When preparing for a job interview candidates, often wonder: what should I bring to my interview? Below we will break down the best things to bring to an interview and what to leave at home. Following these tips could get you one step closer to your next career.
What can you bring to your job interview?
Copies of your resume
If there is one thing you bring to a job interview, it should be copies of your resume. Keep them in a folder or safe place. Chances are the interviewers will have a copy, but just in case, you should always have a few extras. Sometimes the hiring manager will have a candidate meet with members of their team and these people might not have your resume.
Portfolio or work samples
Candidates who are interviewing for creative jobs should always bring their portfolio or samples of past work. The type of work you do will determine which samples you should bring. If your portfolio is digital, you can bring a laptop to showcase your work.
A notepad and a pen
Make sure you have a notepad and pen in your bag or briefcase. You may need to write something down and you do not want to ask the interviewer for supplies. If needed, you can also take notes during your interview.
Always get the contact information (first and last name, email, and phone number) for everyone you interview with. If they don’t have a business card, you can write down their information. You will want their contact information for any needed follow-ups. Confirm the email address of each person you meet so you can send a thank-you note.
Questions for your interviewer
Candidates may also want to bring a list of prepared interview questions to ask the hiring manager. Most interviews will end with the employer asking the candidate if they have any questions. You should always have at least one or two questions to ask. Bringing a few prepared interview questions that you can reference will help you remember the important things you wanted to know.
It’s okay to bring a checklist of talking points to reference during your job interview. You will not want to read directly from your sheet of paper though, so practice common interview answers in preparation for your interview. Answer each question while making eye contact and just use your notes if you get nervous or forget something. Practice your answers in a way that ties them back to the description of the position you are interviewing for.
You need to bring a form of identification to all of your job interviews. Some companies will require this as a security check. Candidates would not want to show up and get stuck for forgetting their driver’s license or other form of ID.
Directions to the interview
Make sure you know how to get to your job interviews. Even if you think you know exactly where you are going, it’s a good idea to write down the address or save it on your phone. Leave yourself extra time to arrive early in order to avoid delays. Remember, you might have to find a place to park, and then go through security. Waiting in the lobby for a few minutes is better than being late.
Every company handles references a little differently. Most likely, they’ll be requested after your job interview, but you should prepare to provide references on the spot. It’s a good idea to let your professional references know when you have shared their information so they are ready for a phone call.
What not to bring to a job interview
During your job search, there are a few items you should always leave at home. While some of these seem obvious, hiring managers have told us it’s amazing what candidates bring to an interview.
Candidates should dress in appropriate attire for their job interviews. Never wear clothing with rips or controversial sayings on them. It’s always best to overdress than show up too casual.
Food or gum
Keep any food or gum out of your job interview. If you are concerned about bad breath, use a breath mint or discard of your gum before your interview starts. Never eat during an interview. If you eat right before, check your teeth and breath prior to arriving at the office.
It’s okay to have your cell phone with you during a job interview, but it’s best to leave it in your bag or pocket during your meeting. Do not set it on the desk or table. Always put your phone on silent mode and never answer it in the middle of an interview.
Final thoughts on what to bring to a job interview
What you bring to a job interview is part of the impression you give off. If the hiring manager sees something they don’t like, you could hurt your chances of working at the company. Remember, the more you learn about the company, the better prepared you will be. Also, you can always ask the recruiter to share anything specific you need to bring to an interview.