should I be wary of a company that offered me a job after only one interview?

A reader writes:

I was called in for a mid-level job at a global Fortune 500 corporation. They only wanted one 90-minute interview (full of STAR questions.) Granted, the interviewers are based overseas, so perhaps geography plays here. Still, any concern working for a company that is okay with just a single interview?

There are a lot of places that will hire after only a single interview.

I always caution managers against this though, because deciding to hire someone after talking to them for only 60-90 minutes is a pretty risky move. For most positions, it’s close to impossible to thoroughly assess someone’s fit for the job in that amount of time, so it’s taking a gamble. Generally you’d want at least two interviews (possibly three, depending on the position and who’s involved in the hiring process), and somewhere in that process you’d want to include some sort of opportunity to see the person’s work in action.

But hiring after only a single interview still happens with a lot of frequency.

Should you be concerned? I’d say it depends on how thorough that 90 minutes was, how much time you had to ask your own questions, and your overall sense of how much the hiring manager knows about you and your work at this point (and how good of a feel you have for them). You want to be able to trust that their decision to make you an offer is a good one, because you don’t want to get into the job and discover that it’s not a good match for you.

By the way, while they feel like they have enough information, that doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to gather more.  If you feel like you don’t have a really solid feel for the job/manager/culture, or you have questions that haven’t been answered yet, it’s totally reasonable to ask for a call with the hiring manager to talk further before you make a decision.

{ 145 comments… read them below }

  1. Jennifer

    My friend got a job in England at a university after 1 30 minute interview and a 30 minute presentation and a group dinner with the interviewees. She figured it was a long shot–go figure!

    1. Caledonia

      That’s because in the UK it’s standard practice.

      It depends on what industry and how far up you are, but I’m in admin and it’s usually a 30-14 min interview and it’s becoming more common to have a 15-45 minute (computer) test as well either before/after your interview.

      1. Caledonia

        totally forgot to say, the higher up you are, the more interviews there are. I know a banking analyst who had an interview, test and presentation for their interview, it took all afternoon.

      2. Boo

        Yeah, I’m in an exec assistant (PA basically!) in the UK and for me it was a red flag when I had a three stage interview process – 1 meeting with HR plus software skills test, 2 interview with director of operations, 3 finally interviewed with the joint chief execs of the company who I’d have been working for. The whole thing seemed insane and the chief execs when I met them set all my alarms going. I wouldn’t have gone along with it had I not been made redundant; fortunately I got another job offer!

    2. BritCred

      I’m not sure on Academia but the standard in private businesses is one interview in the UK from my experience. Some need more than that but its not usual unless its very high end jobs. Call centres are usually the worst for the “low” end of the job market and will sometimes do a half day interview system with 2 personal interviews and some group activities.

    3. Marzipan

      Yep, totally normal in the UK. I mean, for a very-tippy-top management role then no-one would think it was weird for the interview process to be longer, but for a more ordinary job a single interview (perhaps accompanied by a presentation or skills test of some kind) is the norm. There also probably isn’t any sort of phone interview first.

        1. Anonhippopotamus

          That’s not true at all. In Canada I’ve never had an interview (post-graduate, not talking Timmies) for a job without a phone interview first – and rightly so.

    4. lamuella

      It’s standard operating procedure in the National Health Service over here. 30-45 minute interview, with a hiring decision to follow shortly after. Secondary interviews aren’t unheard of but it would have to be very particular circumstances (two excellent candidates you couldn’t decide between, that sort of thing).

      It might be common at higher levels in the organisation, but at my level (middle management, £30-40k a year) it’s single interview.

      1. Jenny

        Also agreed for the NHS. I’ve seen interviews have a presentation attached, or a test immediately beforehand (an example scenario from practice usually) but one interview is standard.

  2. Liz

    Huh. I’ve gotten all of my jobs after only one interview, and the jobs and workplaces have all ranged from fine to very good.

    Maybe that’s just considered standard in my field.

    1. AMG

      Same. I’m at the best job I’ve ever had, and got the position after 1 interview. The difference is that I was referred by someone my boss highly respects.

      1. TrainerGirl

        I got an amazing job after a 30-minute interview with the manager, and then an informal chat with some team members. I got a really great vibe from them, and they said they felt the same. That was on Friday morning, and I was offered the job a week later. It would’ve been sooner, but the recruiter wanted the manager to interview other people before making me an offer.

      1. Rob Lowe can't read

        Agreed. I was hired for some lower-level and short-term positions in my field after a single interview, but all the professional-level positions I’ve been offered have been after 2-3 interviews. (There was one exception, but I think timing played a role – the vacancy came up unexpectedly two weeks before the first day of school, and they called me after one interview (and a rejection) for another role.)

    2. Jaguar

      The best jobs I’ve had I’ve not only gotten after a single interview, but I was also offered the job on the spot. In fact, my worst job, I had multiple interviews and it seemed like it was for the sake of having multiple interviews. And most of the jobs I didn’t take / wasn’t offered but I had multiple interviews with, they didn’t impress me much.

      To be honest, unless there’s a significant technical component that requires an interview in itself, I look down on companies that require multiple interviews (phone screen notwithstanding). There’s something to be said for being able to address all your concerns, what the job entails, etc. in one meeting. If a company can’t make up their mind about a person and properly communicate what the job is without two, three, four, etc. meetings while others can, which company looks better?

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        But you’re talking about spending possibly years working with this person (and vice versa from the candidate’s side of things). In many cases, there will be serious internal hoops to jump through before letting the person go if the fit turns out to be wrong. A second conversation is not too much to invest.

        1. Jaguar

          Isn’t that what the probationary period is for? Maybe it’s different in Canada (and I don’t even know if my information about it is accurate for Canada), but my understanding is that at least here, for a mutually agreed-upon probationary period, either the employee can quit or the employer can terminate employment for any reason.

          As for myself, I know exactly what I’m looking for when I’m interviewing. Maybe it’s because I don’t get super flustered in interviews, but I’m able to ask all the questions I have about a job in the one meeting. I’m ready to make a decision before it’s over. When an employer asks me back to answer a bunch of questions they should have asked the first time around, I’m not terribly impressed.

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            Lots of employers in the U.S. use probationary periods, but the idea isn’t “what the hell, let’s give it a shot, and if it doesn’t work out, we’ll part ways during the probationary period.” You’re investing enormous resources in training someone, and they may have quit another job to come work for you. The idea is that you want to hire someone who you are very confident is the right fit. (Probationary periods are generally used by companies that have relatively rigorous internal rules about the steps they’ll go through before firing someone; a probationary period lets them avoid those rules with a newer person.)

            1. Jaguar

              So two interviews moves past “what the hell” status when one doesn’t?

              If I’m buying a car, I can do it by walking into a dealership and asking questions, then coming back to ask other questions after I’ve digested the original ones (this is after I’ve already been handed a pamphlet on the car I’m looking for, including a personalised note about it). Or I can do my own work, know exactly what I’m looking for, go over all of it with the salesman, and then make a decision on whether the car will work for what I want.

              I just can’t imagine talking to a person two or three times instead of one and getting clearer information. You can read someone’s personality the first time as well as you’re ever going to and companies should know what they need to have and what they’d like to have in a candidate. So why play this game? It feels like an insane waste of my time as an applicant. (Again, extenuating circumstances, like someone was sick but do you still want to do a preliminary talk? [which I would say no to] notwithstanding)

              Besides, interviewing is a two-way street, right? When has a job seeker ever asked for another interview because they like to have three, or whatever? There is a power dynamic at play as well. It really does feel like the company is dangling something the applicant wants in order to get them to jump through unnecessary hoops.

              1. Ask a Manager Post author

                Yes, doubling the amount of time you spend talking with a prospective employee does move you further away from “what the hell, let’s take a gamble” territory.

                And it’s perfectly acceptable, as I say in the post, for a job seeker who gets an offer to say they have additional questions and ask to set up a call with the hiring manager.

                1. Vanesa

                  On a similar question if you depart during the probationary period can you leave that job off your resume. I was in a job for only five months and am worried about having it on my resume, even though I left because management yelled at the employees, but I know you can’t say that in an interview either.

              2. nerfmobile

                But I think multiple interviews are not about talking to the same person repeatedly. In every job I’ve had since my first, I’ve had a first round with the hiring manager (whether phone or in person) and then a second round where I talked with multiple people who I would be interacting with (usually including key stakeholders of the position’s work, not just co-workers). And sometimes a third interview where I was “vetted” with a higher up before an offer was made.

          2. Ask a Manager Post author

            When an employer asks me back to answer a bunch of questions they should have asked the first time around, I’m not terribly impressed.

            Whoops, meant to respond to this too. Second interviews aren’t supposed to be about questions you could have asked the first time. There’s value in digesting the first interview and realizing “hmmm, I realize I don’t have a good sense of her approach in area X” or “the way she talked about Y hasn’t been sitting right with me — I want to learn more.” Or even just going deeper than you have time to do in the first meeting. Or they’re about meeting with additional people (like would-be coworkers who you’re not going to have meet with every candidate, just finalists).

            1. Jaguar

              Honestly, unless I really wanted or needed the job, if an interviewer phoned me back for a second interview to ask a bunch of questions that occurred to them after the fact, I would have concerns about how organized they are and possibly pull my application. I can sort-of understand it if it’s a progression (HR, then hiring manager, then CEO/team/whatever), but even then I get irritated by the bureaucracy of having so much red tape. I’d far prefer to work at the place where the hiring manager is empowered to hire his or her own people.

              I can’t speak for employers in general, but for me and most people I’ve talked to, a drawn-out interview process is not seen as a positive.

              1. Ask a Manager Post author

                I do some of the hiring work for an organization that has a multi-step process and we continually hear from people how much they appreciate how well structured and thorough it is and how much it let them get a good feel for the work. It can be done well, or it can done poorly, like most things. (Granted, these are senior level positions with really nuanced needs, which I think everyone involved, including candidates, recognizes. And we’re good at spelling out the process from the beginning so people know what to expect.)

                1. Jaguar

                  Do you find that you’re hiring people that are primarily out of work? When I’m unemployed (or in a job I need to get out of badly), I don’t have an issue with multiple interviews (although, again, it’s a red flag for me). But if it’s a job that I might be interested in and I’m told it’s a multiple round process from the start (and I’m speculating as this has never happened to me), and I can’t disqualify myself on the phone screen (does my expected salary work? here’s the stuff I know how to do, is there anything else that’s necessary? etc.), I think I would be sorely tempted to pull myself out of contention when I’m fully prepared to take a new job.

                2. Anon Again, Anon Always

                  I just recently turned down a job that was offered after a single 45 minute interview because I feared their process probably resulted in many bad hires.

                  And I’m one of those who does appreciate a well-structured process. I do tend to side-eye orgs without at least a phone screen, and two interviews. Ideally, I prefer to meet with the hiring manager, and then with some version of the team and/or clients I’ll be working with.

                3. Whats In A Name

                  I have had it both ways and had it work out both ways – but I do agree with the things AAM heard from candidates – the 2nd interview (or 3rd) also gives me time to go home, reflect on the interview and come back with additional questions or concerns that came up for me, too. They generally like this. And it’s self-selected me out of the process at times, too.

              2. Mustache Cat

                Wait, really? Second interviews are such a commonplace procedure. I’d think this for a fourth or fifth interview, sure, but…

          3. Joseph

            Can’t speak for Canada, but probationary period in the US isn’t really a test. It’s framed as such, but doesn’t really work that way in practice. Here’s why:
            1.) Due to at-will employment laws, there’s already the right to quit or terminate for any reason whatsoever. Nothing special about probation in that regard.
            2.) Even for experienced employees, there’s still a lot of wasted time in the first few months getting in the swing of things. HR paperwork and safety training, timesheet training, and so on. Also, each company has a slightly different way of doing things, different cultures, procedures, etc. If people leave quickly, all this unproductive time is completely wasted.
            3.) It basically restarts your employee search from scratch. Once you hire someone else, your final candidates will be looking elsewhere. So if you’re using that probationary period as a test and your chosen candidate bails out, suddenly you have to start all over.
            4.) Presumably you’re hiring someone because you actually need that position filled. So the position has been open for a month or two when you hired Failed Candidate, then Failed Candidate struggled for two months before getting let go, and now you’re spending another month or two to find a new replacement. So you’re looking at a half year or more of having that position not properly filled, during which time stuff’s not getting done.
            So while probationary periods do exist to give companies an out, it shouldn’t be something you’re relying on. Basically, it’s the equivalent of car insurance. If you get into a major accident, you absolutely want it…but given the cost and hassle involved, it’s better to do whatever you can to avoid getting there in the first place.

            1. Chris

              In Canada, item 1 is changing. There’s no consistent legal precedent in all provinces yet, but in at least one, our courts have upheld that ‘without cause’ firings are no longer legal. This will undoubtedly be used as precedent for similar cases across the country.

              Item 2 may be industry or company specific. Only in the case of ‘fresh graduate’ would you normally expect a new hire to take more than a week or two to be running at speed in my industry.

              Item 3 is also, by extension, a good argument to get your interview / hiring process as short and candidate-focused as possible. In a competitive field where hiring is often occurring multiple places simultaneously, taking 4 interviews to make up your mind when your competition takes 1 or 2, means you end up losing the best hires, because the best candidates will often have multiple offers. This may also be industry or location specific.

              The worst thing you can do, however, when you’ve tried every other avenue to correct the shortcomings is let item 4 stop you from admitting you made an error / bad hire. It happens to every manager, at some point. Letting the wrong person continue in the team can be catastrophic, depending how much influence an individual person has on the overall team’s success.

              1. Hrovitnir

                Wow, I didn’t know Canada even had any kind of at-will firings! I’m always horrified by how casual people from the US are about firing people at the drop of a hat, but thought they were the only developed country like that.

              2. Anonhippopotamus

                Re #1, I don’t know where you live, but in Quebec, companies can fire someone without cause within the first 3 months. After that they can still easily get rid of someone without cause within the first 2 years, as long as they pay 2 weeks severance. I worked for a company that fired people left, right and centre, all legally.

        2. Liz

          Does the number of people present during the interview affect your viewpoint? For my favorite past job, my interview consisted of separate conversations with the manager, the manager’s manager, and one of my future coworkers, along with a skills test. The entire interview was a little under 2 hours long.

          I just don’t see the need for an extra interview in that case. Who else am I going to talk to, and what else would the manager(s) and coworker be looking for?

      2. Lucie in the Sky

        The only jobs where second interviews turned out not to be too bad were when the second interview was “formal” for a meeting with a C level person, and the job got offered at the end of the interview.

        The other jobs I’ve had with 2-3 interviews tended to just show a strictness of we do A, B, C in this order every time for no reason, and that’s just what we do here. Don’t get me started on all the “hip” things HR wants to get involved in right now…

          1. Lucie in the Sky

            I would like to say, but given that nature of this site, and nervousness to out myself, I am afraid to say. Easy to say they are all very unique, and a little too much of a white lady appropriating hip hop culture to make me comfortable.

            1. lamuella

              The image in my head is now:

              “Well, my name is Lucie and I’m here to say
              I want this job in a major way”

      3. copy run start

        I agree. These days you typically apply for the job with a resume and cover letter, do a phone screen, an interview and maybe a skills test. Isn’t that enough? Especially for someone who’s still employed, burning time on multiple interviews that may not result in an offer can be difficult.

        The only time I had a second interview it felt like more of a “please work here we’re awesome” than a second interview. There were also a few big cheeses there, but mostly they were enticing me to join the company, not so much asking me questions.

    3. AMT

      Most of the two-interview jobs I’ve been offered have had a “real” interview with the hiring manager followed by a perfunctory interview with that person’s boss, presumably to make sure I wasn’t crazy before signing off on it. I always thought this was a little odd, though I guess it’s good to have checks and balances.

    4. Dan

      Me too.

      As a pragmatic point, though, I’m wondering how people count “interviews”? In my field, it’s typical for there to be a phone screen then one onsite visit. But the onsite visit is typically at least a half day with at least three people. Panels aren’t that common in my field, so these things are generally 30 minute blocks. So is that onsite visit considered one interview, or four?

      Regardless, I’ve found that to be fine. I have a new boss, and she’s younger than me. She interviewed me as a peer when I started. When I mentioned how casual our interview process is, she asked if we should make it more rigorous. To which I asked, “Are you happy with the hires we have?” To which she says, “Yes” so then I ask why we would want to change something that’s not broken.

    5. Amadeo

      Same here. I got hired after one interview at both universities I’ve worked at. The previous one and this one. And they weren’t much longer than 30 minutes. But, I also live in Podunk USA in between some rivers and what isn’t swamp is farmland or forested, more or less. I dunno if that’ makes a difference. I haven’t ever really interviewed in bigger towns.

      1. Amadeo

        Although, for the university in my home state, you do have to ‘test’ to even get on an interview list that they go down systematically.

  3. esra

    If it makes OP feel better, every job I’ve had in the past ten years has only had one interview. Admittedly, with graphic designers, they’ve already seen your portfolio.

    Alison makes an extremely valid point though about making sure you have enough info. There are a lot of things you’d usually bring up at a second interview and it can feel awkward bringing those up as they immediately jump into the offer stage. Trust me though, it’s definitely still worth bringing up any questions or concerns you have. If they get put off, that is the red flag.

    1. Not the Droid You are Looking For

      I higher writers and graphic designers in one interview. But you are absolutely correct in that I’ve already assessed that you can do the work based on your portfolio. The in-person is to see if you are a culture fit and if I can put you in front of a client (not necessarily a deal breaker, more of a “good to know”).

  4. Leatherwings

    In my experience, I don’t ever feel like I have enough info after the first interview as a candidate to make a decision.

    I only had one interview for my current job, but when I got the offer I asked a bunch more questions I would’ve otherwise asked in a second interview and that made me feel comfortable accepting the job.

  5. anonykins

    I’ve only had one job that required multiple interviews; interestingly, it was one of the more dysfunctional place that I’ve worked, despite the interview process being the most robust. I got one job, from literally the other side of the world, without even a SINGLE interview – they just sent me an offer and contract after receiving my application and resume via email. My current job had one, 90ish min interview including a simulated work presentation. I was again on the other side of the world and interviewed via Skype. I think it totally depends on the company, and I don’t necessarily think having just one interview is a red flag, particularly if there are multiple people sitting in on that interview.

    1. Leatherwings

      Woah, did you end up taking the job where you didn’t get an interview? I’m curious as to whether it was a scam. But I can also see things like teaching English that they might just determine you have the qualifications and send you a contract.

      I definitely agree that multiple interviews isn’t necessarily the sign of an effective or pleasant workspace, too. It just depends on how much they give you a chance to ask about the job/workplace etc., and to make sure they’ve analyzed your skills effectively.

      1. anonykins

        Yep, took the job! I was working part time/on call for the parent company in my home country, and they had a full time position open in a franchise in an SE Asian country (not teaching English, but an adjacent field). I had never been to SE Asia, either, but I’m adventurous! I ended up staying in SE Asia for three years, and I am so glad I took the job to get me there!

  6. Tax Accountant

    I got my first job in public accounting after one ~45 minute interview. Stayed at that job for several years. It was totally fine. I got my current job after a 15 minute interview. It was so short I was worried I had done or said something wrong. I got the job through a recruiter though, and I think he gave a lot of information about me to my (now) boss, and I knew a lot about this workplace already since I had a former coworker who used to work here, so neither of us had a ton of questions for each other. I love this job. It’s a really great fit for my skills and personality.

    Definitely ask more questions if you have them, OP, but one interview, even one short interview, does not necessarily mean you are going to work someplace crappy.

  7. Former Teacher

    I have been offered several teaching positions after just one interview.

    Two were just 20 minutes with the principal (I took and LOVED both those jobs and only left because my husband was relocated to another state – we moved often earlier in his career).

    One I took after a 40 minute Skype interview and I should have run. But I blame that more on Skype than on just one interview. Because I wasn’t there, they were able to lie about certain aspects of the job/school that I could have caught if I was there, but didn’t catch on Skype.

    One I didn’t take after a 90 minute interview with 6 different people.

    In fact, in all my interview experiences, as both a teacher and in corporate America, I’ve only had two positions that had multiple interviews (both public schools in suburbs of major cities!)

    1. Rob Lowe can't read

      I got all my para/TA jobs after a single interview (because I think the main criteria was “have a pulse and appear at least marginally competent”), but my professional teaching jobs/job offers have all involved at least an in person interview and a demo lesson of some sort, and often an initial phone screen as well. I did get one job offer after a single unsuccessful interview at the same school – someone resigned or retired two weeks before the first day of school, and was I still looking for a job? (I wasn’t, but I got a really good vibe from the principal and definitely would have taken it if I had still been searching.)

  8. Nanani

    I’ve ONLY been hired after one interview – but the interview was always accompanied by a skill test (normal in my field), or was for a student job where interview is just “when can you start”.
    And now I work for myself so I’m not likely to be interviewing ever again :)

    Multiple interviews as suggested make more sense the higher up you go, though the cut-off point for needing multiple rounds or not surely varies a lot.

      1. the_scientist

        Me too- it’s totally standard in my field to have one in-person interview with a skills test (+/- an initial phone screen).

        In my case, I think most of my interviews have been fairly long, though- like 45 minutes to an hour (plus a 15 to 30 minute skills test), with a mix of behavioural and technical questions, and always with the person I’d be reporting to.

        I will say that every single job I’ve been offered has included a *detailed* letter of offer with hourly wage/salary, benefits and vacation time spelled out clearly, and if I had questions, everyone was very responsive and helpful. I’d be more wary of a single interview if I a) hadn’t met the person I’d be working for and b) had to chase down the details of the job offer and c) if the person I’d be reporting to seemed reluctant to answer follow-up questions.

  9. TypeyType

    Every job I’ve ever had came after one interview (or maybe one phone interview + one in-person interview). There was only time that I went through three interviews and didn’t get the job, and I’m really glad I didn’t get it, looking back.
    The job I currently have required only a phone interview and one in-person interview, though they did give a proofreading test during the interview.
    I got a job once without an interview. It was internal – switching from one department to another. All I did for that one was a proofreading test and a typing test. The manager there had talked with me a few times while we were both getting lunch and I was recommended for the move by the president of the company. No interview required, apparently!

  10. James

    I only had one interview for my current company (I had more interviews while transferring within the company than I did to get hired!), and the company I work for is a multi-national, Fortune 500 company. But there were a few factors in play:
    1) I knew the company well, as my spouse worked there.
    2) The interview lasted all day, not 90 minutes, and included interviews from numerous people. It was still weird, because I was so familiar with the company and had shown up to company functions (as a spouse).
    3) The job has a high turn-over. Partially this is the company’s fault for working new hires too hard, partially it’s because the folks accepting the jobs get offers for other companies, and partially it’s because the position I was hired in for had really good advancement potential (you move from “field grunt” to “manager”, leaving openings for field grunts). The end result, though, is that the company expectations weren’t that I’d be here for fifty years. They were hiring a field grunt; if things worked out, I’d get more responsibility and if they didn’t, I’d go on my way.

    It’s a risk, sure. For you and the company. But it’s a common enough occurrence that I don’t think it’s a big red flag. Maybe a yellow flag, depending on the industry and expectations, but not red. As long as you’re comfortable with what you know about this company, and believe it’s a good fit for you, it’s not enough to warrant rejecting any offers.

    1. Judy

      If you list it that way, then I’ve never had more than one phone screen plus one interview. But most of my interviews were 4-6 sessions plus lunch.

      My current company is small with less than 100 employees. There is usually a phone screen and then the interview process is an hour with the hiring manager, an hour plus with a group of senior peers, lunch with the management team, and at least 30 minutes with HR.

  11. Roscoe

    I’d say in at least half of my jobs, I got an offer after 1 in person interview. And all of those have worked out well. I think there is really some gut feeling stuff involved though. I wouldn’t be concerned about it. I mean, I understand why some places want more, but realistically I think a lot of time between the resume, phone screen, and in person interview, a lot of people can make their decsions based on that

    1. Not the Droid You are Looking For

      My only bad hire (poor fit on both ends) was someone I felt like I didn’t have enough information to make a decision on after the phone screen + interview. I let myself get talked into bringing them in for an additional interview and gave into “the you need to hire now” pressure from above.

  12. Caledonia

    I’d say, generally speaking 1 interview is common in the UK, not sure about Europe wide though, but depending where ‘overseas’ the OP’s interviewing company is based, it could be that that’s their standard practice.

    It depends on what industry and how far up you are, but I’m in admin and it’s usually a single 30-45 min interview and it’s becoming more common to have a 15-45 minute (computer/scenario based) test as well either before/after your interview.
    The higher up you are, the more interviews there are. I know a banking analyst who had an interview, test and presentation for their interview, it took all afternoon.

    1. Marmalade

      Yeah, in my experience one interview is common in New Zealand, too.
      I would find two or three interviews offputting, personally (although I would like two of one is in person and the other a phone screen or follow-up). It’s not very respectful of the xandidate’s time! Let’s say that you are job searching, apply to four jobs, and all of them have multiple interviews – how the hell are you going to manage to get that much time off work over say a two-month period? Genuinely curious how people manage that – it’s a lot of half-days of annual leave, or fake sick days, to take …

      1. Bob Barker

        Yes, all of that. Some orgs are pretty good about scheduling interviews for early in the day, or late afternoon (lunch is almost never long enough considering transit), but not all of them. I recently applied to a job that had a phone screen and three in-person interviews (supervisor, lateral colleagues, Big Boss — not the same people every time), over the course of… oh, at least 2 months. I think it was 2 fake doctor’s appointments and 1 personal day. I haven’t recently had the opportunity to be on two different interview tracks at the same time while working, or it would have been even more doctor’s appointments!

        My field is pretty bad about that, honestly. I understand that outside academia, it’s usually a phone screen +1 longish appointment meeting everyone, or a phone screen +2 shorter interviews (only if it’s difficult to line everyone up on the same day). Academics seem to think that because you have ~1 year to hire a tenure track professor (if you’re lucky and the committee doesn’t deadlock), then it’s no problem at all to take ~3 months and more first dates than a Drew Barrymore movie to hire a staff member.

    2. Alice

      As a Brit I’m completely agog at the amount of hoopla people seem to go through to get jobs in the US.

  13. Pwyll

    Are we considering a telephone interview to be an interview? I’ve pretty much always had 1 phone interview and 1 in person interview before hiring.

    1. Abbi Abrams

      Yep, that’s how I got my new job. The phone interview was very intense though, they asked the sort of questions I would have expected from an in-person interview.

  14. Bend & Snap

    I had one phone and one in-person interview for my current job, at a company that’s hard to get into.

    I think my reference clinched the quick offer though, since he was a personal and professional friend of my department head.

  15. Jubilance

    Is this like 1 in-person interview, but maybe 1-2 phone interviews?

    All of my jobs have only been 1 in-person interview. 2 of them were out of state interviews, so I flew in for the day and met with a variety of people for most of the day. For my job now, I only came in once, but did 3 interview sessions back to back, 2 interviewers in multiple sessions.

    I’ve had to do multiple phone interviews but I’d hate to come in and meet multiple people on separate days – I’d rather get it all done in 1 day, if possible.

  16. Amanda

    Does it have to do with how the economy is doing? When I was job-searching in 2007, I never had phone screens, just in-person interviews that were the only interview in the process.

    2012-2013, when the economy was in the pits, the procedure would be pretty thorough phone interview, then in-person interview.

    In 2015, it was back to one in-person interview again.

    I’ve thought that hiring managers were more careful about who they were hiring when the economy was awful and they could afford to be selective. When the economy isn’t so bad, they’re more desperate to get someone in the door quicker.

  17. Red

    In the last ten years…

    1. I had a ten minute interview about my Excel skills for what turned into a 7 year job as a medical data analyst
    2. I had no interview at all, just a cold call from a temp agency offering me a contract covering a maternity leave – in fact, as I was walking up to the office on my first day, it crossed my mind that what if they don’t actually even know I’m coming?
    3. I was asked (by the manager from #2 at the end of the contract) to forward my resume to another department director within the organization and got a job offer two weeks later.
    4. I had a 15 minute promotion interview with my direct supervisor from #3 and two other people and six months later got a call offering the promotion.

    I have been massively spoiled and my interview skills are super rusty, hah. Bless AAM. (But I also don’t have any desire at all to leave here, and they seem to think I’m the bee’s knees, so :) )

  18. BBBizAnalyst

    I was offered a role at a Fortune 500 firm after one interview. I did accept the job but it was a huge mistake. Although the firm had a great name brand, the culture was so so so awful. Id be wary of accepting if you haven’t fleshed that out.

    Needless to say, I still shudder when I see the firm’s name and would never work there again. I ended up leaving after a year. The role im in now took roughly 5 rounds of interviews.

  19. many bells down

    Mr. Bells’ current job was one interview, but it was over a full day and involved a programming test. It might be easier to make a decision quickly when you have an obviously quantifiable skill like that. And they did make it quickly – they told him they’d get back to him Monday (from a Friday interview) and called 15 minutes later as we were sitting down to dinner.

  20. Hannah

    My job hires like this and I always think that candidates must find it weird! The HR person will do a phone screen, but then when they bring you in, you have a block of 30 minute chats with maybe a half a dozen people, and that’s usually it. Most hires are internal referrals here; they seem to prefer to have an employee on the inside vouch for a candidate much more than they like to bring someone in and really spend time figuring them out.

    1. Chris

      Having a referral from inside the team of someone who is already a good fit, who thinks their candidate would also be a good fit, makes a lot of sense from a manager’s perspective. After all, if the basis of the referral is ‘I would absolutely vouch for this person fitting in well here’, the manager is likely to think ‘This person knows this team, knows the candidate, and I trust this person’s judgement’ – after all, they’re only likely to put weight on a referral from someone who has been in the team for some time, and has known the candidate for some time. In that case, it’s a really good pre-filter for the manager, and frankly, they are likely to interview the candidate anyway, to keep their existing team member happy that their opinion is valued (or they won’t get it next time).

  21. Bend & Snap

    OH and I had a 6-hour interview for an entry-level position when I first started my career. I can’t even remember how many people I met with but it included 4 VPs individually and all together.

    6 months later I got a form letter via snail mail saying they weren’t going to hire me.

    #overkill

  22. Decimus

    My favorite past employer hired me after one interview, but it was made clear to me at the interview that they were looking for someone to start as soon as possible due to business needs – it was also a short-term position. It was a one year contract and the original person had left halfway through so they were stuck and needed someone right-then. That six months got extended, then shortened, then extended, and I ended up working for them on a series of contracts for the next probably three to five years. But that was a unique situation really.

  23. Chris

    If you don’t feel you have enough information to make a decision on hiring someone in a single interview, it really sounds like:
    a) You may want to look at improving your interview process

    b) You don’t have enough information / control over the hiring process from day 1 (poor job postings, pre-filtering of the resumes by someone who doesn’t understand your needs before you see them, pre-selection of candidates by someone who isn’t a decision maker can all weaken your ability to select the best candidates from the start to interview)

    c) There are restrictions that may or may not make sense on your ability to work with the standard probationary period and say ‘it’s not working out’ and to part ways amicably. (It’s a big decision for many people, but it still happens).

    I may be spoiled. I work in an industry where a job posting I place typically gathers hundreds of applicants, from which I can select the 5-10% of highest interest / best fit to interview. In a placement where there are only two qualified applicants, this might be a tougher choice. Or you might decide to fill the position internally and train, rather than hire if the applicants aren’t suitable. But if the resume, the interview, and whatever reference checks you may be doing don’t give you a good understanding of how well this person is likely to fit into the organization within a single interview, I suspect that you are being handicapped in your ability to make this choice by one of the factors above. So from a manager’s perspective, yes, a single interview makes perfect sense.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Come on, that’s just not true, particularly as you’re hiring at more senior levels. You wouldn’t expect a CEO to be hired in one conversation, would you? And that’s not because they need to improve the hiring process; it’s because it’s a serious decision.

      1. Lily Rowan

        I also think second rounds let people shake off some nerves — people often present quite differently between the two! (For better and worse.)

      2. Chris

        Of course it’s a serious decision. In some companies, the processes don’t allow for the success of the company to be greatly influenced by the strength or weakness of the people hired; they often shoot for ‘acceptable’ and have processes in place to ensure that they always achieve it. Even in those organizations, hiring the best people is a serious responsibility that goes along with a serious obligation to ensure you have given them the chance to succeed.

        In our organization, we shoot for ‘excellent’, and we place an extremely high level of individual responsibility and authority for decision-making to meet that challenge on each member of the team compared to the industry norm. In that environment, finding and hiring the best people is probably the most critical function a manager can perform, followed only by removing obstacles to excellence, and providing common vision to what form that excellence takes that serves the business needs.

        We have run at a loss to avoid layoffs when the industry down-turned, and each member of the team is in many ways seen as family. We stay in contact with people who haven’t worked here for two decades, and in some cases have brought them back in, decades later. In that culture, a poor hire has lasting consequences and a level of responsibility that is probably significantly above the norm. There is no-one else to pass the buck to, the management here are solely responsible for their own teams’ success, and there is no HR function outside of management.

        You might tend to think this is a small-company or inexperienced approach to hiring. At peaks, my team has been over 100 people, we’ve been in business for 30 years, and we have in many ways the best, brightest, and most elite team in the industry (our customers seem to agree).

        I’d still rarely, if ever, feel the need to do a second interview, although as a manager you develop a network of contacts to do unofficial reference checks for those ‘nagging doubts’ you may have.

        Your mileage may vary.

      3. Biff

        I have to admit, I’m with Chris here, for the most part. it might just be my industry, but I think that if you can’t figure out if a candidate is pretty decent or a total stinker from a resume, cover-letter, a phone screen and an interview, there may be something wrong with your process. (I agree that for high-level positions, the game is different, but the reality is most of us are not high level exes/directors)

        Also, if they can’t make a decision about you based on your website, posting, a phone screen, and interview and an offer, you might not be sharing enough details with your candidates.

        Every job where I’ve run through a gamut of interviews, I’ve been pretty well convinced to not take it after I’m done. Same for my spouse. I often feel like when I’m talking to hiring managers that are part of this process that they don’t really know what they want or if I fit the bill. It’s an interview for the sake of practice, even. I’ve also found that they are pretty cagey with the details. They won’t show enough of their hand to even allow me to show myself as a candidate. An involved interview process with a lot of steps is definitely something I’d consider a yellow-flag if not a red flag at this point.

        But again, not all industries are the same. I can imagine situations where several interviews are required, especially if an employee is to work in multiple departments.

    2. Marmalade

      Agree 100%. This may not be true for hiring at, let’s say, the CEO level, but I think this is applicable to the vast majority of jobs.

  24. just another librarian

    I think some fields just only do one interview. I’m a public (children’s) librarian and I’ve had a second interview only once, because they couldn’t decide between another candidate and myself after the first hour-long interview. They wound up selecting me after the second interview.

    1. lamuella

      yeah, I’ve interviewed in public, academic, and health libraries in the US and the UK, and the only time there was a second interview was more a referral “hey, if you’re interviewing for this job you should interview for this one too” type deal.

    2. Library Manager

      I’m surprised to hear that! My experience as both a librarian and as a manager hiring librarians is that two interviews (phone, followed by in-person/Skype) is the norm. The only times we’ve done a single interview was when our hiring pools had only internal candidates (known quantities, so the phone screen wasn’t needed for filtering purposes).

  25. Jumpy

    Both my jobs out of college hired after just one interview – and I regret taking both offers. The workplaces have both turned out to be toxic with high turnover and there wasn’t any room for negotiating salary wise. I was just so proud to get quick offers that I jumped on them. The first one called me an hour after I left the interview and the next job called the morning after my interview.

    Maybe I’d do it again if there was a more thorough screening process other than a since 30 minute interview or if they took more than 24 hours to reach a decision about offering me the job… but I feel 1 interview wasn’t enough time for either of us to get an accurate gauge of whether or not the job (or me) would be a good fit!

  26. Mazzy

    Did the OP have a phone screen/interview first? I’ve hired people after one in-person interview, but only when I’ve done a phone call that usually lasts 20-30 minutes to screen out the bad fits and to set up good fits with enough information and background that the in person interview was actually enough, we were past the getting to know you phase and were already hitting much deeper questions.

  27. aebhel

    I got a job as a librarian after a single 20 minute interview, although I did have stellar references from a director in the same library system. It’s worked out well for me, although I don’t know how applicable that experience is on a broad scale.

  28. Elizabeth West

    I got my current job after two interviews. One was a phone interview with my old boss (she was remote) and the other an in-person to meet the team. The phone interview did not differ from an in-person interview except that we weren’t in person. They screened me with an editing test via email (which my boss later told me I aced). While I was waiting for them to get back to me, another place that had rejected me for one permanent job called to offer a different temporary position based on that interview. I emailed my old boss to see what her timeline was and she offered me the job.

    Everything else has been phone screen + one in-person interview, or just an interview. I’m an admin.

  29. Canadian AAM reader

    I’m Canadian, so things may be done differently here, but every job I’ve ever had has only had a single, in person interview that lasts between 30 and 40 minutes. I’ve worked in banks, in the legal sector and my current job is with the provincial government. The government job had a short test the same day as the interview, but my other jobs only had the interview. Maybe it’s my experience but this is totally the norm for me and anything longer or multiple interviews would seem different to me.

      1. Another Canadian

        +1

        It Canadian as well and I’ve never had a phone interview or a Skype interview or a day long interview or anything like that. All of my interviews have been a single interview that’s around 45 minutes. I’ve worked also worked for the government as well as at a university and in a STEM field.

  30. Lia

    At my university, it’s all over the map. I was hired after one phone interview and one in-person interview (which lasted 2.5 hours and was with 2 people). I know people who were hired at mid-level positions (no direct reports but in a position that requires a master’s degree) with one interview. I also know of searches for similar or lower positions that do 4+ interview visits (in other words, at each interview visit, you might meet with a panel and one on one with a supervisor, then meet with other staff individually or in small groups).

    It seems almost at the whim of the hiring manager. The searches with more interviews, not surprisingly, tend to drag on longer and tend to have a much higher failure rate, probably because people wind up finding other jobs in the 4+ months these searches take.

  31. Anon Always

    I’ve only been hired after one job with a single interview. And I was hired on the spot (the hiring manager chased me out into the parking lot to offer me the position). It was the worst job I’ve ever had. Although that had more to do with the undefined and unorganized department that I was in than the interview process.

    Now, I have had jobs where I’ve had phone interviews and skype interviews followed by a single in person interview, and I’ve had all day interviews were I met with multiple people during the day, but I count all of those as multiple interviews.

    For me, I want to not only meet the hiring manager and get a sense of what the job would be like, but I also want an opportunity to interview with the people who would be my colleagues and direct reports. I feel like you learn so much about an organization when you not only have a chance to meet with the senior leadership but also the rest of the staff that you will be working with. For example, there is one job I turned down specifically because several of the non-hiring manager people that I interviewed mentioned that the person who would be my boss was very difficult to work with and wasn’t very flexible. People let things slip the more time you spend with them. As a candidate I want to gather as much information as I can, and when I hire I want the same opportunity. But, everyone is different.

  32. Aurora Leigh

    First job (as a high school student): 1 in person interview about 30 minutes long and then a skill test a couple days later, offer call a few days later.

    Second job (after college): 1 30 minute in person panel interview, offer call about an hour later. Super small org, needed someone quickly.

    New job: 1 phone interview, 45 minute in person interview (saw 3 people separately for about 15 mins each), offer call about an hour later. I had the background they were looking for, and a recommendation from a current employee . . . the whole interview felt like a formality.

    So I think one interview is pretty normal!

  33. Alessa

    I think hiring has become ridiculous in terms of how long it takes. Phone screens and then two or three interviews…I seriously do not think it’s necessary to speak to everyone in the department for a simple Development Assistant position but that seems to have become the norm in non-profits.

    I’m out of work, and I had a first interview at the beginning of June and only just had a third and final interview this week…and that is typical in terms of scheduling. At that point it’s diminishing returns. You’re not learning that much more about a candidate. The people who initially spoke to the candidate no longer have a fresh idea of the candidate. And if you’re hiring you allegedly need to fill the position, right? So how do you have the time and resources to drag the process out so long, with so many candidates?

    1. Jaguar

      Yeah, I think Allison’s advice is really off here. Being able to offer a job to a candidate once you’re sure they’re the one you want is an advantage.

      OP, you should be concerned if you have concerns and they weren’t addressed. If you got to figure out everything you wanted to about the company and the position, don’t let only having one interview bother you. They heard what they wanted to and want to bring you on. One interview is totally normal.

        1. Jaguar

          Thorough is great. I’m usually very rigorous with an interviewer that anything I consider might be a problem (lack of experience in something, cultural difference, etc.) won’t be a problem. I want them to know exactly who I am and who I am not and hire me on that basis.

          But it really doesn’t take more than one interview if the interviewer knows what they want to cover. If they don’t know what they want and need to think of it after the interview, just e-mail or phone the applicant and ask. You wouldn’t be impressed by a multi-stage order at McDonalds (“is this the hamburger you want?”). Why is playing games in the interview process a good thing? I just don’t get it at all.

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            It’s just not true that it doesn’t take more than one interview. You keep saying that as if it’s an absolute, but it’s just not true in all fields/all jobs/all contexts.

          2. Jaguar

            I think what really bothers me most about this is that interviewing is an inherently dehumanising experience for the applicant. You’re being asked to lay yourself bare and be judged by someone you don’t know and either won’t meet again or, in the positive case, wind up working for. It feels really disrespectful to me to drag it out.

            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              Two meetings is hardly outrageous before embarking on a serious, long-term business relationship. And interviews are two-way streets, as you noted above; they’re opportunities for both sides to gather information and assess and judge.

              1. Jaguar

                Right, but the interviewer isn’t being judged. The company is. I’m not bothered by a company being dehumanized.

                Maybe all the second-or-more interviews I’ve ever been on (assuming we’re talking about pre-arranged times, not phone screening) have been awful, but I’ve always left wondering what the point of that was. There’s no way they could have gotten anything out of them that they couldn’t have gotten the first time around. Likewise, most of the well run interviews I’ve been on, they’ve made up their mind on the basis of that interview. Maybe it’s just a matter of the vast majority of employers being bad at interviewing, but that’s still helpful to know as someone seeking advice: multiple rounds of interviews isn’t necessarily a good thing. It can very easily be information that you should reconsider.

                1. Ask a Manager Post author

                  Absolutely the interviewer is being judged! If the interviewer is the hiring manager, there should be a ton of judging going on, since whether you want this person to be your boss should be a huge factor in your decision-making.

                  In any case, it appears from other Canadians’ comments here that conventions on this are different in Canada.

                  I think we’ll have to agree to disagree.

                2. Biff

                  Not to pile on, but to maybe give you a concrete real-life example of why the interviewer should be judged by the candidate:

                  I interviewed years ago at a company that didn’t have me interview with the hiring manager. There was a reason for that. He was creepy, sexist, racist in a way only a ‘well traveled hipster seeking enlightenment’ can be, and had serious anger management issues. The rest of the company didn’t have these issues, at all. But the man I ended up working for most certainly did. Had I met him, I probably would have run for the hills and camped out. He was most certainly that bad. He cost the company so many good employees. They couldn’t take him anymore and bolted.

                  People need a chance to interview their boss and make sure that they are people with whom they can work. It’s not just the company — a lame boss, a weak boss, a mean boss, or an unavailable boss could make your time at an otherwise excellent company completely miserable.

    2. Fluffer Nutter

      Right? I’m over it. C level, yes. But when you’re trying to sneak out for yet another “doctor’s appointment” (as another commenter said, maybe you have to interview for 5 jobs x 2-4 interviews, tests, etc before you get an offer) how stressed are you and how badly might a good candidate present? I think it can be like having too many rehearsals before the live performance.

      1. AcademiaNut

        That’s what I was thinking.

        For a higher level, CEO type position, I can definitely see multiple interviews. But for a low or mid level position, getting time off of work 2-4 times per job interviewed for is a non-trivial task for a lot of people already in lower level positions. To the point that they may need to or resign themselves to not having any breaks and coming into work sick for the rest of the year, or even drop out of the interview process altogether, because going to any more interviews will get them fired.

        If the interviews are flexible for time, and evenings and weekends are available it’s different, but don’t think that’s all that common.

  34. Marmalade

    This is one of the few times that I’ve ever felt really out of step with AAM! I can understand it if we’re talking about a high-level executive, but two or three interviews (presumably plus an initial phone screen) seems really excessive for most jobs.

      1. Marmalade

        Just to clarify, that’s two interviews plus the phone screen? Very much not the norm in my country, thank goodness.
        How are candidates able to take this much time off to interview? If you interview for several jobs, that’s a whole bunch of afternoons that you need to take leave, often without more than a few days notice … I don’t understand how people can do this while keeping their job search on the DL, as is generally necessary.

        1. Biff

          In my experience, anyone who is getting serious with the interview process suddenly has a series of appointments with a specialist doctor. Which of course, means anyone who is REALLY seeing a specialist a little nervous about the message being sent to the boss.

  35. Alice

    Maybe it’s just a cultural difference as I’m in the UK, but every job I’ve ever had has been offered after one interview, (though some did come with a technical skills test as my field is Informatics). I’d be a bit taken aback at being called back for a second interview and the prospect of a third would make me lose interest in the employer completely and think they were just disorganised/unable to make a decision.

    1. Marmalade

      Yes, agreed. What I’m seeing in the comments is that the Commonwealth approach is less drawn-out.

  36. Trill

    I was recently offered a job after only a 20 minute phone interview!! And they didn’t even check any of my references before offering me the job. And this was a relatively high level professional job requiring a graduate degree plus experience.
    Thankfully I insisted on meeting with them in person before accepting, and saw how dysfunction, inefficient, space-crunched and non-ergonomic that workplace was. Crisis averted.

  37. Sans

    Actually, my last four jobs just had one interview. However, only in my current job was I totally unknown to the company beforehand. I interviewed with my boss and her boss. It was 2.5 hours long, during which they reviewed my portfolio and gave me a writing test. They offered me the job the next day. My previous jobs were either freelance clients that turned fulltime, or I knew someone at the company, so they felt more confident hiring me after one interview.

    The interview I had with my current company was pretty thorough. I felt confident we both knew enough to make a decision. Plus, I really wanted to get out of my job at the time. lol

  38. Callietwo

    I had a phone interview that I didn’t realize was going to be a phone interview with my manager for the position I hold now… I thought I was just calling her to schedule an interview and we spoke for about 45 minutes at which point I initially declined an in person interview because I didn’t think I’d be a good fit. Then she says “I just spent 45 minutes talking to you and you are exactly what I think I’m looking for in this position”. So I figured, what the hell, at least just go and practice your interviewing. Walked into a room with six people sitting around the table. I have absolutely no idea how long I was there.. maybe another 45 minutes?

    Next morning, I’m doing my “thank you’s” and she calls and says “When can you come in?” I said something to along the lines of asking “with whom would I be interviewing?” and she said “oh, I didn’t mean for an interview, but to start!”. Whoa.

    Flip side, my husband interviewed with the local hospital for the IT dept and theirs was a 5 hour interview which included an hour long tour. Second interview, another 5 hours. Not only did he not get the job, but he never heard a word from them again. He knew he wasn’t chosen because it was between him and his very good friend and coworker was hired instead.

    Of course, when they asked him where he sees himself in 10 years, he was a total idiot. He was just two months shy of his 65th birthday and as a total goofball said “well, hopefully still above ground”. *sigh* He’s a total goofball and just didn’t take the question with the seriousness that comes with a job interview. That said, I have no idea how someone that age even answers a question like that in an interview. I’m younger than him so he has no plans to retire any time soon but really, such a dumb question.

    1. Callietwo

      Sorry, my point was… sometimes one interview is enough.. wish I could edit my posts here!

  39. stevenz

    Research has shown that a thorough recruiting process results in no better outcomes than hiring or promoting randomly.

  40. Mirilla

    This actually just happened to me last month. I had a phone call about a job asking me to come in the following Monday to talk to me. No phone screen. Monday we have a 30 minute meeting and I get a quick tour with the girl I’ll be working with, but didn’t really have a chance to go over anything with her (like what I’d actually be doing.) At the end of the interview, he tells me he’ll have a decision that afternoon. I’m like, what? I didn’t have much info. about the job so I was surprised by how fast he was moving.

    He called me Wed. to offer me the job. He didn’t even ask for my references. I had questions lined up but it was his day off ( umm hello, you called me!) so he didn’t know all the answers. I asked for a day to think about it and he said yes.

    The next day I called and asked for a second meeting to go over benefits, job duties, etc…before I gave a firm commitment to this. I really was leaning towards taking this job. He sounded annoyed, like I was asking too many questions. He called an hour later and cancelled the meeting, saying he had to meet with the board to go over details of the job.

    I haven’t heard from him since.

    I’m still not sure if this was a normal interview process but I felt very rushed and I certainly didn’t have anything in writing about the job. What sucks is they would have trained me for this position which would have been great. However, red flags were everywhere else. I went from really excited, to wanting to know more about the job, to nervous at his quick hiring pace and lack of thoroughness, to discouraged at not hearing from him, to now just annoyed. I’m not sure if the job was ever approved by the board now, or if he was just short-tempered and wanted a fast answer.

  41. Milton Waddams

    Personally, I’m glad that one-interview companies exist, even if that includes fly-by-night toxic companies that will hire anybody with a pulse. The trend towards the endless interview that stretches across months is due to senior management not putting their foot down on CYA practices, and usually a symptom of a larger organizational problem where employees are kept and promoted based on their ability to avoid blame. Endless interviews produce the candidates who are safest for middle-managers to sign off on, not the candidates who are best for a company.

  42. Andrew

    Looking for work now, I had an initial phone screening with a recruiter for a temp to perm position, went to the recruiter’s office a few hours later and talked about the position. Not sure what to do, but I am leaning on not taking the position, it sounds like the recruiter is vetting the process by sending the resume to the company, and if the company says yes, you can start immediately. It just seems risky to take the position, go to the job and hope it goes well without going in and being able to observe the work place. Glassdoor reviews mentioned high turnover and bad work life balance as a consistent review from most posts.

    The flip side, back in 2014, I went through a phone screen with a recruiter, about 30 minutes and a phone interview with the direct manager for 60 minutes, an hour in-person interview with the direct manager and one other team member. After that interview, I had another hour interview with the VP. It was a long process and I didn’t get the job.

    At the same time I also went through a similar interview process, but slightly shorter. First the recruiter, then direct manager, finally in-person working interview with a coworker and manager. After that, another interview with the rest of the team and then an offer on the table.

    I understand talking to multiple people, but at the time I was working and was using all my PTO for interviews, prob would have been more efficient if I met with other people the same day…

  43. Anja

    My job I’m in now was from a single hour long phone interview while I was on vacation in Hungary (with people in Canada). The first day I saw people from that job was the day I showed up for work after quitting my job with a Big 4 accounting firm and moving 1,000km. Just had my two year anniversary there and I’m still glad I made the decision to go with it.

  44. AusAnon

    I was on an interview panel last year where we did one 20 minute interview per applicant. No telephone screen, they just sent in the CV and response to selection criteria and we picked the best three and interviewed them and made a decision immediately afterwards. Reference checking was then done and then the person we liked most was offered the job (& she accepted). She seemed a bit surprised there wasn’t more to it – at the end of the interview she asked about what the process was going to be next, and would we doing another interview of people we wanted to progress further in the process, but no, that was it. I’m not advocating such an approach but it turned out really well; she is the best person we’ve ever had in the role. Oh, and this was a pretty good paying job ($AUD$115K, so around US$90K); project management at a university.

  45. Gazebo Slayer (formerly I'm a Little Teapot)

    I was once offered a job after only a phone interview; I’d never met anyone there face to face. It was for a limited-term position, but still pretty startling; I applied Monday, got a surprise phone interview out of the blue Tuesday, and started work Wednesday.

    The job turned out great, surprisingly enough.

  46. Audiophile

    Many of the jobs I’ve held have been offered to me after only one interviewing. From my first post-graduation job, which I stayed in for about 2 years. The next string of jobs I held after that were through an agency, so it makes sense that clients would make an offer after one interview, since I’d already been vetted by the agency.

    The last two jobs I’ve held were also offered after one round. While it did make me nervous, both times, I wasn’t really in a position to turn either job down. I didn’t have tons of offers rolling in to choose from.

  47. Vendrus

    (UK like some others so not culturally related, but still…)
    My company is highly selective and often looking for some pretty specific skill sets within the general job, even for low-level hires. We still don’t have more than one interview, but the format’s very good and one I’d highly recommend for similarish situations. It takes place over ~half a day:

    – Group introduction to company (powerpointy)
    – 30 min interview with one HR person and one technical person in your field (and therefore usually the department that’s interested in you. If multiple departments are, probably multiple tech people)
    – Lunch with a range of people, mostly of the same job level but with a smattering of managers etc
    – Group task

    There’s the formal interview which acts as something of a skills test. You get the task so they can see how you interact with other people/think under a bit of pressure. You get to talk to people who are already in the company so you can appreciate the culture more – and it’s more relaxed. One guy was originally a complete no-go from the interview, but good reports from the lunch chat got him a second chat later in the day and finally an offer. Too nervous and new to interviews to do well initially but knew his stuff in a more relaxed environment!

    I do generally feel that formal interviews only – phone or otherwise – are a bad idea if you want people who’ll fit with the team and the company. It’s rare that someone shows their true colours in a suit!

    1. Vendrus

      Forgot to add that it’s very rare for a new hire to be poor. We have a fair turnover of entry-level hires but that’s as much to do with the location and people taking time to work out what they really want to do. Overall, even with a major drive to hire graduates and apprentices I think the average time spent working here is about 15 years!

  48. That Marketing Chick

    I was offered my current job after a very short phone interview and a fairly long (about 2 hours) in-person interview. I walked out of the interview feeling like it was a good fit and I was meant to work there (which I had not felt at other interviews)… and they called to offer me the job a couple of days later. I had a strong resume, a portfolio, and offered to illustrate my knowledge of particular software, so I don’t think it’s that they didn’t do their due diligence; I made it easy for them to assess and make a decision. Sometimes, it happens… although I agree that it could also be a warning sign. You just have to go with your gut!

  49. Stevie Wonders

    Funny, 30+ years ago one interview was standard for most jobs, and companies seemed to have no problem getting good employees. Now they can’t seem to make up their mind after multiple extended interviews. Despite evidence that such a drawn out process hasn’t improved outcomes.

  50. Chris Hogg

    Job seekers / candidates absolutely need to answer, carefully and in detail, these four questions: 1) What is the job? 2) Can I do the job? 3) Can I do the job the way the employer wants it done? 4) Does this job meet my needs (and we’re talking more than money here)? So the real issue here is not how many interviews should there be, but rather, what do I have to do in order to answer these questions?

  51. Deployed Analyst

    I don’t know how I got my current job, the interview was a complete disaster.

    I applied for a job that popped up in my LinkedIn page on a lark, doing data analysis in a conflict zone. I’d been doing data analysis for 4 years Stateside and bored so figured what the heck. No resume, no cover letter. They had a strict format for the application they wanted filled out and only the form. Figured that was a great way to filter out people that can’t be bothered to read/follow instructions.

    Six weeks later I got an email saying I was selected to interview via Skype. At 4 AM I’m in a suit/tie facing a laptop. Camera is on on my end, but their end was just a logo, so I couldn’t see the people asking questions. As far as I was concerned, the interview was a disaster. Did you know that there are actually NAMES for the two different types of cells in Excel. Been using Excel for years, never knew they had actual names, which of course as part of the technical skills portion of the interview they asked me.

    So, 29 minutes after logging on I logged off. Told my wife I wasn’t getting that job. Two weeks later they asked how soon I could leave. A week after that I was wearing body armor and doing spreadsheets.

    Interviews are weird.

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