What to Bring to Your Interview: Tangibles and Intangibles
You've overcome the biggest hurdle and landed an interview with a promising company. The big day is circled on your calendar and you feel excited about the opportunity. Preparing is the biggest key to succeeding at the interview, and this means bringing tangibles and intangibles to the table. Here are some of the things you can arm yourself with that will brighten your chances of being offered the job.
It sounds strange, but with so many distractions (cell phones, blackberries, etc.), you can lose your focus and not be 100% present for your interview. You've rehearsed and prepared for this chance and you owe it to yourself and the interviewer to be fully invested. Get a good night's sleep, allow yourself enough time, and don't show up on an empty stomach. Once the interview begins, give them your full attention.
2) Your Resume
Even if the company does not request that you bring a copy of your resume to the interview, you should have at least five copies with you. These can be given to people you are introduced to in HR or anyone else who asks for it. Your resume can also be used as a prop to stall for time if you are unsure of how to respond to a question. For instance, you can pause and refer directly to something on your resume before answering.
3) Your Ears
According to Eve Zemanik, an HR professional who has interviewed hundreds of candidates, not listening is one of the biggest red flags a candidate can wave. "I can't count how many times people have canned responses and they respond with something totally off of the subject at hand," she says. Few things turn an interviewer off more, because it shows disrespect and makes you appear incompetent.
4) Proper Attire
During an interview you are being judged, and this includes your attire. The image you project should always be professional and confident without being cocky. This means minimal jewelry or flashy accessories. Your outfit should be clean and properly pressed. In short, what you are wearing should be taken care of so you can focus on the interview itself.
1) Knowledge of the Company and the Position
Research the organization you are interviewing with and retain facts that you can recall in an interview. Facts and figures can impress, but it's even better to express your take on things. For instance, if the company increased profits in its first quarter you can say "It jumped out at me how your organization performed so well in the first quarter. I realize that traditionally it's a slow time in the industry and I was impressed."
2) Questions for the Interviewer
One sure way to botch an interview in its final stages is when the interviewer asks if you have any questions and you respond "No." "This is really the candidate's time to shine," points out Zemanik. "If they knock me out with an insightful question of their own, they've got me in their corner." Prepare questions relevant to the organization and the position. It's also impressive to formulate a good question based on information you glean during the interview.
Nothing trumps genuine enthusiasm. In fact, even if you bring all of the tangibles and intangibles listed in this article, without enthusiasm you won't land the job. An interview is a performance and the best way to convince someone you are the one for the position is by being enthusiastic. You may know you want the job more than anything, but you have to show them you want it.
Exuding confidence during an interview is easier if you've done your homework. If you have, you realize that a prospective employer would not waste their time interviewing you if they didn't believe you were capable of performing the job. During an interview, your eyes should meet the interviewer's directly and often. Eye contact is the quickest way for someone to gauge your integrity and level of confidence. Don't fidget and remember to lean forward when you are listening or responding to a question.