While it's important to prepare thoroughly for an interview, it may be even more important to make an enduring impression.
Recent research suggests that the majority of hiring managers tend to take a little more time to judge an applicant before reaching a final conclusion than many might think.
The study, conducted by researchers from Old Dominion University, Florida State University and Clemson University, analyzed more than 600 job interviews of 30 minutes or more with college and graduate students. Interestingly, only 4.9 percent of interviewers said they made quick decisions about an applicant’s suitability and reached a conclusion within the first minute.
Nearly 60 percent — or more than half — of hiring managers said they made their decisions within the first 15 minutes, about halfway through the scheduled interview time. That’s encouraging news for most job-seekers. While a good first impression is something to aim for, an early interview slip-up probably won’t be a deal-breaker.
Typically, longer job interviews are believed to be better for the candidate and the company, according to Jacquelyn Smith of Business Insider, who said it's a bad sign if an interview ends abruptly.
For the applicant, more interview time means more chances to demonstrate abilities, competencies and more opportunity to prove why he or she is the right fit. Similarly, longer interviews give the interviewer chances to learn more information and get away from making decisions off of initial impressions.
Joe Weinlick, vice president of online career network Beyond, agrees. To him, long interviews also mean a hiring manager is strongly considering hiring the applicant.
“When interviews run long, it means that they were so interested in what you had to say that they forgot their other priorities and wanted to talk longer,” he said in an interview with Fast Company, although this may not always be the case.
The order in which a candidate is interviewed can also influence interview length. According to the study mentioned above, “Being the fourth person interviewed seems to offer the best chance of having a substantive interview.”
The research also found that interviewers who followed structured interview guidelines, asking each applicant identical questions and measuring each candidate against a consistent rubric, were more prone to take more time to make a decision.
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