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How to make the most of a recruitment open day

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 2 Sep 2019

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Many companies hold recruitment open days as a way to connect with potential candidates. Opening their doors allows them and the candidates some time to get to know the company in a bit more depth and the people they may be working with. You may be invited to an open day after you have applied for a job position, you may be scouted through social media or recruitment consultant companies or see an advertisement. Sometimes open days are scenarios where a recruiter just opens either one of their locations or an external location to the public for an open day. People interested can come and go when they want and there may be no need for an invite. So, it may be worth keeping an eye out for these events.

Unless otherwise stated on the invitation, a recruitment open day is not an interview. You don’t have to prepare yourself in the same way you would for an interview and the whole process is often a lot more laid back.

What should you expect from a recruitment open day?

The whole point in attending an open day is to be able to get a feel for the company. You want to get a feel for both the place and the people that they employ. Afterall, you might have to spend most of your day in the place, so take it seriously and try and soak in as much information as you can. However, sometimes the open day is not based where you would be working. In some cases, the office or workspace can either be a dangerous work environment or there can be sensitive projects happening. You can still find out a huge amount of information and ask about what the workspace may be like so you can still get a good idea.

If the event is for a full day, it’s likely that the beginning of you day will consist of introductions and presentations, likely from the HR team. You may learn about projects and recent work that the company is currently working on and any interesting plans they have for the future. You can decide if the work they are doing is going to be of interest to you. Sometimes you may like the sound of a job, but once you learn what they are doing internally, it can sway your opinion, maybe in a good or bad way.

You will be able to learn more about the role you applied for and the other job roles they have on offer. This can give you a greater insight into what you may want to do for the company. You may learn about a new role that may suit you better. You can also learn about what current employees do with their day-to-day.

Interacting with current staff is a huge opportunity. You can see what they are doing, the environment they work in and how you may see yourself working there one day. It can also be a good idea to have some questions planned, in case you do have the opportunity to ask staff. You will be working with these people, so getting to know them a little bit can not only allow you to see how your day will look, but it will allow you to see who you will be spending your days with. Ask yourself if they are the kind of people you would be able to get along with and work well with.

You may also have group activities planned for the day. This is something that doesn’t always happen, and the employer may state it in the invitation, so you have a little time to prepare. They will often be group-based activities or conversations. It’s always best not to hog the limelight and let other people share their thoughts. But it is also important to make sure you are noticed. Where they shouldn’t be criticising you on these activities (because it’s not an interview) they may see if you would be a good fit for the team or not. So be honest with yourself and the people around you.

How to make the most out of these events

  • Research the company beforehand. Make sure you won’t be wasting your time and you will also have something to talk about. Even though it’s not an interview, having company knowledge will still impress the employer.
  • Boost your LinkedIn profile. Be prepared to give out your details and make new connections via LinkedIn. Your page is likely to hold professional information, so will be of interest to employers. It may also be important to add other candidates. You can never have too many industry contacts.
  • Questions! Make sure you have some questions prepared or spend the journey thinking of some potentials. Whether they be about the company, the job or for the employees.
  • If in doubt, always ask. Don’t spend your day wondering about something. If you don’t understand something, clear it up straight away. They have invited you so you can learn, so take full advantage of that.
  • Enjoy it. This isn’t a test or an interview, so don’t stress about it.

After the day or session has finished, the employer should explain what happens next. Whether they want to know if you are still interested or if they will invite you to interviews. You now have time to think about what you have learnt and ask yourself if you could see yourself working there. You have no obligations to the employer, so take some time to think. Recruitment open days should be enjoyable and a time to learn more about a business, so try not to take it too seriously. It’s all a learning process.