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Interview take-along checklist

You're interviewing for a job tomorrow, and you think you've done all the preparations you need to do. You've practiced your answers to a multitude of common interview questions and have thought up some questions to ask the interviewer. Your interview suit is pressed and ready. But what do you bring to the interview? Here's a handy checklist so you won't forget a thing.

Items for your briefcase

Your resume and job/professional references: But don't just throw these crucial documents in your bag. According to Monster interview expert Marky Stein, linguists and psychologists have found that 93 percent of all communication is nonverbal. How you present this information says a lot about you.

To that end, Stein recommends you buy an inexpensive two-pocket folder in blue, since this color appeals to both men and women and conveys a business feel. On the left side, place your resume, and on the right, your letters of recommendation and list of references. When you get to the interview, say, "I wanted to bring an extra copy of my resume — here it is," and open the folder, turning it around for the interviewer to read.

"This is a sign you are open and honest as well as organized," Stein says. "The more you show you are prepared, the more you are showing respect."

Pad and pen: Taking a few notes during your interview (while being careful not to stare at your notepad the whole time) is another sign of respect. "It makes them feel you are listening," Stein explains.

Business card: People either take in information visually, audibly or through touch. "The more you give them to touch, the more real it seems to them," she says.

Directions: "These lower your anxiety," Stein says, adding that it's preferable to drive to your interview location in advance and park so you can see how long the journey takes.

Cellphone: You can always leave this bit of modern life in your car, but if you must take it with you, make sure it stays turned off and in your briefcase; it's a huge sign of disrespect to be interrupted during an interview or give the appearance you'll be interrupted. "If you're a man, don't even wear it on your belt," Stein recommends. "Keep it hidden."

The intangibles

Company research: In almost every interview, you'll be asked what you know about the company, Stein says. To prepare for this question, she recommends Hoovers.com. You can also check out companies on Monster.com.

A smile: It may sound sappy, but this nonverbal clue is an immediate rapport-builder. Interviewers are often nervous, too. "In one-sixteenth of a second, we assess whether someone will harm, help or hurt us," Stein says. "(A smile) immediately tells someone that you're not going to hurt them."

Interview take-along checklist 05/29/14 [Last modified: Thursday, May 29, 2014 8:00pm]
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