What Is an Open House in a Job Interview?

by Neil Kokemuller ; Updated September 26, 2017
Judging an applicant's personality during application screenings presents a significant challenge for HR professionals.

An open house job interview, or open interview session, is a time set aside by a company during which it meets with a large number of prospective job applicants. Open interviews are a way to get a larger pool of applicants together for an initial job screening.

Open Interview Format

Open interviews have a different format than traditional one-on-one scheduled interviews. Companies typically promote open interviews as a time when any interested party can come and complete an application and initial job screening. Some open interviews are pre-screened online and candidates are invited based on the online screening. Others are simply posted as open to all interested candidates.


Open interviews can function in a couple different ways. Some are open formats where applicants eat, drink and mingle with others, including hiring managers. Others are simply open times where candidates come in and meet with a hiring manager right away. Open house interviews are usually very quick compared to scheduled sit-down interviews. The goal of the interviewer is simply to conduct a basic screening interview to see if candidates are worthy of a more complete interview at a later time.

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The main goal of scheduling open interviews is to draw a large pool of candidates to apply and go through an initial screening. More candidates hopefully means more quality employees for the company to choose from. Many open house interviews are basic screenings, and candidates of interest are scheduled for a more thorough one-on-one interview at a different date and time. In retail and some other environments, open house interviews may lead to on-the-spot hires for certain types of positions. Writer Sophie Bifield explains on the website TalentEgg that an open house offers the employer an opportunity to screen candidates in-person rather than through conventional and less personal methods like a resume and cover letter.

Next Step

Assuming open interviews are not used for immediate hiring, top candidates are usually called back for another step in the hiring process. This may be a one-on-one interview with a manager or could instead consist of some type of testing; sales companies may give sales tests, for instance. General knowledge and personality tests are also common in some industries. Your goal in an open interview is to try to get to the next step in the hiring process by acting in a professional manner and communicating your basic skills and interest in the company and position.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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