You’ve applied for a job, passed a phone screen, and you have just been notified that the company would like to interview you in-person — congratulations!
While there will be a lot on your mind right now — such as preparing your answers to common questions, and figuring out what to wear — it is important that you take some time in advance to consider what you are going to bring to the interview.
Job interviews are competitive environments. The person who presents themselves the best is the one who is going to get hired. If you walk into the interviewer room organized and ready, you’ll be able to make a great impression on the interviewer.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss the top six things you should bring to a job interview, as well as what you should leave behind.
#1: Pens and a notepad
There is a lot of information to take in during a job interview. The interviewer will ask you a number of questions, and as you go through the interview you may think of a few points that you want to bring up. Instead of trying to keep track of everything in your head, you should keep a notepad around that you can use to jot down notes.
Don’t just bring any old notepad that you have lying around. Instead, bring one that is professional and, ideally, one that will not distract you during the interview. You should also bring two or three pens to make sure that you don’t have to enter the dreaded situation where you have to ask an interviewer for a pen.
During the interview, if you need to take note of something, write it in your notepad. However, make sure that you retain your full focus on what the interviewer is saying, so that you do not appear too distracted.
#2: Copies of your application materials
There is a high chance that the interviewers will have a copy of your application and resume in front of them. However, you should also bring your own copies of these documents, in case the interviewers do not have a copy of these materials.
This will make it easier for you to answer any questions specific to your past experience, and will also allow you to appear organized if the interviewer asks for any additional materials.
You should print out at least four different copies of these materials, in case there are multiple interviewers who need them.
#3: Questions to ask
Toward the end of your interview, you may be asked whether or not you have any questions for the interviewer about the position, the business or next steps. If you want to appear enthusiastic in your job interview — and show off the fact that you have prepared well for your interview — then you’ll want to have two or three different questions you can ask.
To help you out, here are a few questions you could ask:
- What do the day-to-day responsibilities of this job look like?
- What are the main three values that your company instills? How do you practice those values?
- What is your favorite part about working at the company?
- How will my success be measured in this position?
#4: Directions and a travel plan
Imagine this: you have spent the last few days and weeks preparing for this interview, only to realize that you don’t know how to get to the offices of the employer.
The best way to avoid this situation is to plan ahead and prepare directions on how you can get to the company’s offices. If you are unsure about where their offices are located, print off a set of directions then do a dry run to get to the company’s offices. That way, when it comes time to go to your actual interview, you’ll know which route to take.
If you are using public transportation, you may want to take an earlier bus or train to make sure that you get to the job interview on time. You may also want to plan out an alternate route you can take if public transportation is not available.
While you may not always be asked to provide references in an interview, it is good to have a few at-hand anyway in case references are requested.
Before your interview begins, take some time to prepare a list of references that you can hand over to the interviewer. The references you choose should be people who you believe can accurately discuss your work ethic and behaviors, such as former employers or colleagues.
In your list of references, make sure you provide the name of the reference, the company at which they work, their position, and their contact information. You should also make sure that you notify references in advance that you are going to list them as a reference, so they know to prepare for the event that the interviewer may reach out to them.
#6: A folder or bag
We’ve discussed how you should bring along directions, references, copies of your resume, and copies of any other relevant application materials. That’s a lot to carry!
When you have prepared these resources, you should put them all in a folder or a bag, which will make it easy for you to carry them into your interview. In addition, by having these resources in a bag, you should find it easier to retrieve them during your interview.
What Not to Bring to a Job Interview
So far, we have discussed what you should bring to an interview. But, equally important is ensuring that you do not bring anything unnecessary to your interview. Here are a few things you should avoid bringing to a job interview:
- Earbuds or headphones
- A phone with the ringtone left on
- Food or drinks (water should be provided in your interview anyway)
- Large amounts of jewelry
Of course, you can keep these things in your bag (if you bring one), but they should never be visible to the interviewer.
One final thing you should not bring to an interview: negativity. When you walk into the room, you should exert positivity and professionalism — this will help you position yourself as someone who the business should have as a team member.
Job interviews can be stressful environments. After all, what you do and say in the space of an interview will determine whether you will advance to the next stage of the hiring process.
The best way to ensure success in a job interview is to prepare as much as possible upfront. In addition to preparing your answers to common interview questions, you should also make sure that you’re equipped with all the items you may need in the interview.
Before your interview, make sure you prepare any relevant documents, find a pen and paper you can use, and gather any other items you think are necessary. By considering what you should bring upfront, you’ll be able to feel more confident that you have all you need to succeed in your interview.