You’ve done it, you’ve landed an interview at your dream job! You’re excited, a little nervous, and may be wondering what you should bring to the interview with you. In-addition to bringing great energy, you should never go to an interview empty-handed!
An in-person interview is your best shot at landing the job. You’re given the opportunity to meet with the hiring manager and the team and to see the office. But you need to prepare before the interview in order to nail it and give it your best shot. There are a number of items you should bring with you to appear more professional and to be as prepared as possible.
Once the in-person interview is confirmed, you should prepare the following items to bring with you. Being prepared for the interview is just as important as what’s on your resume and you should gather the following items if you want to appear organized and make a great first impression.
Multiple Copies of Your Resume
It is paramount that you bring multiple copies of your resume with you to the interview. You’ll likely be meeting with the hiring manager, but don’t assume that there won’t be other people from the company looking to interview you and meet you. Having multiple copies of your resume ensures that everyone interviewing you can receive a copy.
In addition, it is better to be safe than sorry. If you spill or accidentally rip one copy of your resume, you can simply pull out another one. We recommend printing your resume on resume paper to make a great first impression.
A Professional Folder
You’ve printed multiple resumes correct? Where are you planning on keeping those resumes? Your best bet is to bring a folder with you with your resume and other important papers in. Ideally, you want to use a professional folder.
A Professional Bag
So, now you have your resumes printed on resume paper, housed in a professional folder, correct? Good. Now, put that professional folder into a professional bag. You want to enter the interview with a nice, professional, clean bag. The bag should be easily accessible, and you should be able to quickly grab the folder out from it. You can find great recommendations for professional bags for women and for men.
Ideally, your resume will have information on how to contact you, including your personal number and email address. However, it doesn’t hurt to bring business cards. Business cards are easy to hold and to hand-out and will reinforce the information on your resume.
A Professional Pen
You should bring a pen with you if you need to take any notes or sign any documents. While you don’t want to be hunched over writing the entire interview, you never know if you need to quickly jot something down.
A Professional Notebook
Similarly, you want to jot down any thoughts, ideas, or questions on a professional notebook. Bringing a notebook with you to the interview can save you from any embarrassment if you do need to write something down. In addition, having a notebook with you is a great way to have your list of questions and notes already written down for you. Take notes before the interview on what you would like to ask the interviewer and any findings you may have found that you would like to bring up.
Over The Counter Medication
A surprise to be sure, but you should always carry some over the counter medication with you. Whether it’s to relieve a headache or a stomachache, you should be prepared by bringing some with you. If you do get a headache or stomachache, you should inconspicuously take some before meeting with the interviewer.
Breath Mints or Gum
You’ll want to make sure that your breath is fresh and clean before meeting with interviewer. Nothing can kill the mood of the interview faster than bad breath. Be sure to use a breath mint or gum before meeting with the interviewer. You should dispose of the breath mint or gum before meeting with the interviewer.
Perfume or Cologne
Keeping on the same theme, not only should your breath be fresh and clean, but you will want to make sure that you smell good. Keeping a small bottle of perfume or cologne in your car or your bag can help you smell fresh before meeting with the interviewer. A few spritzes is perfect. You don’t want to douse yourself in perfume or cologne.
Keeping the theme of hygiene going, you should bring a travel sized deodorant with you. Use the deodorant quickly and inconspicuously before meeting with the interviewer.
You may be asked to show government identification, either to enter the building or when speaking to reception. Bring two forms of identification with you. While it may not be asked or needed, it is better to bring along.
A List of References
While most interviewers won’t ask for a list of references, some may. You should compile a list of professional and personal references beforehand. These references should be people that you trust and have worked with. In addition, you should confirm with these individuals that they would be open to having you use them for a reference. Never assume that anyone would be willing to be a reference. It is more professional and more polite to ask beforehand.
Directions On How To Get To The Interview
In this age of Google and Apple maps, it’s easy to assume that the directions will be available when you need it. However, you should always do your homework beforehand and input the address in your map service of choice. Make sure you know how to get there and what your travel plans are. If you have trouble finding the location, it is much better to ask a few days before the day of the interview.
Questions For The Interviewer
Preparation is the name of the game here. Before your interview, jot down a list of questions that you would like to ask the interviewer. These should be common, as well as pointed, job specific questions. By preparing your questions before the interview, you avoid the embarrassment of not having any questions available.
The Name of The Interviewer’s
Before your interview, review the list of interviewers’ you will be meeting with. Feel free to check-out their LinkedIn profiles and put a “name to a face”. This will help you feel more comfortable and allow you to prepare your questions for your specific audience.
Work Samples and/or Professional Work
If you’re interviewing for a more creative position, you should bring work and professional samples with you. These samples can be used to showcase your previous work and shows the interviewer that you’re prepared for the interview.
14 Things Not To Take To An Interview
We’ve discussed previously things you should take with you to an interview. An in-person interview is your chance and opportunity to land your dream job. Preparedness is the name of the game and you should ensure that you’re ready for the interview beforehand.
However, there are a number of things you should not bring with you to the interview. Bringing along these items make you look not only unprofessional, but also unprepared and not ready. As an in-person interview is your opportunity to make a great first impression, you should review the following list on what not to take to an interview to help you.
Let’s start with the item everyone always wonders about, your phone. While it is okay to bring your phone with you to an interview, you should set it to silent or do not disturb mode. This way, you won’t have to worry about getting phone calls, texts, or other notifications while you’re speaking with the interviewer.
Similarly, you will want to put your smartwatch on silent mode. Perhaps the only thing worse than a ringing phone is a smartwatch vibrating with notifications. During an interview, you want to give the interviewer your undivided attention. Anything that can distract you from the interview should be turned off or silenced.
Coffee or Food
Coffee, water, or food should never be brought into an interview. If the interviewer offers you something to drink, you can politely accept. However, you should never bring in food or drink from outside the office.
Bringing in food is extremely unprofessional and almost guarantees that you won’t be selected for the position. While a drink is less bad, it can accidentally be spilt and cause a mess. Best to avoid that possibility by not bringing anything to drink with you.
Luggage or Multiple Bags
If you are flying into the interview, you should leave your bags or luggage with the front desk. Bringing in those bags with you may take up valuable real estate and leave the room feeling cramped.
Headphones or Earbuds
We actually recommend listening to music to help you calm down before your interview. However, you should turn off your music and remove your headphones or earbuds before entering the building. Headphones can be distracting and look unprofessional before an interview, so stow them away in your bag.
Too Much Perfume or Cologne
In our article discussing things to bring to an interview, we mentioned bringing cologne or perfume. However, our caveat was that you show only use a mild amount. Don’t douse yourself in cologne or perfume, which can be overwhelming.
A Parent, Spouse, Child, or Friend
A major faux pas at an interview is to bring anyone along with you. The company and the interviewer are interviewing YOU, not your parents, not your spouse, not your kids, and not your friends. Bringing anyone else along shows that you are unprofessional and cannot handle the interview independently.
An interview is meant to showcase your best image, you are trying to make a great first impression. Just as you take the time to review and correct your resume until it’s perfect, so-too should you focus on your appearance. Cut and clean your hair and beard. Wear appropriate, business specific clothing, and polish your shoes.
A Hat or Cap
Never wear a hat or cap to an interview. Unless needed for medical or religious reasons, you should remove anything from your head before entering the building.
Gum or Breath Mints
We also previously discussed about how you should bring gum or breath mints to your interview. These should be used before your interview to ensure you have a clean, fresh breath. Before beginning the interview, make sure you discard of the breath mint or gum.
Competitor Products or Material
Don’t ever bring in a competitor’s product or material when interviewing for an open position. It will be considered rude and naïve. You should try to use the company’s product when interviewing there, if possible.
If you took a taxi or the subway or the bus to the interview, you may have read a book on the way. While that is certainly admirable, you should put the reading material away before the interview begins.
If you’re coming to the interview after class or getting some work done, put your laptop away in your bag. Never leave the laptop out and especially don’t leave it out on the table where you will be interviewing.
Follow our guide on what to bring with you to an interview. It is vital that you bring certain items with you and looks even worse to walk into an interview empty handed.