How an Open Interview Works

Learn what an open interview is and how you can prepare for one.

How An Open Interview Works

July 22nd, 2020

An open interview, also known as a walk-in interview, is a scheduled event where all of the job applicants show up at the same time and place and are interviewed on the spot. Companies sometimes advertise open interview opportunities and ask any interested job seekers to attend.

Companies that hire frequently or that need a large influx of seasonal workers may schedule open interviews to make it easier to connect with candidates. After the open interview, successful candidates may be offered a job on the spot, or asked to return for a second, more formal interview.

How to Prepare for an Open Interview:

Research the business.

Before you show up for an open interview, read everything that you can about the company you want to work for. The best way to do this is to visit their website and find out what they do. If you can, learn who their customers are, what they specialize in, and what their mission is.

If you do a Google News search using the company name, you may be able to learn more about what they've been up to recently. You can also visit the company's social media pages (if they have any) to get a glimpse into what their day-to-day operations are like.

Update your resume.

It's always a good idea to brush up your resume before applying for a job, but it is especially important when you are attending an open interview. Along with your physical appearance, your resume is an important part of making a good first impression. When you attend a walk-in-interview, a recruiter will likely begin scanning your resume right away when they sit down with you.

Make sure you include recent work experience and highlight any skills or experience that relate directly to the job you are applying for.

Practice interview questions.

Open interviews typically don't last as long as scheduled interviews simply because recruiters usually have to interview a large number of people within a confined time frame. Since you don't have long to make yourself stand out, you need to have well-thought-out answers to the interviewer's questions.

It's impossible to know exactly what the interviewer will ask you, but you should be able to answer common interview questions, such as:

  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What are your strengths?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What can you offer us that someone else cannot?

If you want, you can even have a friend or family member ask these questions to you and then practice responding to them.

Arrive early.

Open interviews usually work on a first-come-first-serve basis. If you arrive early, you may be one of the first people who is interviewed and you can avoid missing out on the interview opportunity if the event is crowded.

Wear business casual clothes.

First impressions are important. Dressing in business casual attire shows that you are serious about the job opportunity.

Learn about the position you are interviewing for.

Before you show up for an open interview, you should find out more about the position you're interviewing for. The best way to do this is to carefully read the job description that has been posted by the company. If no job description is available before the event, read about jobs at similar companies to get an idea of what the key responsibilities might be. If you have this information, you'll be able to do a better job communicating why you are a good fit for the job.

What to Bring to an Open Interview:

  • Multiple copies of your resume.
  • Pen and notepad for taking notes.
  • Reference letters from previous employers.

After the interview, you may want to consider sending a follow-up email.


Are open interviews worth it?

An open interview can be a quick way to secure a job, so it is worth attending one if you're prepared.

Do open interviews hire on the spot?

Yes, in many cases a job offer is made at the end of an open interview. However, sometimes an employer will request that the candidate return for a second interview or they state that they will inform the candidate of their choice in the near future.

What are open interviews like?

Open interviews are generally shorter and less formal than scheduled interviews. The interview may be conducted one-on-one in a private meeting room, or with a group in a conference room.

How long does an open interview take?

Every situation is different, but reports that open interviews generally last anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour.

What should I bring to an open interview?

  • Multiple copies of your resume.
  • Pen and notepad for taking notes.
  • Reference letters from previous employers.

How do I prepare for a walk-in interview?

You can prepare for a walk-in interview by researching the business, updating your resume, practicing interview questions, wearing business casual clothes, arriving to the hiring event early, and learning everything that you can about the position you are interviewing for.