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What Not to Leave Behind After an Interview


When you’re interviewing for jobs, it’s important to be remembered. Oftentimes employers must weed through stacks of resumes and cover letters after days of interviews with prospective employees whose lists of experiences, training, and skills are all painfully similar. In these instances, the right Leave-Behind can become a valuable tool in giving a positive impression and boosting you above the rest of the applicants. The wrong Leave-Behind, however, could hurt your chances of being hired.

Stacks of paper

(Photo Credit: WiertzSebastien/Flickr)

A Leave-Behind is something extra you bring with you to leave with the hiring manager. It can range from a condensed portfolio of your work, ideas you have for the company (such as brief outlines of marketing plans), or lists of testimonials, awards, or professional associations. These items not only allow you to keep your resume brief and to the point, but serve as an extra bonus to the employer, especially if customized according to the job or the company you are pursuing. Your Leave-Behind should not result in more work for the employer, delay the hiring process, or make the employer wonder if you have any idea of the job you have applied for. Here are a few things you should not leave behind after the interview.

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Personal Items

This isn’t dating and you don’t need to mark your territory. It’s unnecessary to leave-behind personal items such as your family’s photos of the vacation to Cabo or your favorite lipstick just so you have to reappear when they find it. Additionally, your Leave-Behind should not be something you expect to have returned or are attached to that forces the employer to go out of his or her way to call you just to pick up whatever you left.

More Copies or Information That Should Have Been in the Resume

The Leave-Behind is supposed to be a bonus or added feature and should stand out as such. Leaving an exact copy of the resume you have already submitted three times only adds to the mound of paperwork and could also cause confusion — as in, “why do I have four copies of the same exact resume for this person?” If the information is standard, such as a list of three references, it should be included with your resume.

Information That Is Irrelevant to the Position

Your Leave-Behind should be relevant to the company or the job you are seeking. It is your opportunity to remind the employer why you are the best candidate for the job rather than the hundreds of other applicants you are competing with. It makes no sense to leave behind your zombie manuscript if creative writing isn’t part of the position you have interviewed for. Furthermore, you do not want to leave the employer feeling as though he or she wasted half an hour on extra information.

The point of a Leave-Behind after an interview is to stand out from the crowd as the one who is the most qualified for the position — the one the employer wants to hire above all of the others. Make sure your Leave-Behind isn’t, instead, leaving behind a negative impression.

Tell Us What You Think

What is the best Leave-Behind you have left a hiring manager or received from an applicant? Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments section below. 

Christina Majaski
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