What exactly does it mean to ask how many interviews for one job?
Are we talking about how many interviews for the same job do you need to go through to secure it? Or maybe how many people will get interviewed for one job, on average?
Unfortunately, if you’re thinking, “How many interviews will I have to run around town doing before I can land any one of those jobs?” I haven’t got the answer for you. That’s a matter of how you perform in the interviews, how qualified you are, how well you’ll fit the organization, and how stiff the competition is.
But for the number of interviews involved in hiring for one position, I can shed some light on things.
- How Many Applicants Are Usually Interviewed for a Job?
- How Many Interview Stages are there for a Typical Job?
- Preparing for Multiple Interviews
- Not Quite Prepared And Ready Yet?
- Final Thoughts
How Many Applicants Are Usually Interviewed for a Job?
Any experienced human resources manager will tell you that the selection process is hard work. To fill a vacant position, you may end up with anywhere from 100 to 300 resumes to sort through. That’s a heck of a lot of reading, even if you are just quickly skimming through them.
So when it comes time to shortlist candidates, do you think a manager wants to spend time interviewing dozens of people? You bet your boots they don’t!
Only a few get interviewed…
On average, only 5-10 people will be called to interview for most positions. Now you can see clearly that this can be only a tiny fraction of the applicants. If the company receives 300 resumes and chooses only five to interview, that’s only 1.7% of the applicants.
This agrees with Forbes magazine’s 2% of candidates, so our numbers are pretty well crunched here. Even if we go with the extremes and they interview 10 out of only 100 resumes, that’s still only 10%.
Bottom line, only 2-10% of applicants are normally interviewed for a job
In other words, it pays to apply for jobs that are a very reasonable fit for your education, skills, and experience. But also to make your resume stand out from the pack.
Ensure that everything in it is up to date and that there are no mistakes. It should be easy to read, and all of the core information, such as your education and work experience, should be quick and easy to skim through.
Even if you know a friend in the company…
Now, it’s important to realize that what I’m talking about here is regular job vacancies that are posted publicly, either on job search websites or in other media. If, however, you’ve heard about the job internally. Through a close personal contact, or have even been invited to apply. Your chances of being awarded an interview will be a lot higher than just 1-10%.
A lot of companies ask their staff to make recommendations to avoid the huge investment in time and paperwork that hiring normally requires. That’s not to say your friends can just get you a job. But if someone can recommend you to a shortlisted group, giving you a leg up, then take it!
How Many Interview Stages are there for a Typical Job?
This is another way to ask the question, “How many interviews for one job?” And the standard answer is going to be between one and three. This really depends on how important it is for the hiring manager to find the perfect fit for the job as well as how tough the competition is between candidates.
Think about a job pumping gas or flipping burgers. All a manager needs to know is if the applicant can be trained and is reliable. Thus, only one interview round will suffice. But if they are looking for the newest account manager for one of their most important clients, believe me, they will take their time and go through a few rounds to find the right person.
What are the interview rounds, and how do they work? Generally, we can categorize interviews into three types:
1 Preliminary interviews
2 Main interviews
3 Follow-up interviews
Stages one and three are the ones that employers will skip out if they are pressed for time or if competition isn’t that close. But the main interview is definitely going to be necessary to find the best applicant. Here’s how they normally work.
Preliminary interviews are most often held by phone. These phone interviews are mostly used for the recruiter to weed out any applicants who aren’t actually all that serious about the job or people who might waste their time.
In a prelim interview, you might be asked questions like, “How did you hear about this opening?”, “Are you applying to other companies?”, “What are your (salary) expectations for this job?” and the good old reliable “Why did you apply for this job?”. You should have short, to-the-point answers for these questions prepared in advance of your scheduled phone interview.
Main interviews are the meat and potatoes of the hiring process. This kind of interview requires a formal sit-down, either in person or, these days, possibly through a video conference. Expect to be asked the same questions as in your preliminary interview, since it may not be the same interviewer this time, and a lot more.
How to perform well in an interview is a whole other article. However, hiring managers want to see someone dressed for the occasion who holds themself confidently and can respond to questions and prompts sensibly. Remember not to be long-winded if you can be brief. Interviews take a long time, especially if you have ten to go through!
In some cases, the field of candidates is too hard to choose from. A manager can be really impressed by two or three of the interviewees, so much so that it’s impossible to choose between them.
Is this good news?
If you’ve been invited to a follow-up interview, it’s, of course, good news because it means you’ve advanced to the next round. But it also means that you didn’t do enough to crush your competition in the previous round of interviews.
Keep that in mind heading into a follow-up interview. Think about the things that might really set you apart from other candidates, especially points you didn’t get to make in the previous interview. This is also a great opportunity for you to do better on the responses you weren’t so happy with yourself for giving last time. Chances are also good that you’ll meet new people in a follow-up interview.
While a recruiter or HR head might be the one shortlisting candidates for a position, they won’t normally work with you. That’s why it’s common for the supervisor or manager who would be overseeing your work to join the final stage of interviews.
And this person’s input is going to be crucial. You’ve already impressed the recruiter by getting this far, so I’d recommend focusing more of your attention toward any new people in the interview. After all, they’re definitely going to be there for a reason.
Preparing for Multiple Interviews
It may seem strange to go through two or three rounds of interviews for the same job. Most often, you get asked the same types of questions in each round, if not the exact same ones. However, each interview will normally be more detailed or more specific than the previous one.
As you work from a phone interview to the main interview and then a follow-up interview, think about adding important details. Answering interview questions is a real skill in and of itself, and so is trying to figure out the best way to present yourself to an interviewer.
But the great thing about doing multiple interviews for a single job is that you get more chances to tailor your answers to what the interviewer is looking for.
Practice makes perfect…
One of the best ways to prepare for a series of interviews is to practice with someone. Ask a friend or your partner to help you, like rehearsing a script. Ask them to ask you the same question a few different ways so that you can try out different ways of answering it. You don’t need to memorize your lines, but this will be a great experience to build your confidence for the real thing.
Not Quite Prepared And Ready Yet?
Not to worry, I’ve put together some great interview guides for you such as Strengths And Weaknesses For Job Interviews, Answering Tell Me About Yourself In Interview, Why Do You Want To Work Here, How Would You Describe Yourself, What Are You Most Proud Of, and my Why We Should Hire You to better prepare.
Secondly, you could check out our online interview advice with the Get That Job!: The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview, Amazing Interview Answers: 44 Tough Job Interview Questions with 88 Winning Answers, How to Answer Interview Questions: 101 Tough Interview Questions, Hiring Squirrels: 12 Essential Interview Questions to Uncover Great Retail Sales Talent, or what about the INTERVIEW with DESIRE and GET HIRED!: How to Ace the Interview, Sell Yourself & Get Your Dream Job books all available in 2023.
You wanted to know how many interviews for one job, and I hope you’ve got a clearer answer now. Generally, only 2% of applicants will be invited to move on to the interview stage of the hiring process.
If one of them is you, you’ve got your foot in the door, and the interviews will help you get all the way through and into that position you want. Many openings start with a preliminary phone interview stage, followed by an in-person or video call interview.
If they can’t decide, you may be invited to a follow-up interview where they dive into greater detail concerning your education, experience, motivation, and more. From there, they’ll have what they need to choose the best person for the job.
All the very best with your Interviews!