Congratulations to you for making it past the phone screen and moving on to the next phase of the process — the face-to-face job interview. Whether you are meeting with Human Resources, the management team, or the hiring manager, I wish you the best of luck.
Although, what you really need is less luck… and more preparation.
Any interviewer will tell you that an interviewee who arrives unprepared, uninspired, and uninformed will rarely move on into the next phase of the hiring process.
Assuming you are the type of individual who really targets the type of company you want to work for, the industry, and the right position that not only challenges you but fits well into your career strategy, knowing what to bring to your next job interview makes a big difference… and well worth the investment.
The following are the “Top 10 Things To Bring To Your Next Job Interview”:
Top 10 Things To Bring To Your Next Job Interview
First off, there are many tangible and intangible things that go into a job interview. Things like proper rest and depending on the time of your interview, either a good breakfast or good lunch is essential. You don’t want to be in the middle of responding to a STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Results) question and suddenly your growling stomach enters the equation. Note: refrain from any bodily functions that impede your interview’s environment, which includes coughing (bring cough drops!), runny nose/eyes/sneezing (bring your allergy medication — watch for excessive drowsiness though), or worst yet, passing gas!
With that being said, let’s go deeper.
1] Pleasant Personality / Smile / Engaging
Some people are not good actors. You may be several months behind on your mortgage, car note, credit cards… all that must be locked away in a compartment in your mind off limits during your interview. I would suggest not calling your “significant other” during your commute to the interview. No one needs that extra financial pressure walking into a meeting. Avoid it. Save it for later.
And maybe you have been getting the “run around” from several potential employers. They’re not returning your calls or have been responding stating “you were not a good fit” for the position, adding to your surly demeanor. You have to assume that this situation, this time, will be different! Don’t allow your frustration or desperation to show through.
A firm handshake, strong eye contact, good posture, and a pleasant delivery of your background and experience is needed here. Finally, leave the nervous anxiety in the car. Relax — (even though 93% of what is not verbal on your part is ringing loud and clear with your interviewer!)
2] Directions, Suite Number, and Name Of Whom You Are Meeting
There’s nothing like getting that call 20 minutes before an interview and the candidate calls you frantically trying to locate our address… Me: “Sir, we are in Chester Springs, not Chester… or Newtown Square, not Newtown!”
Also, nothing starts off a meeting better than incidentally standing by the receptionist and your interviewee walks in and says: “Good day, I have a 10:00am with err, umm, what’s his name?!”
3] You Failed To Research The Company And Read The Job Description (?)
Print out the job description. No job description is written the same, regardless if it is for the same position in the same industry. Read between the lines. Look where the need is. That should tell you volumes… and be a good place to start when thinking about questions to ask.
Even the most private company has online presence. Read everything you can, print out the most essential material, make notes on it and pull it out during the interview as a reference!
4] Breath Mints
Before an interview, brush your teeth, floss, and use mouthwash.
5 minutes from the location, pop a mint in your mouth. It should be dissolved by the time your interview begins. Your interviewer will be pleased and you’ll have the confidence to use long complex terms without the interviewer’s nose curling up.
5] Your Résumé
@modeltrashcom You would be shocked at the number of candidates who will walk in without one. “Oh, I thought when you called me, you had a copy?” or “Oh, didn’t I e-mail that you?”
This may appear unnecessary to you, but printing your résumé on good paper says you value your résumé, what goes into your résumé, and how you present it. This ALWAYS leaves a lasting impression with the interviewer. Trust me. And always bring extra copies. You may be surprised to know you are meeting with many factions of the management team, and having a résumé for each of them will make an impact.
In the hiring process, often it’s not what you said, but what you can prove. There is always a level of suspicion when sizing up a new candidate. Nothing says “I am prepared to overcome that” than having a well-written letter of recommendation / reference that serves to reinforce what is stated in your résumé.
No, not just merely a list of individuals on a contact list, actual correspondence from the same person who you would use as your point of contact when your references are checked. Often, these letters debunk any need to make contact with your previous employers — all the better for you.
To me, a letter of reference / recommendation says I was already to tackle my next challenge.
Invest in an inexpensive two-pocket folder in blue, since this color appeals to both men and women and conveys a business feel. On the left side, place your resume, and on the right, your letters of recommendation and reference list.
7] A Real Note Pad & Pen
No, not a pocket-sized note pad, a regular, legal-sized one. And no, not a cheap plastic pen, but one shiny and nice that maintains your allure as an astute business person.
Overall, being prepared and taking notes elicits an aura of respect, shows you are paying attention (assuming you aren’t constantly staring at what you wrote) and will only help you later when reviewing what to write in your Thank You Letter or other areas to research prior to the second interview.
If you are going for a position that will require to sit regularly on board or production meetings, what type of message are you sending coming in empty-handed?
This may be the company you will be working for for the next decade… and you have nothing to ask?
They’re asking you invasive questions, why not return the favor?
Ask about the challenges aspects faced in the company, the industry (e.g. competition/economics), and the position?
Ask what about the company is attractive to them? Or why one would want a career there?
Ask about professional development? Ask about what adjustment a new employee would need to make?
These are just a few examples. (Recommended Reading: Top 10 Questions To Ask In Your Next Job Interview
To be on the safe side, concentrate on questions about the job’s responsibilities and how you fit the position until you get the actual offer. This is a discussion. Use tact as to not badger your interviewer or hinder your efforts.
a) Background Check —
More than one in four U.S. adults — roughly 65 million people –have an arrest or conviction that shows up in a routine criminal background check, and a new report from the National Employment Law Project finds that these Americans are facing unprecedented barriers to employment. With the rapidly expanding use of background checks, employers are routinely excluding all job applicants who have criminal records.
If you have a criminal record, although uncomfortable, be prepared to discuss this upfront. Clarity and transparency of what occurred is your best friend, not concealment!
b) Salary —
Suprisingly, your salary requirements may be more modest than the industry norm and most candidates will lower their salary expectations to be more competitive.
Don’t fall into this trap. Get your full market value and what you deserve!
10] You Tell Me!
I’d like to tell you that in a fair world, only the best candidates get the job… but, they don’t.
Being thoroughly prepared sends a distinct message to your next potential employee and singles you out from the crowd.
You want that.
I hope you enjoyed this list. Was there anything striking that was omitted? What do you think should be taken to a job interview?