How to Succeed at an Open Interview

How to Succeed at an Open Interview

How to Succeed at an Open Interview

What Is an Open Interview?

An open interview is a recruitment technique used by organizations to recruit a large number of people.

It is sometimes referred to as a walk-in job interview.

Anyone interested in a position is welcomed to attend the scheduled event. No prior application is needed as all candidates submit their application and participate in an interview on the day.

The open-interview format is predominately used by organizations that employ seasonal workers . It is also common at job fairs when an organization is only in town for a short time.

Open interviews are the most difficult kind of interview to prepare for as you are with many other candidates, and the interviews are brief.

The interviews themselves take place either in a group or individually. The recruiter may conduct formal interviews or have an informal conversation with you.

Following your interview, you may be offered a job on the spot or a second interview .

As a candidate, open interviews allow you to demonstrate your communication and people skills in a real-life situation. They enable the recruiter to see you before your resume – a luxury that traditional application processes don't have.

The typical features of an open interview are:

  • Presentation about the organization, culture and job role
  • Group interviews to demonstrate how you interact with others and how you respond under pressure
  • A less formal atmosphere as the interview format is similar to an open discussion

How to Succeed in an Open Interview

To succeed in an open interview, you need to prepare beforehand:

Research the Organization

  • Who are their customers?
  • What are their values and mission statement?
  • What do they specialize in?
  • Check Google News to learn about their recent activities

Update Your Resume

  • Ensure your resume contains keywords from the job description as the recruiter will take just six seconds, on average, to scan your resume for those skills

  • Print it in high-quality color ink and on high-quality paper

Prepare Your Answers

Arrive Early

  • Open interviews are often first-come, first-served, and there is generally a large turnout

  • There is a chance you will be interviewed in a calmer, less crowded environment if you arrive early

  • The recruiter will also be less overwhelmed and more focused

Look the Part

  • It may not feel as formal as a traditional interview, but you still need to make a great first impression

  • Business casual attire is appropriate for open interviews

  • Formal attire may be more appropriate at job fairs , depending on the business

Bring Only the Essential Items

  • At least 25 copies of your resume
  • A list of references
  • Pen and paper
  • Your prepared notes
  • A book to pass the time
  • Bottle of water and some snacks – the event might be catered, but bring your own provisions in case it is not
  • A smart, appropriate bag to carry everything
How to Succeed at an Open Interview
How to Succeed at an Open Interview

Tips for Answering Open Interview Questions

Example Question 1: What Interests You About This Job?

Be as specific as you can and include reasons for wanting to work for the organization.

Example answer:

This role interests me because [insert company name] is the best in the industry for customer service, having won four awards last year alone. Having a positive impact on someone's day through outstanding service is something I strive to be a part of.

Example Question 2: How Would You Describe Yourself?

The recruiter wants to know if you suit the company culture .

Don't be afraid to share your qualities.

If you are unsure of how to describe yourself, ask your friends and family how they would describe you.

Example answer:

I would describe myself as dependable and motivated. I'm quite goal-oriented, and once I start a task, I'm pretty focused. I always try to see the positive in everything, and if there is a way I can help someone, I will.

Example Question 3: Tell Me About Something You Have Gotten Away With?

The nature of this interview is casual, so your recruiter may ask some 'ice-breaker ' questions.

This is also a trick question as it can be startling to hear. The recruiter is looking to see how quickly you think.

There are two ways of answering.

The first is to mention something entertaining, like a prank you played on your friends. The second is to turn it from a negative to a positive.

Example answers:

I'm not really a troublemaker, but for high school graduation, I helped rearrange the classroom so all the desks were facing backward. We all walked in after the teacher, pretending to be as confused as she was.

Although my pranking days are over, it's good to have fun and to have a positive relationship with your team.

Or

This one isn't scandalous at all.

A close friend of mine struggled to pay for her school loans, but she refused to ask for help.

I secretly asked around our friends to see how much money we could raise. Between us, we managed two months' payments.

I hand-delivered the money with a bunch of flowers and ran away before she answered the door. Until this day, she still has no idea who it was.

Example Question 4: What Type of Work Environment Do You Prefer?

This is one of the few questions where you can be vague. As you don't currently work for that company, it is impossible to direct your answer accurately.

However, use your prior research to focus your answer on aspects of their business that you know about.

Example answer:

I'm pretty flexible, so I find I can work in many work environments . I would say I prefer an environment where you can ask for help if you need it, you can bounce ideas off each other and there is a sense of unity.

Example Question 5: How Do You Evaluate Success?

This is another one that assesses your compatibility with the company culture. But it also shows your ethics and personality.

Be specific with your answer and relate to past experiences or the organization's values.

You should also mention success outside of work.

Example answer:

At work, success looks like meeting my targets, enjoying the work I do and being able to grow.

As I understand, [insert company] is known for its employee training programs and reward systems – something I'm very excited about.

Outside of work, I'm part of a community football team. Success with them looks like finishing the game with at least one point and no injuries.

How to Follow Up After the Interview

The informal atmosphere of an open interview leaves attendees wondering about the next steps.

In a typical interview situation, you would follow up with an email thanking the recruiter for their time.

In an open interview, where your recruiter has spoken to many people, a follow-up email is even more important.

At the event, ask every person you have spoken to for their business card or a way to contact them. Once you return home, send an email to every person who interviewed you.

The outcome of the open interview will be one of the following:

  1. Job offers were presented at the time and you were successful
  2. Job offers were presented but you were not successful
  3. You were asked to attend a second interview
  4. You were told the recruiters would be in touch

If you were successful, send an email thanking them for their time and the job role. Reiterate your skills and why you will be an asset to their organization.

If you were not successful, simply thank them for taking the time to interview you. Attach your resume and a cover letter specific to the role, with the statement:

I have attached my resume and a cover letter for your reference.

If you were told that they will be in touch, your email should read something like this:

Subject: Thank you – [insert your name and position you applied for]

Dear [insert name of recruiter],

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today regarding the position of [insert position]. I believe this role to be a strong match for my skills, and I think I would be an excellent asset to your organization.

Your customer-led approach is in keeping with the experience I have already gained and the values I hold most highly.

In addition to my passion, I possess [insert most relevant skills ].

If you have any further questions or require any more information, please do not hesitate to reach out.

I am very interested in working with you, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

[Your full name]
[Contact number]
[Email]

If you were asked to attend a second interview, your email should be similar to this:

Subject: Thank you – [insert your name and position you applied for]

Dear [insert name of recruiter],

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today regarding the position of [insert position]. I believe this role to be a strong match for my skills, and I think I would be an excellent asset to your organization.

Your customer-led approach is in keeping with the experience I have already gained and the values I hold most highly.

In addition to my passion, I possess [insert most relevant skills].

I have attached my resume and cover letter for your reference. I look forward to seeing you again on [insert interview date].

If you require any further information from me before then, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Sincerely,

[Full name]
[Contact number]
[Email]

Final Thoughts

Open interviews can be very intimidating, but some preparation beforehand will help you to feel more confident:

  • Take the time to prepare as you would for a formal interview – Research the organization and prepare your answers

  • Remember that first impressions count – Check your grooming and wear appropriate clothing

  • Some open interviews take all day – Come prepared with snacks, water and reading material

  • You never know who's watching – Interact with other candidates and show some of your personality, even when waiting


Read This Next

You might also be interested in these other WikiJob articles:

Or explore the Interview Advice / Interview Types sections.