While most of us are acquainted with formal interviews and how to prepare for them, not many are aware of the concept of open interviews. Even if they are, most people are apprehensive about attending them because of the slightly informal nature of the interview and the fact that there is too much competition to face. Many also wrongly assume that these interviews lack substance and are not meant for seeking high-profile jobs.
However, employers are now turning to open interviews to quickly screen through applicants and hire potential candidates in a brief period. This is particularly handy when they need to fill in a position urgently or do not have the time or resources to hold lengthy formal interviews.
From the candidate’s perspective, open interviews can prove to be a great learning platform. They can be used to know what prospective employers are looking for, what the job market looks like, and how they can prepare themselves when appearing for interviews.
Open interviews provide many opportunities as employers often look forward to filling multiple positions from the same set of interviews. Hence, if you ever face the prospect of attending an open interview, here is how you should approach it.
What is an Open Interview?
It is first important to understand what an open interview is. Often termed as walk-in interviews, they are mostly held at events like business seminars or job fairs. Some companies might also hold open interviews in community spaces or conference halls after sending out the word that they are conducting walk-in interviews.
They might specify what kind of positions they are looking forward to filling, so candidates who feel they have the required qualifications and experience can turn up for the interview.
In most cases, employers use open interviews to screen promising candidates. So if a hundred applicants turn up for the interview, the recruiters will select about thirty or forty of the most impressive ones and ask them to come for the second round of interviews, which will be more formal in nature.
Sometimes, candidates send in very impressive resumes. Still, they do not come across as the right fit when they appear for the interview.
An open interview bridges this gap by allowing recruiters to meet the candidates in person before moving on to the more formal and rigorous stages of the hiring process. It helps them look through a large number of profiles, and yet it takes comparatively less time to conduct the interviews.
How to Approach an Open Interview?
Approaching an open interview is slightly different from approaching a regular interview. While the atmosphere is less formal, you also have to make extra effort to stand out in the sea of candidates. Here is how you should prepare for them.
1. Knowing All You Can About the Company
One of the things about appearing in open interviews is that you might or might not come to know about them well in advance. Now, since anyone can turn up for these interviews, candidates often simply attend the interviews without doing adequate research. They have no idea about who they are going to work for and what it is the company is looking for.
Researching the company and showing the employers that you understand what they are offering and relating your answers to suit the job profile will exponentially increase your chances of being shortlisted.
2. Time Factor
As mentioned earlier, open interviews are held for brief periods, meaning the interview does not generally last over ten minutes per candidate at the most. Hence, prepare yourself to make an impression in that brief period.
You would not have time to answer lengthy questions or analyze given situations in-depth. Brevity is key, so you should prepare for the more important questions. Carry a notepad and pen in case you have to make notes on the spot.
3. Carry Your Credentials
For a regular interview, you often have the advantage of sending in your resume in advance and offering your recruiters an insight into your abilities. However, that may or may not be the case in open interviews, and it is quite possible that the recruiters will hear from you for the very first time.
Hence, make sure you carry copies of your resume, certificates, and degrees from your school, recommendations, identification, and other relevant documents to ensure your candidacy. Most importantly, provide your contact information in the resume and ensure your recruiters know how to reach you.
4. Dress Formally
Although you do not have to suit up for an open interview, it is still advisable that you dress formally. Business casuals are also fine. Button-down shirts, polo shirts, knit shirts and sweaters, slacks, trousers, formal skirts, and close-toed shoes are apt.
You may also add a tie or a scarf, and you are ready to attend. You must also make sure to dress comfortably because you might have to wait for some time before your turn comes.
5. Think About Questions to Ask
While researching the companies, you might have certain queries you must clear while attending the open interview. Unlike other interviews, you might not have time to think of them during the interview, based on your interaction with the recruiters.
Hence, if you have certain standard questions regarding work hours, compensation packages, perks and benefits the company offers, or other relevant queries, make sure you prepare a list in advance to make the most of your time.
Tips to Stand Out and Succeed in Open Interviews
Several things can help you succeed in open interviews if you look into some details. Here are some tips to help you stand out.
1. Arriving Early
While arriving early for an interview is always important, doing so for open interviews is crucial for different reasons. Since there are often too many candidates vying for a few positions in such interviews, at times, the situation is just about an early bird catching the worm.
These interviews are often conducted on a first-come, first-call basis. The later you arrive, the later your registration. By the time you get your call, recruiters might have already shortlisted enough candidates.
You might be called in as a formality, or the interview process might be dissolved altogether. Hence, it would be best if you always arrived as early as possible.
2. Keep Your Patience
It would be best if you kept an open mind while appearing for walk-in interviews. With so many candidates in the same venue and multiple positions to fill, things there can get a bit chaotic. Please expect that the process might not be as smooth sailing as when you appear for formal interviews where you are comfortably seated in the lounge and will be chronologically called in.
Be prepared to wait and not show your impatience to any company staff overlooking the process. Please remember they are there to help you. Getting agitated will only ruin your mood, and you will not be able to give your best while appearing for the interview.
Bonus Read: How to Stay Calm During an Interview?
3. Thoroughly Prepare
Walk-in interviews are often conducted in limited time frames. Hence, it would be best if you made an impression in the brief slot allotted. Hence, you simply cannot afford to fumble and think around a question, especially if it is one of the frequent questions that come up during interviews.
It would be best if you did not have to think twice while introducing yourself or while speaking about how your job experience and educational background makes you a perfect candidate. Prepare your answers thoroughly so that you can answer with confidence.
4. Work on Your Body Language
You cannot often control the surroundings in an open interview, but you can do a few things, and one of them is your body language. In a sea of candidates, having a good personality and a pleasant yet professional body language can be an added bonus.
If you can make your recruiters sit up and notice you, even after they have already screened and interviewed twenty candidates. Much of the novelty of the day has worn off, that is saying something.
It would be best if you prepared yourself to be able to practice your communication skills, make eye contact and work on your body language to get maximum results.
5. Follow Up
You must always follow up after an open interview to ensure that your hiring managers know you are interested in the position and were not just another candidate who had walked into the interview to try your luck.
Although they might have told you that they will get back to you, calling them or sending an email always helps. You will be foremost in their minds, and it is also an excellent way to maintain a thread of communication.
Open interviews give you a splendid opportunity to look for jobs and help you understand the demands of the current job market. You should regularly attend business seminars and job fairs to be able to tap into these opportunities. Open interviews are a stepping stone to success.
If you take them seriously and prepare well for them, a world of opportunity is waiting for you. Make sure you attend the right ones, research the companies and put your best foot forward, and all will be well.