Q: Recently I interviewed for a job in Cambridge. I had done my research on the company and felt well-prepared. When I met with the interviewer, he asked me for a copy of my resume. It was a tech company. I didn’t think I needed to bring a copy of my resume since he told me he had a copy when we scheduled the interview. Is that expected?
A: Technology certainly has influenced the hiring and selection process across the globe. We source candidates using technology. We share opportunities using technology. We sometimes even turn down candidates using technology. However, there are some steps within the selection process where technology has limits.
Candidates are still evaluated on a variety of factors, where technology makes little difference. Does a candidate arrive on time? Is the candidate appropriately dressed? Is a firm handshake offered? Does the candidate maintain eye contact?
An organized and well-prepared candidate often brings a hard copy of their resume. I always recommend that a candidate bring SEVERAL copies of their resume to the interview. Many hiring managers are overwhelmed with the data thrown at them, from resumes sent via email to resumes sitting in some applicant tracking system. Make it easy for the hiring manager by having several copies ready to share. By bringing several copies, you are already showing your value. You are saying “I am prepared and organized. I can make life easier for you.” Print your resume on crisp, white or ivory paper. Avoid any type of colored paper which may feel gimmicky and unprofessional. Some candidates even offer a file folder so the resume is presented as if it was just printed (vs. presenting it in a crumpled, dog-eared fashion, as if it has been sitting in the bottom of a briefcase for weeks).
When a candidate is well-prepared, a hiring manager hopefully notices. It is a way for a candidate to convey their level of interest in a role. If a candidate is unprepared, often a manager will interpret that behavior as disinterest or sloppiness. Don’t risk sending this message.
Additionally, some candidates share their business card, have professional references printed and ready to go (if asked), a note pad and pen. Depending upon the role, some candidates may bring work samples.
Finally, what to leave at home? Gum, coffee, outlandish outfits, too much perfume or cologne and too much jewelry or bling. Although you should bring it with you, silence or turn off your phone. The humming, buzzing or vibrating cell phone can be a significant distraction.