My final update:
Interview date & Time: 14th October
2. Case created / Status update: 12th Oct / 14th Oct
3. # of working days so far: 13 days to status change to Issued; 16 days to passport receipt
4. Consulate kept any docs : I-797, Job offer, DS-160
5. Consulate kept Passport : Yes
6. VO comment: Email documents described on 221g yellow slip ASAP (CV, description of grad school research, list of publications)
7. Color of 221g : Yellow
First time H1b Visa Stamping. No issues on previous stampings (all F-1)
Additional details. VO asked about the the previous visa types (F-1 OPT), PhD major (biology), salary at current job, industry segment (biotech), job offer (provided at the interview), current title and responsibilities, job location, and CV/Pubs/description of research (did not have on hand - emailed on the same day to the AP email address and got 2 confirmations of receipt - automatic and man-written). Explained to VO that I am no longer doing research; his response was "OK, describe your PhD research then and produce the list of publications (if any). It is in your best interest to email these docs to us as soon as possible."
Visa was issued for 2 years, with "clearance received" remark. The clearance date on the visa was November 1; Issuance date was November 2.
CPC took over 24 hours to process the passport at the sorting facility (Richmond).