What to Bring to a Job Interview

 

When preparing for a job interview, you may wonder if you have to bring anything with you and, if so, what you should bring. Generally, it’s a good idea to bring a copy of your most recent resume, and many interviewers will ask you to do just that. And if you’re applying for a security job or a job with the government, it’s a good idea to bring some form of identification with you, like your driver’s license. But should you bring anything else?

Here are some ideas insofar as what you should bring to a job interview.

Directions

Nowadays, everyone has a GPS on their phone, but in some situations even a GPS can’t help. If the interviewer told you something specific, like “my office is somewhat hidden. Look for the corner door with the potted plant,” then you should definitely make a note of this and bring it along. The more directions you have, and the more confident you are in where you’re going, the less likely you are to be late and make a bad first impression.

The Right Wardrobe

You may think that in almost all cases, men should wear business suits to an interview, complete with a tie. And that women should dress similarly, in a professional suit or dress, with high heels to match. However, a better idea is to ask the hiring manager for advice on what to wear, particularly if the company is a startup or has a more laid-back company culture. In these situations, overdressing can make you seem pretentious and actually work against you.

No matter what, always make sure your hair and nails and both neat and trimmed. Skip whatever is in fashion right now and stick to what makes you look confident, professional, and neat.

A Notepad and Pens

You may think you can keep it all straight in your head, but it is always a good idea to bring a notepad and pens with you to the interview. You may think of a great question to ask the interviewer but forget it by the time it’s your turn to ask the questions. You may also want to take notes during the interview, such as the interviewer’s name, to save yourself potential embarrassment later. Also, you don’t want to rely on a pen that may not work, so bring a few.

Your Portfolio

Bringing a portfolio of samples of your work with you is a good idea for some interviews and a requirement for others, particularly those in creative industries. For instance, if you’re applying for a graphic designer position, why not wow the interviewer with samples of your best work? You can also offer to send the interviewer a digital copy of your portfolio by email after the interview.

Business Cards

If you have a business card, you can certainly provide the interviewer with one of these as well. In addition to your name and title, your business card should provide the interviewer with several methods of contacting you, including your phone number and email address.

A List of References

You know that part of your resume where you put “references furnished upon request”? This may, in fact, be the moment the interviewer requests them. Be sure to bring a list of references with you to the interview, and include both personal and professional references; two of each should suffice.

A Quick Note on What Not to Bring to an Interview

What you don’t bring to an interview is just as important as what you need to bring. Here are some tips on what to leave out of the interview room.

Gum

It goes without saying that is unprofessional to chew gum during an interview. Eat and drink things before the interview that won’t negatively impact your breath, like garlic or coffee would. Else, be sure to brush your teeth before you go in, and keep drinks to a minimum to reduce the need for bathroom breaks.

Your Phone

It may be tempting to scroll through your phone while you’re waiting in the lobby, but better to pocket it after setting it to “silent” (not vibrate). Making polite small talk with the receptionist is the smarter choice. If possible, leave your phone in the car until after the interview is over to prevent any potential pitfalls.

Your Mother

Studies show that nearly 10 percent of job applicants bring their mothers with them on their job interviews. If you need a ride, that’s one thing, but do not have your mother accompany you to the interview – even if she knows the interviewer personally. This is your time to shine and to show the interviewer what you can do on your own, free from outside influences.