The job interview process can be long and arduous. And, in some cases, you may even be faced with an interview that is 2 hours or more.
In this article, we’re going to break down what to expect if you do have a 2 hour interview coming up. We’ll discuss whether or not a 2 hour interview is normal, if it’s a good sign of a potential forthcoming job offer, what to expect, and how to prepare.
Are 2 Hour Interviews Normal?
In certain contexts, yes, 2 hours interviews are normal. A 2 hour interview is normal as a later stage interview with multiple people, or as one that involves some type of technical exercise.
Situations that would be abnormal to have a 2 hour interview would be initial phone screening calls, first interviews with a hiring manager, or pretty much any first conversation in the interview process.
Is a 2 Hour Interview a Good Sign?
Yes, a 2 hour interview is a good sign.
If you have a 2 hour interview scheduled, it often means that multiple people will be involved from the hiring company. If the hiring manager is bringing in multiple other people at the company to help vet you, that means that he or she likely thinks that you’re a promising candidate.
Alternatively, if you have an interview that is scheduled for say 1 hour, and it goes 2 hours, that’s a really good sign that the person interviewing you was engaged in the conversation.
It’s important to remember that the company is also investing its time in talking to you and would not want to waste time and resources if it didn’t think that you were a promising candidate.
What Happens at a 2 Hour Interview?
If you get scheduled for a 2 hour interview, it commonly means you’ll be faced with one of the following three scenarios:
1. A Panel Interview
As previously mentioned, an interview that is 2 hours or more often means that multiple people will be involved in the process. One of the forms that could take is a panel interview.
A panel interview is an interview where multiple people from the company interview you at the same time. I’ve seen or been involved in panel interviews with 2 people at once, or have seen ones with as many around 6 people for larger settings.
In a panel interview, people in the room will generally alternate asking questions while the group listens in.
While a 2 hour panel interview may feel long, it can actually be a fairly efficient way to conduct an interview if all of the people in the interview truly do need to be involved in the process. Imagine if you had a 6 person panel and you had to schedule time with all 6 of those people separately.
2. Separate Interviews with Multiple People
Similar to the panel interview scenario, a 2 hour interview could also mean that you have multiple interviews scheduled during a single bock of time.
In this case, you may be interviewing with the hiring manager for an hour, a potential colleague for a half hour, an executive for another half hour, etc.
Companies will often want you to interview with multiple people to get a variety of perspectives on your capabilities and fit, and it’s not uncommon to schedule stack in this way.
3. You Need to Complete a Test or Exercise of Some Sort
The final thing that could happen that would lead to a 2 hour interview would be that you need to complete an aptitude test of some sort.
In particular, this is common for technical jobs like a web developer where you need to a set of complicated skills.
If you’re facing an aptitude test during your interview, a company will often create a scenario or two for you that is similar to one that you’ll face in your job. From there, you’ll have a scheduled block of time to figure out how to solve those problems and then you’ll need to walk the stakeholders from the company through how you solved the problem.
How to Prepare for a 2 Hour Interview?
If you’re faced with a 2 hour interview, your preparation is going to be similar to that of a regular interview. However, in addition to your regular preparation, there are also some unique things that you’ll want to do to prepare for a 2 hour interview:
- Check with the recruiter or primary form of contact to confirm the format of your 2 hour interview (i.e., panel, aptitude test, etc.)
- Research all of the people that will be involved in your 2 hour interview beforehand on LinkedIn
- If multiple people are involved, bring multiple printed copies of your resume
- If you’re faced with an aptitude test, complete common aptitude tests for your field online in advance of the interview
- Eat a good meal prior to the interview
- Bring a water bottle, snacks, etc. to ensure that you’re able to maintain your energy level throughout the process
A 2-hour interview is a long process. However, if a company schedules one with you, that can be a good sign that you’re a serious candidate. So be thankful that you have on the calendar. And prepare accordingly to put your best foot forward.
If you perform well during the 2 hour interview, you may have a job offer on the way that you’ll need to evaluate. If that’s the case, make sure you have your references ready to go. And whether you accept or decline the job offer, may sure to approach the process professionally, both with the new company and with telling your manager that you’re leaving and putting in your two weeks at your old company.