Most of the interview advice I give is about how to prepare for an interview (mentally). I still think that preparation is going to be the thing that gets you across the finish line. However, there are also actual things you might want to bring along to prepare you for your time in the office and with your interviewers. This post is about exactly that – what to bring with you to a job interview.
Most of these are “nice to haves” not “need to haves” but the more prepared you are for any situation the better you’ll feel. So pack that bag for your interview with these 5 things!
- Copies of your resume and any other samples of your work: This is a need to have. Bring a few extra copies of your resume on nice, thick, paper neatly tucked away in a folder. Of course a wrinkle or two isn’t the end of the world, but handing over a nice, crisp resume is part of your “presentation”. Resumes should always be in hard copy but samples of your work can be brought digitally (such as on an iPad or tablet). However, make sure you have everything cued up and ready to go so you’re not browsing around your device as your interviewer waits.
- A notebook: Bring a notebook with you so you can take notes from your conversation, write down any contact information, etc. Of course, you want to be focused on the conversation and not rigorously taking notes the whole time but it is good to have a notebook handy and jot things down when appropriate.
- Research and notes from your prep: Since we’ve already established that you’re bringing a notebook, use the one you used to do your research. That way you can always flip back to notes on the company or points you want to hit. It’s also a good idea to think of questions for your interviewer ahead of time and have them handy in case you draw a blank.
- A snack, and a mint: Okay, I know you’re going to think this is weird, but generally the days I’ve had interviews I was running around like a crazy person to fit them in. That often means you’re rushing and have maybe even skipped lunch. While I don’t advise eating during an interview (please, don’t!) you may need to quickly eat a few almonds or a granola bar on the go before you step into the lobby. The last thing you want is a growling stomach during the interview so have a small snack on you just in case. In terms of the mint, you may want to pop one in right before you go into the building. It’s more of a safety net so you can feel confident and not self-conscious.
- A bottle of water: Bring a bottle of water with you and don’t worry about having it out during your interview. You may be nervous and your mouth may get dry. It’s totally okay to have a few sips of water if that happens. If you are going through multiple interviews in one day, you are definitely going to need that water!
Keep these items in a clean and organized (professional-looking) bag for easy access. You don’t want to be shuffling through all your crap (like I do for my keys every night) with your interviewer waiting. Of course in addition to these 5 things, also bring your best outfit, a confident attitude, and your A game to your interview – you’ll have all of your bases covered!