Open interviews are techniques companies might use when they're looking to quickly fill several positions. This technique may be used when a fast food chain or retail store is opening a new outlet. Often, these positions are for entry-level positions which the company might reasonably expect to fill with high school or associate-degree graduates looking for their first job.
The first thing to know about an open interview is that there is no pre-selection process and no appointment is required. You don't need to submit a resume ahead of time and wait for a call. Just turn up at the site on the day the open interview is being held, and you are almost guaranteed to be seen, providing you are on time and there are not too many applicants. These events are usually held on a first-come, first-served basis.
Expect several rounds of interviews during an open interview, providing you are a successful candidate. At first you may be seen as part of a small group of applicants, interviewed by one manager. If you make it through this round, you may be asked to fill out a survey or meet individually by a slightly more senior executive. Some open interviews may have a third round process where you're interviewed by a panel. Some companies conduct second and later rounds on the same day; others may ask you to attend a different site on a different day if you move forward.
The questions you're asked will get tougher, the higher up the rounds you go. In your first round, you will likely be asked to describe yourself and your career so far, and talk a little bit about what interests you. This round is about weeding out applicants who have poor social skills or who are obviously a bad fit for the job. As many of the types of jobs selected by open interview are for customer service, a pleasant manner is key. Subsequent rounds of the open interview mean more probing questions where you're asked to talk about specific professional experiences, or you're given hypothetical situations.
Because there's no pre-screening, and the company has no reason to be more interested in you than any other candidate who turns up, the first impression you give at an open interview is crucial. Arrive slightly early and dress immaculately and be well groomed. Bring several copies of your resume on heavy-weight paper and separate sheets with your professional references. Greet everyone with a warm and professional manner, make lots of eye contact and transmit enthusiasm about the opportunity.
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