Ever wondered what to bring to an interview? To help you with your selection of items, we’ve compiled a list of ten absolute essentials that should probably find their way into your briefcase as you walk out the door. Remember. Always put your best foot forward using these interview tips.
What to Bring to an Interview:
Item one tops the list as arguably the most important item of what to bring to an interview. You know what they say. It’s mightier than the sword. This definitely applies to the job interview scenario. Bringing a pen along denotes preparedness, as well as the fact that you’ve put some thought into the preparation process. Besides, your interviewer is definitely going to be impressed with the fact that you’ve come prepared; chances are, they are looking for someone who thinks ahead for the opening.
2. Copy of your resume (or several)
Of course, you don’t need a resume to apply for every position. And, not every job applicant has a CV. However, it doesn’t hurt to have one drafted just in case and to bring it along. If you don’t have a resume, print out your online job portal profile, and keep it handy during the interview. Should your interviewer not have one on hand, doing so will definitely give the interviewer the impression that you’ve come prepared and are determined to snag the position being offered.
3. Your portfolio
You may think that only creative professionals should have portfolios. Of course, this is one item on our ‘what to bring to a job interview’ list that’s a bit more relevant for creative fields such as design, architecture, or photography. The truth is that no matter what field you seek your job in you’re going to want to show your potential employer past examples of your work. A good hint is not to overload your showcase file. Limit it to a few relevant examples that you’re particularly proud of.
4. Reference letters
In the case of references, the same principles apply as with resumes. You need them regardless of what the job ad says. They’re not absolutely essential. They may not be a deal breaker if the interviewer hasn’t specifically asked you for one. But, having them available speaks volumes about your hiring potential, self-esteem, and professionalism. In the case of a highly competitive interview process, providing on to a potential employer could make all the difference. If you can’t provide references in written, printed form, at least provide the names, positions and phone numbers of 2 or 3 professionals you’ve worked for and who can vouch for your professionalism.
A notepad is a useful item to bring along to a job interview. You will most likely have to write down names, dates, addresses, phone numbers, etc. With the possible exception of taking down phone numbers, it’s not really polite or appropriate to whip out your cell phone during a job interview. After all, current etiquette rules dictate that all such devices remain switched off and tucked away during important meetings. And, a job interview is definitely an important meeting if you’re serious about landing the job.
6. Breath mints/gum
Trust us, fresh breath is a must-have. Have a mint or chew some gum a short while before the interview. Whatever you do, though, remember to dispose of it or swallow it before the actual interview begins.
7. Bottled water
Many people don’t consider this one when they formulate a list of what to bring to an interview. Chances are you’re going to get some water offered while there, but you should come prepared nonetheless, just in case you don’t. To avoid a sore throat, it’s always a good idea to keep some water handy. This is especially true for those unexpected, stress-induced cough fits that sometimes strike.
8. Professional attire
Are you familiar with the KISS principle? It’s short for “Keep It Simple… Silly” and it applies to tips on what to wear to a job interview. Regardless of the line of work or position you’re applying for, your outfit should look clean, neat, and appropriate. Check for pet hair and wrinkles in your clothes. Avoid over-the-top accessories, fragrances, or makeup. Keep those heels and skirt length in check, ladies. The point is that you want your interview to be interested in your experience and skills, not in your sartorial choices, right?
9. A single, professional bag
No, you don’t have to invest in expensive leather goods to pass an interview. However, the point here is not to drag along a massive computer bag, along with a second bag, briefcase or folder. It’s going to make you look cluttered and disorganized. Simply fit all your necessary belongings into a single, simple bag, slip it on your shoulder, then slip it off when you sit down, to make sure your hands are free during the interview.
10. Good questions and factual answers
This one’s pretty self-explanatory for a list of what to bring to an interview, isn’t it? We know that questions and answers don’t exactly qualify as items. But, they’re essential to bring along regardless. Countless online lists of job interview tips and good questions to ask during an interview will provide you with the adequate tools to ace an interview. Take some time to peruse them. Then, select a few that apply to your particular line of work, position, and interests. Furthermore, when it comes to answers, remember that the interviewer only cares about the facts. If some less comfortable moments occurred in your past, you ought to be able to speak about them calmly and reasonably. Whatever you do, don’t lie. Interviewers are usually trained professionals with the ability to sniff out a fib a mile away.