit the minute goal you desire. 

Preparation for your interview is critical

Your interview will technically begin when they offer you the time slot. If they call you on the phone, use proper grammar and syntax when you speak because they are listening. This is even more true if the interview offer is by email. Always proofread any written communication. 

Don't forget to research the company to find out what they have going on, more about their products, and pay attention to how the staff is dressed in online photos. Knowing about the company will better enable you to align the answers you provide to their interview questions with the company's goals.


Ultimately, the length of the interview isn't something to stress over too much because 33% of hiring managers make their minds up within the first 90 seconds. This goes back to making a great first impression. If you have a weak handshake, have wrinkles in your pants, or lack confidence, the interviewer loses interest. 

The bottom line is that if you make a great impression and wow them with your abilities, you should hear back from them no matter how much time you spent with them. Before you can share your time with a company during an interview, your resume must be optimized for the job. TopResume has expert writers in every industry that can help you win interviews.

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