Not to Bring to the Job Interview
By Elizabeth Bromstein
Job interview time! You got your light
reading material for the commute, your snack, your coffee, your mom. All
set, right? Wrong.
There are a few items you should bring to
the job interview with you: a printed copy of your resume, a portfolio,
necessary other documents. An umbrella, maybe, if itís raining.
And there are several things that you
must not bring with you, since they can decrease, or even tank, your
chances of getting the job. These include:
parents: No, before you ask, you canít even bring
one parent. Leave the family members at home. This means you,
millennials. Itís nice that you and your mom are close. I support
that. But you have to grow up and represent yourself at the job
interview. You are not a child. Donít act like one.
dog/cat/hamster: I admit that if you brought a dog
to an interview with me Ė as long as you had a good explanation Ė
Iíd be like ďAwesome. A puppy!Ē but not everyone feels the same. And
just showing up with an animal, with no explanation, is indeed
weird. A former recruiting director for American Eagle told CNBC the
story of a woman who brought her crated cat to the job interview and
set it on the desk. She proceeded to play with it off and on
throughout the interview. The recruiter wondered, ďWhy would you
think thatís OK?Ē To be on the safe side, leave the furry friends at
Of course youíll have your phone on you. But turn it off and put it
in your pocket, for Peteís sake. If you canít show the interviewer
the respect of offering your full attention for an hour or so, you
donít deserve the job. And you wonít get it.
Maybe theyíll offer you one, but donít show up carrying one. You
might spill it, there may be nowhere to put the cup when youíre
done, so you wind up carrying it around, the hiring manager might
think itís rude. Itís safer not to bring one. A bottle of water is
OK. However, be carefulÖ
companyís product: This Wall Street Journal article
contains a story about someone who showed up for an interview at
PepsiCo with a bottle of Dasani water. Dasani is a Coke product. He
didnít get the job. This sort of gaffe shows you really didnít do
your homework. Donít show up for an interview at Starbucks while
carrying a Tim Hortonís coffee, unless your plan is to discuss the
of Grey: When it comes to the job interview, donít
bring any reading material that makes you look anything less than
serious, intelligent, and professional. This means the celebrity
gossip magazines and the erotica should stay at home, under the bed,
where they belong.
shopping: So, you just had to pick up a few things
and whatís the harm in bringing the bags of stuff to the interview?
Everything. This presents the absolute wrong message. It makes it
look like the interview is just something youíre fitting in between
other things, not the sole focus of your day. You want to look like
you really care about the job. Do your shopping later.
One hiring manager has a story about a candidate who ate her lunch
during a virtual meeting. She didnít get the job. Whether the
meeting is virtual or in person, treat it the same. Be prepared and
professional. And donít bring food.
You want to present as uncluttered and
streamlined a picture as possible and thatís hard to do when youíre
laden with bags of stuff, coffees, cats and parents. Carry as little as
possible with you, and make the best impression you can.
Who Gets Hired
By Colleen Clarke
I recently sat down with Human Resources
Consultant Lorna Hegarty of LCH Resources, to talk about job
interviewing. She gave me the inside scoop on how most encounters look
from the hiring managerís side of the desk. Hereís what that can mean
Visuals are the first point of contact.
Employers assess your look before you even speak, so what you are
wearing, how you carry yourself and the energy you exude are noticed and
weighed first and foremost.
Dress appropriately for the company
environment and the position you are applying for. Wearing a suit to
a Tim Hortonís interview might be over the top, but wearing jeans
would be going too far the other way. Dress up.
Carry a neat and attractive brief
case, portfolio case or purse. Do not put it on the desk. It doesnít
have to be expensive, but it has to look nice. Donít bring plastic
Use a pen that you know writes and
doesnít have the Holiday Inn or some such company name written on
Ensure your shoes are polished and
the heels are not scuffed or worn down. Ladies either have fully
polished matching nails Ė or no nail polish at all. No chips or
anything in between. Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed.
How you behave in reception may be noted
and the receptionist may be stage one of the interview. Treat all gate
keepers with kindness and respect. (Thatís just good manners anyway.)
The host, hiring manager or HR recruiter,
will greet you and make small talk. Be prepared to talk about local news
and current events comfortably. Be (or act) genuinely interested in
engaging conversations. You should be trying to make a connection here.
Lorna says that a polite interviewer
would not call you on poor grammar use or saying ďlikeĒ multiple times
in a sentence, (ďSo, like, I went to the store, right, and there was,
like, no milk at all left in the fridgeĒ) but that it will be noted and
held against you. Proper communication is considered a job asset for
If you are perceived as being nervous, a
gracious interviewer will continue with the small talk or may offer you
water or coffee until they feel you have calmed down and are ready to
go. Accept water, not a hot drink.
Once the hiring manager sits down, the
formal interview will begin. Make regular eye contact, but remember,
itís not a staring contest. Weaker candidates avoid eye-contact out of
nervousness or over-stare to compensate.
You can almost set your clock by the
opening question being some version of, ĎTell me about yourself!í
The answer is about how you would be
able to work in the role being interviewed for. They are looking for
an organized response. They want to know you can do the job and that
you possess the skills the ad requires. The number of children in
your family and the fact you like to snow board is not relevant at
Never interrupt when a question is
being asked. Demonstrate that you know how to listen. Pause after
the question is asked and answer with a Situation/Action/Result
story. People donít remember words so much as they remember stories.
You may be asked WHY you majored in
math or why engineering appealed to you as a faculty of choice.
Prepare an intelligent, truthful response that mentions skills you
are good at and enjoy doing. Also be prepared for the answer to ĎWhy
do you want to work at our company?í This is to test what you know
about the company and the contributions you are prepared to make.
Ask intelligent questions throughout
When asked a weakness or development
question never mention a skill or strength that is required in the
job as being one of your weaknesses.
The interviewer will wrap up the
interview. It looks bad if the candidate cuts it short. Try to have
a question or two at the end unless the interview has been three
hours long and absolutely everything has been covered. You may even
ask the interviewer, Ďwhat do you like most about working for this
organization?í or Ďwhat changes have occurred within the company (or
your industry) that has affected the company in the last year?í
Thank the hiring manager for their
time and for selecting you to be a candidate. Tell them you are
excited about the position, if you are, and what a great opportunity
it would be for you.
Pack up at a moderate pace. Thereís
no need to rush out or dawdle about either.
Email a thank you note to the
interviewer within a day or two reiterating your interest in the
position and showing appreciation for their time.
Itís okay to follow-up, but donít stalk
the employer. Repeated follow-ups wonít increase your chances of being
hired and can end up making you look desperate.
Colleen Clarke, Career Specialist & Corporate Trainer, Author of
Networking: How to Build Relationships That Count, How to Get a Job and
co-author of The Power of Mentorship;
The Mastermind Group