Don't Be Unprepared in Your Next Interview

John Krautzel
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It's never a good idea to show up to a job interview unprepared. Liz Ryan, HR expert and founder of Human Workplace, believes the key to a successful interview is preparation. Not only should you give yourself at least two hours ahead of the interview to get ready, but there are nine things you must bring with you to every interview to increase your chances of success.

1. A Pad and Working Pen

You need writing utensils to take notes during a job interview. Taking notes can help you later when writing a thank you note or if you have a follow-up interview.

2. Printed Directions to the Site

In case your GPS goes haywire, place printed directions to the interview location in your briefcase. You do not want to get lost or arrive late.

3. Extra Copies of Your Resume

The hiring manager may have a copy of your resume, but the other people present may not. Bring extra copies everyone in attendance just in case.

4. Questions for the Interviewers

A job interview is a two-way conversation. Prepare thoughtful questions to show that you did your research and are genuinely interested in the position.

5. Appropriate Clothing

Dress appropriately for the interview, which means wear business formal attire. Avoid wearing distracting accessories, such as extra-large pieces of jewelry.

6. A Working Hypothesis of the Employer's Business Pain

The employer likely needs someone to meet a specific need. Your deep-dive research into the company should shed light on at least one huge problem facing the company. For example, sales just increased 10 percent quarter-over-quarter, and you believe the company needs a more robust sales software to keep the momentum going. That's where you chime in about the results you achieved with a certain sales software program that helped a previous employer. Let employers know exactly how you plan to help the company.

7. Stories That Showcase Your Accomplishments

Tell your future employer why you're perfect for the job by relating stories about how you solved problems and accomplished great things in previous positions. Share a few narratives that highlight your experience and skills while also revealing how you are a team player.

8. Knowledge of the Organization

As you research the organization, examine several key areas. Find out what the company does and learn about its competitors and customers. Learn about the size, history, ownership structure, leadership and various office locations. Finally, learn how the position for which you're interviewing benefits the organization as a whole.

9. The Right Mindset

Come into a job interview with the mindset that you are going to learn new things and meet new people. This helps you to relax and not think of an interview as an interrogation.

Landing a job interview means you captured the employer's interest. Understand this concept and bring the right tools with you to ensure you're prepared and to boost your chances of success.

Photo courtesy of Patricia Adams at


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