Guide: How to Succeed at a Hiring Event or Open Interview

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 24 February 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

What Is An Open Interview?

An open interview is a group hiring event where employers accept job applications and conduct on-site interviews in group and individual formats. These events are a unique opportunity to meet employers face to face. They may also lead to job offers on the spot, significantly cutting down the waiting time in your job search.

Success at a hiring event or open interview is about preparing beforehand, arriving on time, looking your best and leaving the hiring staff with a great impression. This 10-step guide will help you prepare for success at your next hiring event.

Related: How to Succeed in a Group Discussion

Hiring Events And Open Interview Tips

Read the event description

Within the description of a hiring event, employers will leave important clues about what to expect. For example, employers may indicate if they plan to make offers on the spot or if they will interview candidates and contact you about a hiring decision later.

They may also include job requirements such as necessary certifications, physical requirements of the job or other details that will help you determine if it is the right fit for you. They may also let you know what you may bring and wear to the interview.

Research the company

Hiring events and open interviews are designed for employers to meet many candidates at once. Researching the company before the interview will help you stand out from the crowd.

Find the employer’s company page and read about what it is like to work there from current and former employees. If the company has a retail or dining location, you may want to visit before the event to get an understanding of the day-to-day operations. Check out their social media profiles and visit the company website.

Update your resume

Review your resume to make sure it is relevant to the jobs being offered at the hiring event. One way to do this is to reflect on your past work experience while you read the event description. Consider how the job requirements match with your qualifications. Make changes to your resume that will make it easy for this specific employer to see you have the required skill set.

Dress appropriately

In the event description, the employer may indicate if there is a dress code. If there is not any instruction on what to wear, your research of the company may help you understand what is appropriate to the culture.

For any situation, dress in a neat and tidy manner. In many cases, opting for dark jeans, slacks or a skirt paired with a button down shirt, salwar kameez or kurta, simple t-shirt or blouse may be a good combination.

Interviews at a hiring event may be shorter than traditional interviews. Practice a short summary of yourself (one minute or less) to share with potential employers so that you can quickly give them an idea of what you may offer.

Review interview etiquette

You want to present the best version of yourself to any potential employer. As soon as you step out of your home on the morning of the hiring event, take care to be polite to everyone you encounter. Be kind to those you meet on public transportation, in the parking lot or in an elevator. These people may well be your potential interviewers or future colleagues.

At the event venue, treat everyone with respect including anyone who appears to be facilitating the event and assisting with sign in. These people may be asked for feedback on your behaviour before a hiring decision is made.

Be prepared to wait

One common piece of feedback about hiring events and open interviews is that there can be some waiting. As the name indicates, these events are open to many people at once and this means you may wait for your turn to be interviewed. Typically, candidates are interviewed on a first come, first serve basis.

To help employers get an accurate count of attendees, you may RSVP ahead of time if you can. Try to arrive a little early or as close to the event start time as possible. Note that employers may not be able to meet with everyone in the available timeframe. In this case, they may ask you to return on another day.

Knowing that there may be a wait, come prepared with something to do in that time such as a book or magazine. Some hiring events may offer food and drink but you may want to bring your own just in case. Remember, you want to be in a good mood when you do meet with a potential employer. Bring the things that will help you stay calm, comfortable and energised in the run-up to that meeting.

Related: How To Introduce Yourself In A Meeting With Examples

Do not expect much privacy

Another aspect of an open interview is that you may not be interviewed in a private room or cubicle. Sometimes interviews are conducted in a group setting with several job candidates being asked and answering questions together. Other times, you might meet with a recruiter one on one but in an open room with other activities taking place.

Some attendees of hiring events see this as a positive. It may allow for a more laid back and engaging conversation than a traditional interview. If you are interviewing for a job that takes place in a fast-paced environment, this interview setting can demonstrate your ability to focus and connect with others in a bustling workplace.

Bring your resume

Bring at least five printed copies of your resume and a list of references. In some cases, employers may ask you to bring specific certifications to the hiring event. They may also want to see a form of state or federal identification.

Double check the event description for these details. Pro-tip: Carry all your things in a folder or a professional portfolio so you can stay neat and organised throughout the event.

Follow up after the event

As you are finishing up your conversations, ask recruiters at the hiring event for their business cards. After the event, send them a follow-up email. It is a simple, polite way to thank them for their time and it may help you stand out in their memory from the many candidates they have met.


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