Job applicant's sitting in chairs while waiting to be interviewed.

How Many Interviews?

career start job application Jul 19, 2022

During my career counseling and speaking with friends and colleagues, two of the most common questions and complaints were the concerns I've heard regarding interviewing and getting job offers.

How Many Interviews Should I Expect for the Same Position?

The first one is, "I'm going back from my "nth" job interview. How many of these things are appropriate?" The second question is," I received the job offer, but I'm concerned about how much time they gave me to respond." Third, "What's a reasonable amount of time a company should give a prospective hire to respond to an offer?" So I thought I'd address these. I'm going to do the first one, and then the second one I'll do in a future podcast.

Is the Company Still Interested in Hiring Me?

How many interviews are appropriate before a company should make an offer or let you know that they are no longer interested in you as a candidate? So one of the most significant factors in answering this question is your professional level. So to be clear here, I'm not talking about the C-Suite folks. That's not the focus of this podcast.

How Many Interviews for a Person Who Just Graduated?

So let's take the first one first. What if you're entering the job market just after graduating college? How many interviews are appropriate? Well, your resume is thin if you're entering the job market. Unless you put a bunch of junk in there that you shouldn't have. Frankly, besides school extracurricular activities, maybe some past jobs, and internships, there isn't that much to discuss during an interview. The second factor is if you're hired, your cost to and immediate impact on the company should be minimal until you gain real-world experience.

So in my case, I would have a junior person, someone who may have one or two years on a job or out of school, and then a project leader does the interviews. Then make the hiring decision based on their assessment of the candidate compared to the other candidates. They'd be responsible for assessing their technical skills and expected it fit within my business unit. These interviews would generally be about a half hour in sequence, so the interviewee would only have to come in once.

What is a reasonable amount of interviewing for an entry position? If the company has its act together, it should be able to decide on a junior person after a couple of interviews. I am, hopefully, conducted on a single day.

I think more than that reflects poor interviewing techniques and indecision. But as you progress in seniority, the number of interviews and the seniority of the people conducting the discussions will increase. After all, the person being interviewed will have more of a professional history to discuss and will be expected to contribute sooner after hiring. They will be paid a higher compensation as well.

How Many Interviews with the Same Company, Should A Mid-Level Applicant Expect?

So how about that mid-level person? How many interviews should that person expect to have before a hiring decision is done? Well, having three to five people within the organization conduct the interview for mid-level candidates is a reasonable number. That would typically include, at a minimum, a peer, a supervisor, and the supervisor's supervisor. These can be from a half hour to an hour long; if possible, they'd be done on the same day. In addition, a follow on interview might be warranted if there are further questions or if there's a tight competition for the position.

How Many Interviews Should A Senior Person Expect for One Position?

So finally, for that senior person, how many interviews are appropriate? Well, more obviously, for the senior person, in addition to what is done for the mid-level, there'll probably be others within the organization. For example, if you're getting hired into a marketing position, but you're going to have to interact with some finance people, there might be a finance person that you talk to as well. So it would not be uncommon for five or more people to be involved in that interview.

Getting five senior people on an interview calendar for a single day is difficult. So it's not uncommon for this to be done over more than one day. Return engagements are not unusual. The involvement of a director or C-Suite level people is common.

So I hope that helped. What are some takeaways?

How many interviews before you get a job offer?

The number of interviews that should be done before making an offer is largely based on your seniority, and you should expect more the more senior you are. T

How many interviews are too many?

If you're a junior person going for your third interview or more, that should be a bit of a warning sign they're indecisive.

How many interviews are too few?

If you're a senior person and only speak to one or two people, that should be a warning sign.