I recently applied for a support position at an academic institution. The phone interview went well and I was invited to come in for an in-person interview. The interview is scheduled for 2 hours and 15 minutes and consists of two thirty-minute interviews with high level researchers, two thirty- minute interviews with HR staff, and one 15 minute interview with an Executive Assistant.
A succession of five interviews with five different people crammed into two hours and fifteen minutes does not seem like enough time to have a thorough, two-way conversation with each person. In my experience with job interviewing, the interviews have always been for a longer amount of time and with fewer people. Can you please tell me a little bit about what is expected from rapid, thirty-minute interviews and what the goal of these conversations should be?
Yeah, they're not going to be able to do an in-depth assessment. They're just going to be able to have five people get a general sense of what you're like, whether you seem initially crazy or not (which is always more of a concern than you might think), and whether they have a generally positive response to you. They're not going to learn much about your skills or experience that they haven't already learned from your resume.
This isn't that uncommon though. In fact, I'd say that more employers lack rigorous hiring processes than have them -- which is why so many employers end up hiring the wrong people.
Your goal in all this should be to be pleasant, to be prepared to answer basic interview questions multiple times, and to ask your own questions so you can get enough of a sense of the job and the culture that you can determine whether you'd be a good fit -- since they're probably not going to be equipped to do that for you.