Tips for Attending Open Interviews With Confidence Every Time

Published October 28, 2021
Group of candidate waiting for a job interview in the office

If you're looking for a new job, you may come across a few companies that offer open interviews. Employers sometimes hold open interviews during specific time frames, while others conduct walk-in interviews any time the location or HR office is open. Businesses that need to fill numerous open positions often find this approach to hiring more convenient than screening applications and scheduling interviews. Find out what you need to know to navigate this increasingly popular approach to hiring.

Trust the Process

While it may seem a bit unusual to just drop by a company and immediately get interviewed, that's exactly what happens during open interviews. So, don't walk in and ask if the company is hiring. They wouldn't be advertising open interviews if they were not hiring. So, instead, confidently walk in and say, "I'm here to apply for a position with [insert company name]. What's the first step?"

Group of women attending a job fair

Practice Interviewing Ahead of Time

Before going to an open interview, prepare to answer a variety of typical interview questions. For the ultimate pre-interview preparation, include some difficult interview questions as well. Ask a trusted friend or family member to put you through the paces of a mock interview and provide you with feedback, so you'll be ready to wow any interviewer with whom you have an opportunity to speak.

Research the Company in Advance

Before you head to a place of business in response to a call for open interviews, spend a bit of time researching the organization. This will help you get a sense of the organization's mission and culture, which is information that can help you figure out how to clearly state why the hiring decision-maker should consider offering you a job.

Dress Appropriately

The way you dress for an interview is a function of the type of job you're applying for. Call centers, stores, warehouses, and restaurants often hold walk-in interviews. For these types of jobs, it's generally best to wear conservative, business casual apparel. Nice slacks and a collared shirt can be a good option. Avoid jeans, shorts, or party apparel. If you're hoping for a job at the assistant manager (or higher) level, it's probably best to wear business attire. If you're applying to work in a healthcare setting, scrubs may be appropriate. If you're not sure, call ahead and ask. Whatever you wear, it should be clean and pressed.

Be Interview-Ready Upon Arrival

When you arrive at a location that's holding open interviews, take the time to get yourself ready to interview before you walk in the door. This involves making sure your appearance is as it should be, and that you're ready to stride in confidently and professionally with a smile on your face. You should also get in the right mindset to pitch yourself to an interviewer. If you need a restroom break, stop at another location before you get to the interview site, rather than walking in and immediately asking for directions to the facilities.

Hand giving the resume to the recruiter to review the profile of the applicant

Go Solo

When you go to an open interview, you should treat it with the same level of focus and professionalism you would exhibit at work. This means you should arrive on your own. Do not take children, parents, a spouse, friends, or anyone else into the interview facility with you. If someone else drives you to the interview location, have them go elsewhere while you are inside. You should walk up to the door and enter on your own. This is very important, as you don't want the decision-makers to perceive you as someone whose personal relationships might prevent you from focusing on work.

Take Job Related Information

Take all the information you might need to apply for a job with you. Bring copies of your resume and reference list. Bring any information you might be asked to put on a job application form, in case you need to fill out a formal application while you're there. For example, you may need recent employers' addresses and phone numbers, and the names of former supervisors. Depending on the job, you may also need a copy of your high school diploma, college transcripts, or verification of a license or certification. It's a good idea to fill out a blank application form to take with you when you go on interviews, so you have easy access to key information.

Be Prepared to Write

Take a pen and paper with you, in case you need to complete paperwork or take notes. Chances are, the company will have these items on hand, but you'll make a better impression if you come prepared with the resources you need to apply for a position. For the most professional impression, carry a nice padfolio or folder that holds a legal pad and pen. You can also store your resume and other documentation in this item.

Turn Off Your Phone

Before walking into the interview site, turn your phone off or set it to silent. If it rings or makes a vibrating noise while you are in the interview, that will send a message to those who are screening applicants that you are not fully engaged in the process. From their perspective, someone who can't turn off their phone long enough to go to an interview opportunity is someone who won't be able to keep outside interruptions from creeping into the work day.

Make a Positive Impression

Assume that everyone you encounter at the location will play a role in the hiring decision, and conduct yourself accordingly. Be polite and respectful to everyone, keeping in mind that everything you do or say can determine whether you are offered a job. Maintain a professional demeanor throughout the entire time you are there. You might find that your efforts pay off. After all, you could actually have a new job by the time you leave! That's the beauty of open interviews.

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Tips for Attending Open Interviews With Confidence Every Time