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How to Prepare a Handout for an Interview
A timely interview handout, targeted to a specific question, can help an applicant set himself apart from the pack. Numerous different types of handouts exist, but you won't always know which is the most appropriate for the interview. Candidates can prepare a variety of handouts to take to the interview, with the understanding that most of them won't ever be seen by the interviewing panel. Don't overwhelm the interviewers with documents; a well-placed, professional handout in response to a specific question makes for a memorable and impressive interview.
Prepare your handouts on plain, good quality paper in a business-appropriate color such as white or cream. Type your handout using a standard professional font like Ariel or Times New Roman, sized appropriately so that the handout can be read easily.
Create a 30/60/90-day plan. This handout focuses on what you would do during your first 30, 60 and 90 days on the job. Think about the actions you would take if you were hired, the training and assessments you would make, and any specific actions that can demonstrate your knowledge and research of the company. For example, you might refer to specific customers, contracts or projects the company is working on -- then create a bulleted list for each of the segments of the plan.
Research the projects and activities you would be working on if hired, and prepare a targeted, detailed plan to deal with one specific issue. For example, if you are considering a product expansion, talk about the competitors you would research, the branding and marketing options to consider and the existing distribution channels the company could utilize.
Put together a professional portfolio. Include work samples in addition to copies of transcripts and educational qualifications. Consider including letters of recommendation, or a typed list of references who may be contacted about your work. Don't just hand out a stack of papers; organize the items in small binders, with dividers to separate the documents.
Ask a trusted friend or colleague to review your handouts before you go to the interview. Proofread carefully for typos, grammatical errors and readability.
In addition to your handouts, always bring extra copies of your resume in case it is needed during the interview.
Make enough copies so that you have one for each interviewer.
Don't pass out a handout just for the sake of giving it out. If you realize from the tone of the interview that your handout has gone in the wrong direction, or if your handout doesn't really relate to the question asked, giving it out could do more harm than good.
For more than a decade, Tia Benjamin has been writing organizational policies, procedures and management training programs. A C-level executive, she has more than 15 years experience in human resources and management. Benjamin obtained a Bachelor of Science in social psychology from the University of Kent, England, as well as a Master of Business Administration from San Diego State University.