What Is a Walk-In Interview? (And How to Prepare for One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 August 2022

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.

Companies sometimes offer open interviews for candidates when they want to fill a role quickly or hire multiple candidates at once. An open interview allows professionals to walk in for a meeting with the hiring manager without an appointment. If you're currently searching for a job, it's helpful to learn about the different types of interviews you may encounter. In this article, we describe a walk-in interview, share the benefits of participating in this type of interview and provide you with some steps and tips to prepare for the process.

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What is a walk-in interview?

A walk-in interview is a hiring process in which a company schedules a period of time for job interviews and invites members of the public to visit during these hours. Some professionals call this type of open interview a hiring event because the hiring manager may interview multiple candidates within the period. These hiring events are particularly common within the service industry and smaller companies.

The professionals who attend these interviews typically bring a copy of their resume or submit it beforehand for the hiring manager to review. They may visit the company's headquarters and complete a check-in process to reserve a time for an interview. If the hiring manager is available, they may interview the candidate soon after arrival. These types of interviews don't involve a lengthy application process.

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Benefits of walk-in interviews

If you're looking for a new job, you may consider attending this type of interview. Here are some of the common reasons for participating in these hiring events:

Guarantees an interview

When applying for jobs using traditional methods, an employer may or may not contact you for an interview. Your ability to attract the attention of the employer depends on the quality of your resume and your experience and educational background. Going to a walk-in interview guarantees you a time slot during the hiring event, and employers rarely review your resume beforehand. Instead of editing a resume to effectively present their skills and experience, those who have good interpersonal communication skills can rely on how well they communicate their qualifications verbally.

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Helps you find a job quickly

Companies that host this type of interview often want to hire candidates quickly. They may also want to fill more than one position. By inviting a large number of candidates to attend the event, these interviews can help employers save time and money. If you're looking to start a job quickly, you may consider completing interviews with companies that accept walk-in meetings. This can be particularly useful if you're unemployed or want to leave your job and start a new one quickly.

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Allows for more flexibility

Attending this type of interview allows for more flexibility than scheduling an interview. You can attend walk-in meetings at any time within the specific time frame that the company sets. You can arrive when you're available, which is ideal if you have an unpredictable schedule or you're not sure that it's the right job for you.

Companies often host a number of walk-in meetings within a period of a few weeks. For example, a restaurant may hold open interviews every Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. This means that you can decide whether you want to attend an interview on the same day.

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Provides interview experience

Attending open interviews is usually a low-commitment activity that you can do to practise your interview skills. You can complete a walk-in interview to help you gain interview experience even if the specific job doesn't particularly interest you. You can also increase the contacts within your professional network in this way.

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Offers a casual setting

Unlike other types of interviews, open interviews often take place in a relaxed setting and are more casual in nature. This can reduce your anxiety about doing them and make you feel more comfortable during the interview. While it's still sensible to remain professional when you speak with the hiring manager, the language that you use when responding to questions may also be less formal.

Related: What Are Informal Interviews? (With Tips to Prepare for One)

Requires a small time commitment

When companies conduct these interviews, they typically want to meet with many candidates within a specific time frame. This means that they usually allot a small amount of time, typically around 15 minutes, for each interview. This can help you because the interviewer may ask fewer questions, allowing you to focus on the qualifications that directly relate to the job.

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How to prepare for an interview

Before attending an open interview, it's important to understand how they work and how you can prepare for one. The following steps may help you:

1. Search for open interview opportunities

You can search for open interview opportunities both online and in person. Companies often advertise these opportunities in advance. Some allocate a period of time each week for open interviews. You may find some in your area by visiting local establishments.

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2. Create a resume

There isn't usually a registration process associated with this type of interview, so it's helpful to bring a copy of your resume. Printing out multiple copies to offer to hiring managers may help them remember you after the interview. Consider tailoring your resume to the specific job or type of job to create a more relevant application.

While some employers prefer it, having a resume isn't always a requirement for these interviews. If you don't want to print your resume, you might consider bringing something else to help the hiring manager remember you and your contact details. For example, you might share a business card with your name, job title and professional website on it.

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3. Choose an interview outfit

Once you have your application materials ready, consider what you might wear to the interview. Since the hiring manager is likely to meet several other candidates on the same day, it's helpful to make a good first impression by dressing appropriately. The environment for open interviews is typically more casual, so you might plan to wear business casual attire. You may consider investing in an interview outfit to wear to multiple meetings, so you're ready for each hiring event.

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4. Practise with a mock interview

You can practise meeting with a hiring manager by doing a mock interview, either by yourself or by enlisting a family member or a friend to act as an interviewer and ask questions that you might have during an interview. Practising your interview skills can help you feel more confident during the actual interview and improve the quality of your performance. It also provides you with the opportunity to formulate better responses to the questions hiring managers frequently ask.

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5. Arrive on time

Companies typically designate a specific period of time for open interviews. Make sure that you know when the interview period starts and ends. It may be helpful to arrive early so you can be among the first candidates to have an interview. Participating early in the event may prompt the interviewer to compare others to you. If you decide to attend later, make sure you have at least 15 minutes before the end of the event so that the hiring manager doesn't rush your interview.

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Tips for open interviews

Here are some tips to help you navigate the open interview process:

  • Make a good impression. Hiring managers meet a large number of professionals during open interviews, so it's helpful to make a lasting impression. You can do this by acting professionally and using your interpersonal skills to make a connection with the interviewer.

  • Perform a follow-up. After the interview, consider calling the hiring manager or sending an email to thank them for their time. You can also ask them for an update on your application status.

  • Learn about the company. Before you go to the interview, conduct some research to learn about the company culture and other important aspects of the job, such as the starting pay or job duties.

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