Everyone knows that the average job search can be a lengthy process. You’re probably wondering: how many interviews can I expect before receiving a job offer?
In today’s competitive job market, you might end up interviewing two, three or even four times for multiple firms before landing the ideal role.
The fact is, there’s no strict formula for how many interviews someone has to do before they’re offered a role. It comes down to the employer’s hiring process, the role itself and how many people – candidates and interviewers – are involved.
How many interviews do you have before you get a job?
While there’s no average number of interviews before getting a job, most companies interview the most successful candidates between one to three times.
Entry-level jobs tend to involve one face-to-face interview after the initial telephone interview, while senior roles may require more.
It used to be that employers would wait until they received at least ten good candidates before conducting interviews. In today’s fast-paced world, this is not as common anymore – an employer might decide to interview candidates as soon as they encounter suitable CVs.
To recap, the number of interviews depends on the following:
- Hiring process – some are more streamlined than others.
- The role itself – if you’re applying for a highly skilled job or one with a lot of responsibility, you may be expected to attend more interviews.
- Experience and qualifications – the employer may want to check your capability by asking you to carry out a task as part of the interview process.
- Competition – if there are many suitable candidates, the employer may need longer to decide who will be the best fit.
The first round of interviews is usually (but not always) conducted over the phone or via video call. Someone from human resources or the recruitment agency representing you will contact you to arrange this.
Phone and video interviews enable the employer to start identifying candidates who may or may not be suitable without having to take the time to meet them in person.
Factors like the amount of out of hours support required or personality fits within the team might be a point of discussion at the telephone interview stage. If you find out that the role requires you to travel over an hour to the workplace but want to work closer to home, you might decide to drop out of the process.
If your phone or video interview is successful, you’ll be invited to a face-to-face interview at the employer’s premises (or a second video interview in the case of a remote company). There are many things an employer can glean from an in-person interview that they can’t do on the phone.
Here are some examples of things the interview may pay attention to:
- How punctual you are (don’t arrive too early or too late).
- How polished you are.
- Your level of politeness and ability to start building a rapport with people in the company, such as the receptionist.
- How organised you seem – do you have any documents they asked you to bring in an accessible, organised folder, for example?
- How confident and enthusiastic you seem in your tone and body language.
- How much research and preparation you carried out - this will be evident to a large extent in your responses to the employer’s interview questions.
Read our article on signs you will get the job after an interview.
Why do companies have so many rounds of interviews?
You might be offered the job after your first face-to-face interview or invited to multiple rounds of interviews. Here are six reasons a company might have more than one round of in-person interviews before making a decision.
1. They want to know you better
The employer might want to gauge your personality and find out your needs and motivations to help them decide if you’re a good fit.
2. Other staff members need to meet you
Additional members of the team – people who, if you’re successful, you’ll be working with – may also need to meet you. Getting everyone in the same place at the same time isn't always possible, so you might need to interview them separately.
3. The information on your CV needs to be checked
The interviewer might want to discuss your job application in more detail, including your previous work experience and the skills you purport to have.
4. They want to verify your skills
The interviewer might ask you to carry out a task or ‘test’ as part of the interview process. Employers sometimes do this to see candidates’ ability to present their ideas or perform specific tasks. You may or may not be given time before the interview to prepare.
5. They’re allowing you to ask questions
Every interviewer should give you the chance to ask questions. You might have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of your first or second interview. You could ask about the hours you’ll be working or the company’s policy on flexible working, for instance.
6. The first candidate turned down the offer
You might be invited to a second interview if the initial successful candidate turned the offer down. If there’s no clear ‘second choice’, the employer might want to do final interviews to help them decide. Fingers crossed, you'll receive an offer from the hiring manager!
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Oriel Partners is a boutique PA and administrative recruitment agency in London, specialising in PA, EA and office admin recruitment roles.