The key to performing well in a job interview is being prepared. And that means knowing what to bring. There are the usual suspects: a few crisp, clean copies of your resume, a notepad and pen, a portfolio (if applicable), a list of references and, of course, anything that the interviewer asks you bring. While these tangible items are an important, there are several intangible things that should be on your list of what to bring to an interview.
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Learn as much as you can about the company with which you’re interviewing. Check out its blog, social media, press releases, mentions in the news – anything you can find. This knowledge will serve you in a couple of ways: In general, you’ll be able to speak more confidently about why you want to work for the company and how you can contribute to its mission, should you be hired. For example, if you’re shooting for a sales job, you should be ready pitch the company’s product right there at the interview. Second, knowing about the company will come in handy when you’re crafting questions to ask during the interview.
Chances are that your interviewer is going to ask for examples of how you handled certain situations in past jobs. Be prepared to provide that information by crafting career stories ahead of time. A few guidelines: Your stories should be true; they should be succinct; and they should make you look good. Come to your interview prepared to share anecdotes for these common themes:
- How you recovered from a mistake and what you learned
- How you faced down a challenge, succeeded and became a better employee for it
- How you handled a disagreement with your boss or colleagues
- How you have achieved successes
- How you have collaborated well with colleagues
The above list is by no means exhaustive. You’ll also want to craft stories that illuminate your skills and experience as they pertain directly to the job you’re trying to get. if you’re seeking a supervisorial role, for instance, be prepared to share story about how you dealt with a difficult subordinate.
The questions that you ask during a job interview tell a prospective employer a lot about you. Before you head in for the interview, come up with a list of questions that will demonstrate that you’re knowledgeable about the company and its industry, that you’re looking for a position and company that is a good fit for you, and that you’re already thinking about how you can add value to the company.
Finally, bring a positive attitude to the interview. Pre-interview jitters are natural. Just remind yourself that they called you; so they already see you as a viable candidate. If you’ve done your research and are well prepared – including knowing what to bring to an interview – you’re well on your way to acing the interview and landing that job.
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