One of the best things you can do to increase your chances of a successful job interview is to prepare in advance. Once you prepare your outfit, map the route to the employer's office and store the name and contact information of your interviewer in your smartphone, it's time to prepare your briefcase. Here's a list of five things you should always bring to a job interview.
1. Copies of Your Resume
Hiring managers always expect job candidates to be prepared for interviews, even if they're not. Therefore, bring extra copies of your resume to a job interview. It's also good to have copies of these documents with you just in case the employer asks you to fill out a traditional job application, since you can use them as reference material.
2. Writing Materials
Make sure you never have to ask the interviewer to borrow a pen or notepad. Put these items in your briefcase, since you'll likely want to jot down names, important company information or questions during the interview. Make sure your pen works, and choose a professional-looking notepad with new, clean sheets.
3. Questions for the Interviewer
Interviewers generally give candidates the opportunity to ask questions at the end of a job interview. Always prepare at least three post-interview questions in advance. It's a good idea to write these questions in your notepad. Make sure the questions demonstrate your interest in the company and position, and show you researched the industry, company and even the department where you want to work. If you don't ask questions, hiring managers might think you're disinterested, so the questions you ask should make it clear to the employer you want the position.
4. Story Prompts
It's important to prepare narratives and anecdotes that explain how you produced results in previous positions. Your answer to questions such as "What was the last big challenge you faced at work, and how did you handle it?" or "What personal skill helped you the most in your previous job?" allows employers determine the type of worker you'll be. Think of a few stories that can help you answer these types of tough questions, and jot down some information about the experience. Always choose stories that demonstrate your ability to turn negative situations around or achieve phenomenal results.
If a hiring manager is genuinely interested in you, he might ask for references during the job interview. While this doesn't always happen, it's best if you're prepared. Gather the names and contact information of three professional people who are willing to vouch for your skills and abilities. Type this information neatly on a reference sheet, and print out multiple copies so you're ready to present it upon request.
Hiring managers are generally impressed with well-prepared candidates, so begin preparing your briefcase as soon as you schedule an interview, and be sure to include these five things. To minimize fumbling and prevent wasting time during the job interview, keep the items in your briefcase neat, organized and readily accessible.
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