What should I bring to my interview?

It’s the day of the interview. You’ve dressed to impress and armed with all the answers you’ll need. But what should you bring in your purse of briefcase to show that you’re prepared for the job?

It’s a fine line to tread between preparedness and looking like you’re literally ready to move in. The following list of essentials may be helpful in making you feel prepared and confident, even if they just stay in your car while you have your interview.

Directions and contact information  

You’ll want this information in advance, so you aren’t caught fumbling on the day of the interview. Nothing says lack of preparation like, “where are you guys again?” thirty minutes before your meeting.

A folder for your documents 

Having each of your documents neatly tucked into pockets says, “I am organized” and “I care about how I present myself and, by extension, this company.” What documents should you bring? Read on.

Copies of your resume 

This is merely a precaution, as your interviewers will most likely have copies for themselves. However, in the event that you spot one interviewer craning over the shoulder of another in an attempt to read your details, you’ll be able to reach over with an extra. Nothing says competence like preparing for the unexpected.

References 

Your interviewer will likely ask for three professional references. You’ll want to prepare the phone numbers and email addresses of each of your references in advance and have them assembled on a page, preferably on the same stationery as your resume. An important note: References should NOT be your friends or family members! They should be people you have worked for or under that can vouch for the quality of your work.

A pen and notepad 

You don’t need to furiously document every word that your interviewer says. That would be weird! However, they may give you some essential details that are worth writing down, and a pen and paper is much more professional than pulling out your phone.

Comfort items 

No, not your childhood blanket. I mean a breath mint (not gum!), a pack of tissues, some lip gloss, a miniature lint roller or anything else that you want to be armed with, just in case. I even like to carry a spare pair of pantyhose because there is a strong likelihood that I’ll put a run in the ones I’m wearing before I make it to the interview seat. That said, don’t feel compelled to carry this stuff around! Leave the bulky stuff in your car.

Questions 

At the end of your interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. Have a couple ready to go, just in case you can’t think of any on the fly. Appropriate questions can include topics such as scope of duty and workplace culture or environment. Inappropriate questions include specific pay and situational scenarios (i.e. What happens if I’m late to work? How many days can I take off before I get in trouble?). Although this advice about discussing pay is sometimes seen as outdated, I believe that it’s a discussion for after you are offered a position.

And there you have it! Is there anything special that you like to bring to your interviews? Leave your advice in the comment section below!

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