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The first or the only interview would invariably aim to provide the employer with a background and overview of the candidate’s skills, competencies, traits, and experience.
So, what to bring to a job interview--here are some suggestions:
A well-crafted and up to date resume is the basic and indispensable requirement to take to an interview. Make sure to bring a copy of the same resume sent in by email at the time of applying for the job, unless there has been a significant change in the profile in between. Make sure to keep multiple copies of the resume in case multiple interviewers each require a copy.
One major purpose of the interview is to substantiate the claims made in the resume, and, therefore, the candidate needs to bring in supporting documents and materials. Some of the most common documents and materials include:
- Educational transcripts and diplomas
- Certificates of training courses and skill development programs attended
- Copy of Social Security ID, driving license, or any other photo identification
- Experience certificates from previous employers
- Copy of last pay slip, if employed or previously employed
- Copy of previous performance or appraisal reports, if available
- Letters of appreciation and certificates of achievements
- Copy of professional license, wherever applicable
- A portfolio
- List of references
- Any other relevant documents, especially if the company has specified to bring along something
- Business card that lists contact details
The exact list of documents and materials to take along at the time of interview depends on the company. For instance, some companies may not crosscheck if the candidate has already emailed the supporting documents as part of the application process, while other companies may require seeing the original documents as proof. A good idea is to ask at the time of fixing the interview regarding the nature of documentation required at the time of interview. The best option by default is to carry along all possible supporting documents and materials, as it gives the image of an organized professional who has catered to every eventuality.
Image Credit: flickr.com/Peter Beens
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Many enterprises usually have multiple rounds of interviews, with each interview serving a special purpose. Examples of such interviews include:
- Technical interview, to assess the candidate’s technical competency
- Behavioral interview, to determine the candidates “soft skills” such as emotions, temperament, and other factors that determine suitability for a job
- Stress interview, to determine how the candidate reacts when faced with unexpected or hostile situations
- Group interview or group discussion, where many candidates discuss a topic among themselves, as a means for evaluators to assess the candidate’s communication thinking, reasoning, and logical abilities
What to bring to a job interview depends on the nature and type of interview. For instance, in a technical interview, the portfolio or work samples remain of critical importance whereas for a behavioral interview, letters of appreciation as a team leader or change mentor carries more relevance.
What is brought to an interview also extends to the nature of preparation. The candidate needs to research the company and bring in well-prepared answers for all possible questions. For instance, a candidate trying to prove how he or she can add value to the company would do well to take along a supporting worksheet explaining how the candidate can save "x" dollars for the company if the company invests "y" dollars in the candidate.
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Regardless of the nature or type of interview, candidates would do well to adhere to some basic considerations when attending interviews. Such basic consideration form an essential part of any good interview preparation checklist.
- If carrying portfolio or other materials in digital format, make sure that the file will open, and still better, carry along a laptop. Never assume that the company has the same advanced version of the software used to create the portfolio, or that the company has the software that will open the file in the first place.
- Carrying all materials in a slender and attractive file, and organizing them provides the candidate with a good opportunity to display a professional and well-organized nature.
- Keeping a location map handy with the site of interview marked, if traveling to an unfamiliar location, helps to avoid the risk of wandering around trying to find the place and running late for the interview.
- Carrying along a pen and a notepad allows jotting down important information such as a follow-up phone number, name of the interviewer, or some other critical observations regarding the company that may become useful at a later stage of the recruitment process. The pen and paper may also come in handy during group interviews. Never assume the company to provide stationery needs.
- As an alternative to a pen and writing pad, ensure the mobile phone has sufficient memory to record a few images, or jot down some notes, and make sure to switch over to silent mode when in the company premises, and especially during the time of the interview.
- Make sure to carry some cash for miscellaneous expenses such as paying for the cab or parking, and for eating out if the interview extends beyond lunchtime.
- Most companies do have water coolers accessible to the candidates, but it is nevertheless a good idea to carry along a bottle of water to ease anxiety when the actual interview takes place.
- Excessive worry about the interview may cause stress related headaches, or backaches. Those suffering from such anxiety or any other medical condition need to consume the required medication beforehand or take along the required medication.
- If traveling long distance for the interview, take along basic grooming accessories such as a comb and deodorant to retain freshness just before entering the interview premises. If traveling overnight and staying at a hotel, make sure to carry along the required toiletries and clean set of interview clothes.
A careful consideration of what to bring to a job interview is the bedrock on which successful performance in the interview rests.
Image Credit: flickr.com/Jan Laughlin