You’ve just been called in for a job interview. Congrats!
Now comes the prep.
Standing in the way of you signing that employment contract is the need for you to wow the interviewers at your big meeting.
What should you bring to an interview? What not to take with you? And how many of each?
Don’t you worry.
In this simple post, we’ll give you all these answers and more as to the things you should bring to an interview to ensure you get it right.
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What to Bring to an Interview?
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being prepared—you’ll feel more confident, and that’ll show to the HR manager or supervisor asking the questions.
Here are the most important things to take to an interview:
1. A Well-Prepared Mind
The most important thing to bring to an interview is a well-prepared mind. But, what does that mean?
First, you’ll want to make sure you practice, practice, practice. Ask a friend or family member to prep you by holding mock interviews.
Secondly, research the company. It looks terrible when you go to an interview without even knowing what the company does.
Thirdly, practice common interview questions. You won’t know everything they’ll ask you at your job interview, but there are plenty of questions that most employers ask. Start with those.
Finally, get some sleep. You won’t do well at your interview without a good night’s rest.
To make sure you’re ready, read our full guide on how to prepare for an interview.
2. 5 Copies of Your Resume & Cover Letter
Why 5 copies?
Just in case. You could be a part of a group interview, say if the HR representative brings in your future supervisor and the team you’ll be working with. It’s best practice to be able to hand them each a copy of your cover letter and resume so they won’t disrupt your meeting to go print it out.
This holds true whether you’re going to an internship interview or standard job interview.
3. Samples of Relevant Past Work
If you have work to show the interviewer that didn’t get included in the resume or cover letter, make sure to bring it along. An interview is the time and place to show your proudest projects off.
You could print it out (make 5 copies as well), or at least document where they can look up the past work you’ve done, if any (i.e., websites). If that’s too difficult, just bring your laptop along to show them, if necessary.
4. Personal Documents
Sure, you may carry your driver’s license with you at all times anyway, but be sure not to leave home without identification, whether you drive or not. You could need it to enter the building (reception may ask), and you may need it again right before the interview.
And, who knows? Hopefully things go well enough and they might need your ID again to start some paperwork!
5. A Few Choice Meds
It’s always good to have an aspirin, ibuprofen, or other pain reliever with you in case you get a most untimely headache right before the interview.
Also, if you’re prone to an upset stomach or gas, Tums or Beano are important if you want to feel comfortable during the interview.
Finally, a small bottle of water to wash it all down—or, better yet, a refillable vessel to not further hurt the environment!
Related Read: How to Research a Company When Applying for a Job
6. Personal Hygiene Essentials
A lot of other websites out there advise not bringing chewing gum to an interview. However, I believe it is generally a good idea. If you’re concerned about bad breath from that morning coffee, chewing gum will only help your interview chances. Just don’t pop it or chew loudly during the job interview and you should be good to go. Consider also opting for breath mints, instead.
Bring some antibacterial hand wipes to clean up from touching this and that during your commute. An added benefit is that the small amount of alcohol helps wick away any moisture from your sweaty palms. Regular baby wipes or paper towels are useful to carry along for dabbing your sweaty brow, and tissues for an inopportune runny nose.
A Tide to Go stain pen could be useful for that last-minute coffee stain. And, don’t go overboard on the cologne, perfume, or Axe body spray!
7. A Professional Outfit
For most jobs for students and young professionals, including internships, I recommend going anywhere from business casual to business professional. You should have prepared your interview attire days before your big meeting, but here are a few pointers:
- Solid-color clothing is best,
- No designs and minimal logos,
- Iron everything,
- Not too baggy, but not too tight,
- Neatly trimmed fingernails,
- Nicely groomed hair and beard,
- Matching, professional shoes and jacket.
Also—don’t overdo the amount of jewelry you wear!
8. Fully-Charged Phone & Phone Charger
We rely on our phones for everything these days, and you may use it to inform the interviewer of your arrival, navigate via the Google Maps app, or read up on the latest company news during your commute.
Bring your phone, but silence the ringer and turn off the vibration before entering the meeting—there’s nothing quite as annoying to an interviewer than an interviewee’s phone going off! Also, bring your phone charger along, and, if you’re really nervous, you can print out a paper copy of your travel directions to be firmly on the safe side.
9. Questions to Ask the Interviewer
When wondering what to bring to an interview, interview questions for the employer might not cross your mind at first. But, they’re super important!
Aside from preparing for the most common interview questions from them, gather a few questions of your own to throw their way. Interviews should be two-way streets, and they’ll give you the chance to ask questions towards the end, if not throughout.
The last thing you want to do is not ask any questions at all, as it’ll make you look ill-suited for the job and unprepared. Employers want to know you’re interested, paying attention, and proactive, and firing off the right questions will help accomplish all three.
10. Notes on a Notepad
Taking a notepad or small notebook to an interview for a job is a great way to stay on top of things. However, it’s also sure to score you some points with the hiring manager, as they’ll witness your work ethic and organization as you jot down what they say.
And, since you’re bringing a notebook or notepad, include some pre-written notes on there. Include some prompts for questions you want to ask, perhaps, or a point you wanted to mention. Don’t rely on memory when you don’t have to.
Include a few names in case the hiring manager requests any references. Also, throw in a few prime achievements from your university days or past work experience.
Oh, and bring a pen to write with, of course!
11. A Professional Briefcase or Portfolio
To end things off on what you should bring to an interview, it’s best to conclude with the vehicle for transporting all the above items.
Find yourself a plain, professional briefcase or a durable folder / portfolio in which to carry all the things to bring to an interview. And—don’t just toss it all in willy-nilly; when you open your briefcase, the interviewer might get a look at your disorganization and dock you some points just for that.
One exception to the rule of bringing a professional briefcase or portfolio is when interviewing at an environmental firm or with an interviewer you are certain lives to fight climate change. In this case, schlepping all your interview items in a sustainable canvas sack or a bag made from recycled plastic may win you a few points. But, still keep it all organized neatly!
Well, there you have it—our list of the most important things to bring to an interview. The final thing to remember to bring to an interview?
A smile and positive attitude!
Do you have any questions, feedback, or other things to take to an interview we may have missed? Leave us a comment below, and thanks for reading!
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