GNcareers, from Gulf News

Don't get caught out at job interviews

Don't get caught out at job interviewsImage Credit: Supplied

Planning for a job interview can be stressful. What to wear, how much time to assign for the commute, who are you going to meet — all of these issues can be time-consuming. After all, you just want to make an impression that you're ready for the job. In the midst of all these preparations, however, many job applicants miss critical items and end up looking unprepared.

These items go beyond your looks, attitude, and even the research you do about the employer. There are some physical items that many job interviews require, including copies of your resume, list of references, letters of recommendations, examples of your work such as reports, papers, etc. You also should bring any items that you have been asked to bring along or verify. For example, some employers may require to see a copy of your residence visa or permit (if any), passport, diploma, driving record, etc.

When employers ask for particular documents to see during the interviews, you must take this request seriously. Have a checklist for these items so that you don't forget any of them. In addition, when you compile these documents for a job interview, make sure that you're taking a complete package of career documentation, even if it is just an initial interview. If your goal is to appear prepared, this is one step that should be easy to achieve.

Here are a few points to keep in mind.

Provide a complete package

When you're in the room with everyone involved in the hiring decision, it is your opportunity to make your point. If you provide documents, credentials, work examples, etc to everyone, you will be sure no one will miss them or be left out. In the scenario where you email these document after the interview, you simply risk having them set aside by the recipient or not shared with some key decision makers.

In addition, you may use some of these documents for demonstration. For example, if you're talking about a particular project that was significant in your career development and you pull a letter of recommendation that refers to this project, you're simply closing the loop for the interviewer. Your words are backed up, and therefore become much more powerful.

Show your enthusiasm

Your interviewers probably are looking for signs of motivation and genuine interest in the job. When you show up for the job interview with measurable preparation, your intent is more amplified for the hiring manager. Try to make your preparation as presentable as possible as well. For example, invest in small folders where you can compile a portfolio — with copies for everyone in the meeting. If your collection of document is large, use separators, post-it notes, etc.

On the other hand, if you don't really have much to place in such a folder, just make sure that your resume is cleanly printed and the copies (whether in a folder or not) are easily accessible in your briefcase or purse. No one wants to see you dump a bag full or receipts, gum, keys, etc to find a required piece of paper.

Be ready to close

You never know how quickly some employers are willing to proceed. If you're asked to bring in copies of your passport, diploma, etc, the employer may be looking to get paperwork started right away — if the interview goes well.

You have a great opportunity in this scenario to get the deal nearly closely before you go home. If you've forgotten these documents, you're not only leaving a bad impression about your interest and attention, you are also leaving some space for second thoughts, especially if the employer is continuing with interviews. That is why you always should go armed with your documents. Some jobs will wait for the right candidate, and others will take the first good-enough fit. So if you want the job, be ready to grab it.

Get it documented

— Make a checklist of required items

— Add copies of resumes, references, etc.

— Present documents nicely

— Use documents for demonstration

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Source: Rania Oteify, Special to

The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor