Is a Short Interview Bad? [Decoding the Length of Your Job Interview]

is a short interview bad

A short interview can often leave candidates feeling uncertain and doubtful about their performance. The general assumption is that a brief conversation with the interviewer might indicate a lack of interest or a poor fit for the role. However, this perspective might not always hold true. There are several factors at play when it comes to interview length, and understanding the variables can help alleviate the stress associated with short encounters.

The interview process itself varies across industries and companies. Each organization follows different interview methods and has unique expectations, leading to different experiences for candidates. It’s essential to acknowledge that a short interview does not inherently signify a negative outcome. Instead, it’s crucial to focus on the quality of the interaction with the interviewer and assess the conversation’s content to gauge the overall performance.

Key Takeaways

  • A short interview may not necessarily imply a lack of interest or poor performance.
  • Interview length and assessment methods can vary significantly across companies and industries.
  • The quality of the interaction between the candidate and interviewer is more important than the interview’s duration.

Understanding Short Interviews

Short interviews can be a part of the hiring process and may leave candidates wondering if they are a negative sign. It is important to recognize that a short interview does not necessarily mean a bad outcome. The interviewer may simply be efficient, or the hiring manager may have already gathered enough information about the candidate’s experience, skills, and abilities.

In some situations, short interviews may be an intentional strategy by interviewers. They might seek to save time and focus on specific aspects of the candidate’s qualifications. Additionally, if the hiring manager is experienced, they may be adept at quickly determining whether a candidate is a potential fit for the role.

pie chart showing the factors that can affect the length of an interview

Moreover, short interviews could be a result of the organization’s overall hiring strategy. Companies might choose to conduct initial conversations with multiple applicants before deciding on a small pool of candidates for more in-depth assessments. In such cases, the initial interview may be intentionally brief to facilitate this process.

It is essential for candidates to remain confident and adapt to the situation, regardless of the interview’s duration. A shorter interview might require applicants to be more concise and impactful in their responses. This enables them to effectively convey their experience and qualifications, ensuring a positive impression on the interviewer.

Potential Interpretations

Short interviews can lead to different interpretations, depending on numerous factors. One possibility is that the interviewer already has a gut feeling about the candidate’s suitability for the job, which could be either positive or negative.

A brief interview may be a positive sign, indicating that the applicant has impressed the interviewer with their qualifications, experiences, or how they presented themselves confidently and knowledgably. In such cases, the interviewer might feel that additional questions or discussion are not necessary, as the candidate has demonstrated their value to the organization.

White collar woman feeling confused after a short job interview

Conversely, short interviews can be red flags, representing a lack of interest in the candidate by the interviewer. This can occur if the applicant’s responses or demeanor have caused concerns about their suitability for the position, leading the interviewer to wrap up the interview quickly. It’s important to recognize that gut feelings can sometimes be a result of stereotypes and unconscious biases; thus, this duration-related interpretation should be taken with caution.

Misreading the situation is something that happens occasionally, in which a candidate might assume a short interview as a negative sign when it’s not. This confusion might arise due to different interviewing styles, the tight schedule of the interviewer, or cultural differences. In such cases, it’s essential to be patient and not jump to conclusions, as the final hiring decision will ultimately depend on the employer’s evaluation of the candidate’s overall fit for the position.

Gut FeelingCould be Positive/NegativeInterviewer has made up their mind
Positive SignPositiveCandidate has demonstrated value
Negative SignNegativeLack of interest in candidate
MisreadingNeutralVarious factors like interview style, culture, etc.
Table 1: Potential Interpretations of Short Interviews

Importance of Quality Over Quantity

In a job interview, quality questions are often more crucial than lengthy sessions. Interviews are about understanding a candidate’s skills, experience, and fit in the organization, rather than how long they interact with the interviewer.

Focused questions can efficiently assess a candidate’s resume and expertise. Rather than asking numerous general questions, interviewers are better off zeroing in on targeted, concrete topics that reveal the candidate’s applicable skills. By doing so, assessment is focused on quality indicators instead of the quantity of questions asked.

Female during a quick interview

Effective interviews prioritize efficiency and relevance in their questions. Employers usually have limited time to assess candidates. A concise, well-structured approach reduces time spent, while still providing valuable insights for decision-making. A few well-planned, specific queries can uncover more about a candidate than multiple generic questions.

Another essential aspect for employers to consider is the cultural fit. Sometimes, a shorter interview can naturally address this concern. Engaging in a brief, quality interview promotes open communication between the candidate and interviewer, effectively shedding light on how the candidate’s values align with the company culture.

Assessment Methods Used by Interviewers

Interviewers employ a variety of assessment methods in the hiring process to evaluate candidate fit for a position. These methods vary from company to company and may include structured interviews, behavioral interviews, technical assessments, and more. The purpose of such methods is to assess a candidate’s skills, personality, and experience, ultimately helping the recruiter determine if the individual is suitable for the role and the company culture.

During the initial stages of the hiring process, interviewers often use brief interviews to screen large numbers of applicants. Short interviews can help recruiters quickly identify promising candidates and determine the next steps for those who show potential. Typically, these interviews focus on the applicant’s job experience, education, and general fit for the role. They are usually conducted via phone or video call, and their brevity doesn’t necessarily mean a negative outcome for the candidate.

Businessman having a short interview in office

In addition to initial screenings, interviewers also use personality assessments to gauge the candidate’s interpersonal skills, communication style, and cultural fit. These evaluations can come in the form of behavioral interview questions, situational judgment tests, or standardized personality tests. This information assists the recruiter in making informed hiring decisions and identifying individuals who are likely to thrive in the workplace environment.

In some instances, a short interview may be considered insufficient in evaluating a candidate’s suitability for a more complex role. In such cases, the hiring process may include additional interviews or tests that provide a more in-depth assessment of the candidate’s skills, knowledge, and experience. Again, a brief interview does not automatically imply a negative outcome, but rather, it may be an indication that further evaluation is needed.

The Role Played by Different Interviewers

When evaluating the quality of a short interview, it is essential to consider the role of the various interviewers involved. Different types of interviewers, including HR professionals, hiring managers, and recruiters, play distinct roles in the process, which can impact if a brief interview is considered good or bad.

HR Professionals are responsible for screening candidates, ensuring they have the minimum qualifications, and align with the company’s culture and values. They handle preliminary interviews which are typically shorter. In these cases, a short interview may not necessarily be a bad thing, as HR professionals can determine if a candidate shows potential for the role in a shorter time frame.

Woman surprised over how short her interview was

Hiring Managers, on the other hand, have a deeper understanding of the job requirements and work closely with the candidates if they are successful in securing the role. For them, short interviews might not be as effective since they often have technical and comprehensive questions to thoroughly assess a candidate’s skills, knowledge, and experience. Therefore, a short interview with a hiring manager could be seen as less favorable.

Lastly, Recruiters act as intermediaries, connecting potential candidates with job opportunities. They are tasked with evaluating the overall fit of a candidate for a specific role. Recruiters often have a strong understanding of what the company is looking for, and are skilled at reading between the lines to uncover a candidate’s true potential. In some cases, they may determine a candidate’s suitability in a shorter interview, so it’s possible for brief interactions to be effective.

Impact on the Candidate (Before and After)

For many candidates, a short interview may raise concerns during their job search. They may interpret the brevity of the interview as a lack of interest from the hiring party, causing them internal doubt and anxiety. On the other hand, some candidates may view a short interview as efficient and appreciate the time saved.

Before the interview, it is crucial for candidates to conduct research on company culture, allowing them to gauge whether brief interviews align with the company’s norms. In doing so, they can maintain a confident demeanor throughout the process, interpreting the short interview as a reflection of company values rather than personal performance.

After the interview, candidates should not jump to conclusions based on the duration of the conversation. Instead, they should focus their efforts on post-interview actions such as sending a thank-you note and maintaining open communication with the hiring team. These steps help demonstrate the candidate’s ongoing interest and professionalism designed to aid in their ultimate success.

It is important to remember that an interview’s length does not always correlate with the candidate’s chances of being hired. The interview process is only one aspect of a broader assessment that the hiring team conducts. A short interview may simply indicate a knowledgeable and efficient interviewer or the fulfillment of interview objectives ahead of schedule.

A candidate’s career should not be affected solely by the length of a single interview. Instead, it is essential to continue refining their skills and pursuing other job opportunities that align with their long-term goals. Despite the uncertainty that may arise from short interviews, candidates should remain committed and proactive in their job search, ensuring success in their career development.

Different Types of Interviews

Interviews come in various forms, each serving a specific purpose in the hiring process. This section briefly discusses three common types of interviews: phone interviews, video interviews, and in-person interviews.

Phone interviews are often used as an initial screening tool for hiring managers. They are typically shorter than in-person interviews, and the conversations tend to focus on basic qualifications and experience. Phone interviews allow employers to assess candidates’ communication skills and determine if they are suitable for the next step in the hiring process.

Video interviews have become increasingly popular due to advancements in technology and the need for remote work options. These interviews can be either live or pre-recorded, with candidates answering questions on video. Video interviews are useful for assessing candidates’ body language, presentation skills, and adaptability to new technology. They also help employers and candidates save time and resources by eliminating the need for travel.

In-person interviews are the most traditional form of interviewing and provide an opportunity for both the employer and candidate to get a feel for the company culture, work environment, and overall fit. These interviews range from informal one-on-one discussions to structured panel interviews with multiple interviewers. In-person interviews allow for a deeper and more comprehensive assessment of a candidate, including their interpersonal skills and problem-solving abilities.

Type of InterviewModeTypical Duration
Phone InterviewPhoneShort
Video InterviewVideoMedium
In-Person InterviewIn-PersonMedium/Long
Table 2: Different Types of Interviews

Cautions for Candidates

A short interview doesn’t necessarily indicate a negative outcome. Candidates must remain attentive to certain factors, such as enthusiasm, body language, and post-interview communication.

Enthusiasm plays a crucial role in leaving a lasting impression on the interviewer. Candidates should showcase genuine interest in the position and the organization. This can be achieved through researching the company beforehand and asking relevant questions during the interview.

Body language is another essential aspect to consider. Upholding good posture, eye contact, and maintaining open body language signals confidence and professionalism. Fidgeting, slouching, or a lack of eye contact can be detrimental, even if the interview is brief.

Sending a thank you note following the interview is a wise move, regardless of its length. Express gratitude for the opportunity and reiterate your interest in the role, further solidifying your enthusiasm for the position.

Next Steps Post Short Interview

A short interview can be just as effective as a long one, provided it is well-prepared and informative. Once the interview is over, it’s essential to follow up with the appropriate next steps.

Firstly, make sure to exchange business cards with the interviewer. This simple act shows professionalism and enthusiasm for maintaining contact. If a business card isn’t available, politely ask for their email address or LinkedIn profile to stay in touch.

The next step is sending a thank-you email within 24 hours of the interview. A brief but appreciative note expressing gratitude for the opportunity to interview can make a strong impression on the interviewer. It also serves as a reminder of your candidacy and highlights your interest in the position.

Another important aspect is to reflect on the interview experience. Make a list of points that were discussed during the short interview and analyze any areas that may require improvement. This self-evaluation can help in enhancing one’s interview skills and performance for future opportunities.

Lastly, make sure to follow up with the interviewer or company’s human resources department within a week. Check on the status of the hiring process and express continued interest in the role. Demonstrating persistence and enthusiasm can sometimes make a difference between landing the job or not.


In determining the effectiveness of a short interview, it is essential to focus on the quality of the interaction. A well-structured interview, even if brief, can provide valuable insights into a candidate’s qualifications and fit for a position. Employers should prioritize measuring the quality of the questions asked and the responses received to improve the overall interviewing process.

It is crucial to remember that the interview is just one aspect of a holistic hiring approach. In addition to the interview, organizations should consider other factors, such as resumes, work samples, and references, to obtain a comprehensive understanding of a candidate’s capabilities.

Using a variety of formats, such as tables and bullet points, can help employers better organize their evaluation criteria, leading to a more accurate assessment of a candidate’s suitability. Companies can also use these tools to compare and contrast candidates, making the selection process more efficient and effective.

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