Don’t forget your job interview toolkit
Monday, April 17, 2017
Congratulations on your interview! You tirelessly applied to positions of interest that matched your skills, knowledge and talents; you customized your résumé and application; and you just got off the phone after agreeing to meet with HR and the hiring manager next Tuesday.
Now the real work begins. You've got to assemble two different toolkits designed to help you move to the head of the pack. Consider placing your toolkits into a professional carry bag (leather or cloth, sans advertising or promotional logo). Place the bag on the floor next to your chair where you can have easy access to it, but not in the line of sight for the interviewers.
Toolkit 1: What to bring for yourself
1. A winning attitude. Are you well-rested, fully-prepared and confident? Friendly and warm? Execution often reflects having the right attitude, which goes a long way toward making you a more likable candidate.
2. Your preinterview research.What you learned about the organization, job and each interviewer, condensed into a page or two of notes. Review these notes while waiting for your interview to begin.
3. Your brag book. A professional three-ring binder of proof documents. What should it contain? Original documents (each in a protective clear plastic sleeve) including letters of commendation/recommendation, awards, customer letters, reports, publications, patents, A-rated performance reviews and other similar items that demonstrate exceptional performance. Occasionally refer to them as proof to support a point you are making.
4. Questions for this specific employer. These should be developed from your research of the employer (its market, its performance, its latest news and the like) and each of your interviewers. Arrange questions by functional area, and ask when given an opportunity to do so.
5. Your employment and education fact sheet. Sometimes employers ask you to complete a detailed application or other demographic form that calls for specific dates and other details. Build a master form that contains education, addresses and employment details such dates, job duties, compensation information and other things that you probably haven't memorized.
6. Applicable examples drawn from experience to support your answers. Your interviewers are likely to ask you to describe a time when you solved a problem, dealt with a challenging person or overcame obstacles. As part of your prep, it's good to build a quick list of examples where you delivered measurable results to answer the common, "Tell me about a time when you ..." questions.
7. A professional pad and pen for taking notes. Here's where a professional looking padfolio comes in, with a clean pad of pages, along with a professional pen (not a Bic or someone's promotional pen). Be at-the-ready to take notes during your interview. The padfolio can be used to house your notes about the employer, interviewers and the questions you want to ask.
Toolkit 2: What to bring to leave behind
1. Crisp extra originals of your résumé. These are customized for the position, perfect in appearance, grammar, spelling and facts. Offer one to each person who interviews you.
2. Crisp professional business card. Not one from a current or previous employer (unless you own the company), but one that provides your name and professional contact information (including social profile addresses).
3. Crisp copies of items from your brag book. Whenever you reference your brag book during the interview, make sure you have several crisp photocopies behind each original in the plastic sleeve, so you can hand it to your interviewer(s).
4. Folders into which to place your leave-behinds. Here's a touch that shows you go the extra mile. Have a few extra crisp, clean folders to use to house the leave-behinds you provide to an interviewer. Choose a folder that has pockets for your proof documents and a place to affix your professional business card.
5. Your thank-you kit. These are your thank-you cards (blank inside), along with envelopes and stamps, that you'll send to each person who interviewed you. Write a personalized note inside, hand-address them, include a business card (your professional card used for job search), and mail them from the closest post office to the interview, immediately following your interview.
When you are fully prepared for each interview, and bring the appropriate toolkits, you cannot help but to project a positive and confident attitude during your interview. You'll also distinguish yourself from the average applicant, who brought no toolkit, and who now looks pretty dull compared to you.
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