You probably go into an interview with very little in your hands. Your phone is in the car, keys in your pocket, and your resume is tucked inside a notebook you will use to take notes during the interview. What if I told you that you’ve forgotten something? Not sure what it is? Let me help you. You need a leave-behind.
What is a leave-behind? I can hear your panicked voice already. You’ve been preparing for this interview, and you want it to be as successful as possible. That’s why you want to put together a folder with content that you plan to leave with the interviewer at the end of the interview.
You more than likely submitted samples of your work when you applied, but the interviewers may not have seen them or might not remember what was your work. For that reason, you want to pick some of your best samples. Showcase your writing skills or graphic design experience. If you’ve managed social media, bring some analytics that highlights your talent to reach an audience. All of these should be found in your online portfolio, but it is much more convenient for the interviewer if you have physical copies to show them and discuss during the interview.
Here are some key things you should include in your leave-behind.
- Folder – Don’t ever leave a stack of loose papers. Head over to Walmart and get yourself a cheap folder with prongs and a pack of plastic paper cover dividers. You won’t impress them by buying the most expensive folder and professionally laminating each paper. Something cheap will do.
- Resume – ALWAYS have a copy of your resume. ALWAYS. When you go into the interview, they will likely have a copy of your resume already. Bring several copies anyways. Some interviews are conducted with panels, and nothing is more inconveniencing than having several people lean over one sheet of paper. Print several copies, and put them in the front pouch of the folder.
- References – As you know, your references should not be on your resume, so print out your references and put them as the first page in your leave-behind.
- Writing samples – If you have a lot of experience writing, or the position you’re applying for requires a skilled writer, you NEED to provide proof of your writing skills. Pick 2-3 of your best writing samples, and include them in your leave-behind.
- Graphic Design – Graphic design is a sought after skill these days. Many positions require applicants to have some knowledge of graphic design programs like Photoshop and InDesign. Show the interviewer that you have the skills they’re looking for by including 3-4 samples of graphic design work that you have done.
- Analytics – Creating compelling social media posts is impressive, but to impress, even more, provide analytics of social media accounts you’ve managed. Include the following and engagement when you started compared to when you left.
What NOT to include in your leave-behind
- Your selfie – You may think that having your picture in your leave-behind will help the recruiters remember you, but it can cause more harm than good. Including your image can open up the door for the interviewers to make a decision based on bias. You want them to call you back because of your qualifications, not your face, so focus on your skills and experience instead of your appearance.
- Your address – No interviewer on the earth needs to know your full home address. While it’s fine to provide the area that you live in to assure the interviewer that you can make the commute to the office, they don’t need to know exactly where you rest your head at night.
- Bad samples – Your goal is to impress the interviewer. Providing samples with grammatical errors or poor design will only guarantee that you don’t get a callback.
- Plagiarized work – While it may impress them in the interview, the truth will come out, and let me just tell you – recruiters talk with other recruiters.
- Group work without attribution – This falls under plagiarism, technically, but it needs to be stated separately. If you were not the sole author or creator of a piece of work, you need to attribute it to all contributors to the project. It is okay to provide group work in your leave-behind, but make sure you highlight the portions that you worked on the most.
Do you include something in your leave-behind that didn’t make our list? Put it in the comments below!