Drive through job interviews: Streamlining the hiring process

Cheerful successful black businessman looking through car window for a drive thru job interview



Drive-Thru Job Intereviews: Streamlining The Hiring Process

COVID-19 has thrown a curveball at the workforce. From a large-scale workplace exodus to major layoffs and job losses – nothing looks quite the same. As the country essentially reopens, business owners are now scrambling to cover pandemic-time losses, including that of their rosters. However, this task is proving harder than initially believed. Many job seekers are reluctant to attend in-person interviews due to well-founded safety concerns as the COVID-19 crisis threatens to resurge.

Unemployment is Widespread 

Understandably, unemployment is up and down. At the start of the pandemic, the unemployment rate could be found resting around a steady 3.4-3.6% before skyrocketing to 14.8% and gradually decreasing to the current 5.2%. While it may not seem like much, 2% unemployment rate growth can be the difference between a thriving, adequately staffed business and a failing, “spread-thin” staffed business. 

If you fear your business may be leaning into the second mentioned category, there’s little need to panic. Just as most other institutions and norms have adapted during these uncertain times, so has the hiring process. Rather than alienating potential candidates from face-to-face meetings, you can now draw them in with an opportunity to secure a job without leaving the safety of their car. 

Introducing Drive Through Job Interviews 

Drive through job interviews, while stimulated by the pandemic, were always in the pipeline. They can be considered the newest addition in a long legacy of activities and services possible from the confines of a vehicle. Here’s an insight into what a typical drive-thru job fair looks like.

How Drive-Thru Job Fairs Work 

As you can imagine, when drive-thru job interviews rose to the forefront, it was only a matter of time before drive-thru job fairs followed in their wake. Otherwise known as drive-thru hiring events, these gatherings offer hiring managers, companies, and business owners the chance to meet with job seekers while maintaining social distancing standards.

They can either be held by a single business or by a third-party organization for multiple companies to attend. While the specifics of each job fair will vary, they typically work when an area of an organization/business’s parking lot is cordoned off, allowing job seekers to drive through

Usually, a recruiter will be given a place to stand with allocated driving lanes adjacent. It’s in these bound lanes that potential employees will pull up next to “hiring booths.” Then, the standard on-site hiring process can occur with exchanging information, inquiries, interviewing, and possibly even hiring on the spot. It is not uncommon for a job seeker to leave a drive-thru job fair to secure a position. Candidates can complete necessary paperwork from their vehicles without entering an office or coming into contact with anyone. Furthermore, applicants can expect companies and business owners of drive-thru job fairs to follow health and safety guidelines stringently with hand sanitizer, masks, and gloves readily available

Drawn scales with empty cups on chalkboard

Pros of Drive-thru Job Fairs


On-the-spot offers

Drive-thru job interviews allow employers to seek qualified applicants and streamline their hiring process. A resume can be offered, read, analyzed, and questioned before interviewing commences in one meeting. In return, the resumé holder can inquire about positions and company details. Then, if everything is deemed satisfactory, both parties may choose to seal the deal on the spot.

Cost & Time Effective

Classic onboarding processes are notoriously demanding. They plunder valuable time that could be better spent on business growth. On the flip side, attending several interviews at different locations can be disheartening as a job seeker. Drive-thru job interviews are thus a win-win situation, allowing potential staff members to interact safely with multiple applicants for several hours rather than arranging staggered on-site meetings.

Access to a Larger Talent Pool

While you can cast a suitably large net by advertising job offers, it’s not enough in the red hot competitive landscape of the post-COVID-19 employment market. The fact of the matter is your competitors are drawing from the same in-high-demand employee well. So if you want to secure the best employees for your company, you’ll have to go to them.

Safety-First Approach

Since drive-thru interviews are conducted with one person in a car, a distance of 6 feet apart is much easier to maintain. On top of that, many candidates and employers will add an extra layer of safety by wearing a facemask, using hand sanitizer, and wearing gloves. The outdoor venues provide plenty of air ventilation to reduce the potential spread of the virus.


Cons of Drive-thru Job Fairs:


Not Everyone Owns a Car

According to a survey by Bloomberg, Americans are second only to Italy when it comes to car ownership. While 88% of Americans claim to have a car, ownership is often skewed between rural and urban areas. If you’re hiring in a city or your target employee profile favors young candidates, you could be cutting off a large chunk of potential candidates by only hosting drive-thru interviews.

Communication barriers

Body language makes up 55% of communication. Unfortunately, while sitting in a car, a large part of the applier’s movement is restricted. Consequently, employers may not be able to obtain a fully comprehensive impression of the potential employees.


Types of Drive-thru Hiring Events



As the name would suggest, this drive-thru hiring event allows employers to cover the initial hiring steps in one day. From introductions to making a hire – it’s all done in a single meeting. This format is designed to significantly reduce the time spent searching for employees without compromising on quality checks.

“Grab & Go”

Also true to its name, a “grab and go” hiring event is more reminiscent of the fast-food drive-thru experience. Standard procedure would have job-seeking hopefuls roll down their car window and be handed a packet, brochure, or leaflet containing company information, job details, and application instructions for review at home. You can expect little to no face-to-face meetings or hand-shaking at these events.  


How to Prepare For a Drive-thru Hiring Event



If people don’t know you’re joining or hosting a drive-thru hiring event, they can’t show up. So be sure to spread the word on online job hunting sites, social media, your business website, and perhaps even public notice boards.

Inform candidates of what they’ll need to bring along 

A list of recommendations could be:

  • A resume with a cover letter 
  • Two forms of valid state or government identification such as a driver’s license or passport.
  • Pen 

Bring Necessary Documentation 

To shorten your time-to-hire, have a concise, easy-to-read summary of all business and employment information for candidates to scan rather than probe in-depth. Alongside that, it’s best to keep any paperwork an employee will need to fill in on hand, should you wish to hire them immediately.

Prepare For Interviews 

The relatively informal atmosphere of drive-thru job fairs extends to drive-thru interviews. Often, interviewees may not immediately gauge the intention behind your questions, so be sure to inform them in advance. In addition, of course, it’s best to ask common interview questions and be prepared for questions in return.

Key Takeaways 

There’s no circumventing the post-COVID hiring scene if you want to secure quality employees and reduce your turnover rate. Figures show that competition is further stiffening as employee expectations are rising. Applying old hiring strategies to this changing safety-conscious workforce won’t cut it. Instead, by engaging in new hiring processes such as drive-thru interviewing, you show job seekers that you value their safety, time and are willing to adapt. In return, a workforce of varied skill sets, expertise, and experience opens up to you so that you can amass a dedicated, expert employee base that’s the foundation of any successful business.

If you need any assistance organizing a drive-thru hiring event or are interested in employment services through indeed, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us or Schedule a call to see how we can assist you with an event.