What Are Open Interviews? Steps on How to Prepare and FAQ

Updated 3 April 2023

Open interviews are hiring events which allow job candidates to meet company employees and speak to recruiters. They provide businesses with an efficient way to interview large numbers of prospective employees and give candidates the opportunity to show why they may be a good fit for the role. This can be a very different experience to the typical one-to-one interview format, so it's important you know how it works and what to expect. In this article, we explain what these types of interviews are, describe why they're important and show you seven steps that may help you interview with confidence.

What are open interviews?

Open interviews, or walk-in interviews, are events in which recruiters can interview a large number of candidates. A company may schedule this event on a particular given day, with a specified time period in which candidates can stop by and complete an interview. Unlike traditional one-on-one interviews, interviewers usually see each candidate on a first come, first served basis. A company may hold this style of interview to hire for seasonal employment or to fill many roles. Some businesses may hold daily or weekly walk-in interviews if they have ongoing recruitment needs.

Related: 10 Examples of Unique Interview Questions to Ask an Employer

What happens in an open interview?

Most of these types of interviews follow a similar process, but the details of an open interview may vary between companies. Often, they're individual interviews held in a private meeting room. Sometimes, you may be part of a group interview. In some cases, you may chat informally with recruiters around a table. The interviews are often brief, but if you give a good impression, the recruiting team may ask you to stay and discuss the role further.

Some companies may arrange a second round of interviews or may offer you the job immediately. Employers usually have no prior knowledge about you before you arrive, so preparation is key to having a successful interview.

Related: How Long Are Job Interviews? (Different Types and Tips)

7 steps to prepare for an open interview

These seven steps may help you approach your open interview with confidence:

1. Learn about the position

It's important you extensively research the open position. You can do this by reading through the job description attached to the role. If there's no description available or there's limited information, you may research roles at similar companies. This can help give you an idea of the role's key responsibilities and what you can expect from your daily duties. By gathering this information, you can explain to your interviewer why the position interests you and what makes you a good fit for the role.

2. Read the event description

Posts for an open interview often include detailed information about the event. This can help you understand what to expect before, during and after the interviewing process. For example, it may detail information such as job or physical requirements, necessary certifications to bring with you and the dress code to follow. The description might indicate what happens once the interviewing process is over. For instance, whether the company plans to make an offer directly, or if they aim to contact you about their decision at a later date.

3. Update your resume

It's a good idea to tailor your resume for each new role. Allow plenty of time before your interview to review your resume. It's best to focus on previous experience that relates directly to the role and any qualifications or experience the job advertisement specifies. A clear and well-planned resume can be especially important, as this interview is usually your first encounter with the recruiters. The recruiter is likely to scan your resume immediately for key information, so it's an important aspect for helping to make a good first impression.

4. Practise interview questions

This is especially important for these interviews when you may only have a short amount of time to promote yourself. Recruiters try to interview many people quickly, so it's important to practise your responses.

There are some common questions you can apply to most interviews. These include questions such as 'Why do you want to work here?', 'What are your strengths?' and 'What are your goals for the future?'. You could develop a brief summary of yourself to share with potential employers or interviewers. You can practise these questions and your responses to family and friends.

5. Dress appropriately

At these events, recruiters often interview many people within a short timeframe, so forming a good impression may be a crucial way to show your suitability for the role. It's important you present yourself appropriately. Smart attire shows you've a professional outlook and have researched the culture of the company. You can emulate the dress code of employees working in the industry specific to the role. This may be traditional business clothing for corporate roles or neat, casual attire for less formal roles, such as hospitality.

6. Arrive early

In these situations, recruiters typically interview candidates in the order they arrive. If you arrive at the venue early or on time, this can help ensure you get to interview on that day. This is especially important if there are lots of people waiting to interview for the same role. It may also mean you can experience a shorter waiting time before the recruiter is ready to see you. Being punctual can make a good impression on the recruiters and other employees. It suggests good time-management skills and shows you're genuinely interested in the position.

7. Be prepared to wait

You may experience delays even if you arrive on time because there are no specific times allocated to each candidate. Preparing for a possible wait helps you stay relaxed and positive. You may find it useful to spend the time reading or listening to music, as this can help your mental and physical relaxation.

Some hiring events provide food and drink, but you may prefer to bring your own. Sometimes, the organisers run out of time to interview everyone, so they may ask you to return for an interview at a later date.


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FAQs about an open interview

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about these interviews:

What do I wear to an open interview?

The dress code is likely to depend on the open position. Some event descriptions may specify what they expect you to wear. If they don't, it's helpful to research the company that's holding the interviews. This can give you some idea of what's appropriate for their workplace culture. These interviews are typically for seasonal jobs, retail or hospitality. It may be likely that you can wear smart, casual attire for these informal positions. Whatever role you're interviewing for, it's important to dress neatly and appropriately for the job.

Read more: What to Wear to a Job Interview

Is it a good idea to follow up after an open interview?

As there are often many candidates in an open interview, sending a follow-up email can help your application attract attention. It helps you reconnect with the hiring manager and reminds them of your unique qualities once the interviews have finished. You could thank them for the interview and express your keen interest in the role. It can be a good idea to ask for a business card before you leave the interview. These often include an email address or phone number for the company.

Related: 8 Signs You will Get the Job After an Interview

What do I bring to an open interview?

The hiring manager may specify what to bring in the event description. If this isn't the case, there are a few things which may be helpful for most open interviews. It's typically a good idea to bring multiple copies of your updated resume, tailored to suit the role you're interviewing for. Extra copies can be useful if there are multiple interviewers. You might also bring a pen and notepad to take notes about the position, write questions or complete forms. Depending on the position, you may bring other documents, such as a list of references or relevant certifications.

What are some examples of walk-in interviews?

Most open interviews follow similar procedures regardless of the industry. A store may advertise regular, ongoing interviews in its store windows. For example, they may state a specific day, venue and time when you can bring your application and attend an open interview. A business might post a job advertisement online to detail the date they plan to hold the open interview and the hours the interview runs between. Companies may also interview candidates at career fairs or during scheduled on-site hiring events.

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