Imagine this: You have finally landed an interview for your dream job. You have prepared your resume, practiced your answers, and dressed to impress. But as you walk into the interview room, you realize that you have forgotten something essential. Something that could make or break your chances of getting hired.
What is it? What are the important things that you absolutely must bring to a job interview?
In this article, we will reveal the items that every job seeker should have in their interview kit. These items will help you showcase your skills, personality, and professionalism, and give you an edge over your competitors.
Whether you are applying for an entry-level position or a senior role, these items will help you ace any interview and land your dream job.
Table of contents
- What to Bring to a Job Interview
- What to Bring to an In-Person Job Interview
- What to Bring to a Virtual Job Interview
- Essential Items for Any Job Interview
- Things to Avoid Bringing to a Job Interview
What to Bring to a Job Interview
Preparing for a job interview can be stressful, but having a checklist of everything you need to bring can make it easier. This way, you can avoid leaving something important behind and focus on making a good impression. You can also use a checklist before the interview day to make sure you have everything ready.
What to Bring to an In-Person Job Interview
Your outfit is a key part of your interview, but so is bringing the right stuff. Here’s what you should bring to an in-person interview.
#1. Your Resume
It may not happen often, but you may need to look at your resume during the interview. It could be that the interviewer doesn’t have their copy of it or you need to check something on it.
While you could access the digital version on your phone, you never know when a weak signal might stop that. And, even if you can get to it, reading your resume on your phone may not be very convenient.
Keep a paper copy of your resume with you, just in case. And, while you’re at it, print out several copies on good paper that isn’t dirty or wrinkled.
This way, if the interviewer asks you for one, you’ll show you’re ready and went the extra mile to get it printed, meaning you really want the job.
Before you go to the interview, you should plan how to get there. You can use your phone’s GPS, but it’s also a good idea to have a backup option. You can print out the directions or save them to your phone’s gallery. This way, you won’t get lost if your phone loses signal or battery. Paper directions can be a lifesaver in case of an emergency.
You should also try to visit the interview location in advance if you can. This will help you avoid any unexpected delays, such as traffic or construction. You will also know where to park and where to find the building.
You should also have alternative routes and modes of transportation in case something goes wrong with your first choice.
#3. A Professional-Looking Bag
When you go to the interview, you should bring a professional-looking bag with you. This will make you look more organized and polished than carrying multiple items.
The bag doesn’t have to be big, just big enough to fit what you need. You can either buy a bag or borrow one from someone you know. You can also use a backpack, as long as it’s clean and in good condition.
#4. Breath Mints
You want to have fresh breath when you talk to the interviewer. You can bring a small pack of mints or a small bottle of mouthwash. Just make sure the bottle is sealed and secure.
Don’t chew gum, as you might forget to spit it out before the interview. You can also bring some floss in case you eat something beforehand.
#5. Your ID
Some places have strict security measures and require visitors to show their ID. You should have your ID ready to prove that you have an appointment.
#6. Emergency Items
You never know what might happen, so it’s better to be prepared. You can bring some Band-Aids, stain remover, and deodorant for any minor accidents or mishaps.
This depends on how far you have to walk and what the weather is like. You might want to bring your interview shoes in your bag and wear something more comfortable or suitable for the journey. You can change your shoes when you get to the interview site.
#8. Water and a Snack
You might get thirsty or hungry during or after the interview. You should bring a water bottle and a snack with you.
Make sure the water bottle is closed and stored in your bag when not in use. You don’t want to spill water on yourself or the interviewer. You can have a snack after the interview, especially if it takes longer than expected.
What to Bring to a Virtual Job Interview
You should get ready for your virtual interview as if you were going to a physical meeting. Here are some things you should have with you when you interview from your home or any other location.
#1. Your Printed Resume
You don’t need to print many copies of your resume for a virtual interview, but you should have at least one for yourself. This is because you might need to refer to your resume during the interview, and switching tabs on your screen might look unprofessional.
Also, you might not be able to access your resume online if your device malfunctions or the internet goes down. In that case, having a paper copy of your resume will be very helpful.
#2. A Device with Full Battery (and Backup)
You should make sure your device has a full battery before your virtual interview, even if you can connect it to a power source. You should also have a spare battery or a power bank with you, just in case.
#3. The Latest Software
You should check that your device is updated and has the necessary hardware and software for the platform you will use for the interview. You should also test everything before the interview, so you don’t waste time or encounter problems when you log in.
#4. A Plan B
Your virtual interview depends on your connection quality. If you are doing your interview from a quiet and distraction-free place, usually your home, you should have a backup plan in case the power or the internet fails.
You can try to do your interview from your car if you have to. You will need to explain your situation to the interviewer, but they might appreciate your flexibility and resourcefulness.
However, you can also consider other places, like a friend’s house or a library, but only if they are quiet enough for the interview. If you can’t find a suitable place, you might have to ask for another time.
Essential Items for Any Job Interview
You should bring some items with you to any job interview, whether it’s face-to-face or online. Here are some things you should have with you when you meet your potential employer.
#1. Pens and paper
You might need to write down some important information or follow-up questions during the interview. You might also need to note down the name and email of the interviewer for sending a thank you note later.
Hence, you should bring a pen and a notepad with you, and maybe a pencil as a backup.
You might be nervous during the interview, and that’s normal. You can calm yourself by being prepared.
Hence, you should have the name and contact information of the person or people you’re meeting with. This will help you remember who they are and address them correctly.
You should do some research on the company and the people you’re interviewing with before the interview. This will help you learn more about the company, its mission, and how you can fit in.
You should keep your research with you during the interview, so you can use it to answer questions and ask some of your own.
You will have a chance to ask questions at the end of the interview. You should have some questions ready beforehand, and they should be relevant and insightful.
Also, you can come up with some questions during the interview, based on what you hear. Asking questions shows that you are interested and engaged in the role.
You can show your skills and abilities by providing examples of your work. You can have a portfolio online or on paper, depending on the type of work you do.
A portfolio can help you stand out from other candidates and convince the employer that you are the right person for the job.
You don’t want to sound like you memorized your answers, but you should have some idea of what to say to common interview questions. You should practice your answers before the interview, and make sure they are clear and concise.
Things to Avoid Bringing to a Job Interview
You already know what to bring to a job interview, but there are also some things you should leave behind.
Here are some items that you should not bring to a job interview, whether it’s online or in person.
#1. Your phone
You don’t want your phone to ring or beep during the interview. You should turn it off or put it on silent mode. The only exception is if you have a phone interview, in which case you need your phone to communicate.
#2. Earbuds or headphones
You may need headphones for a virtual interview, and that’s OK. Employers usually don’t mind that.
But, if you have an in-person interview, you should not wear earbuds or headphones. They are unnecessary and distracting when you’re meeting face-to-face.
#3. Perfume, cologne, or aftershave
You should not wear too much of these products for an interview. They might bother your interviewer, especially if they have allergies. You don’t want them to sneeze or cough while talking to you.
You should not eat during an interview unless it’s a lunch interview. A small snack in your bag is fine, but a whole lunch is not. It might smell, spill, or take up too much space in your bag.
You should eat before or after your interview, not during.
#5. Recording devices
You should not try to record your actual interview, even if you do it for practice or feedback. You need to get permission from everyone involved to record any conversation.
In some states, you need to get consent from both parties. In other states, you only need consent from one party.
But, either way, your interviewer might not like it if you record the conversation without telling them.
You should not bring your pet to an in-person interview unless it’s a service animal. The same goes for a virtual interview.
Even if you’re at home, your pet might interrupt or distract you or the interviewer. Your pet might be cute, but it’s not appropriate for an interview.
Technically yes, but consider this. The interviewer will likely hear your phone buzzing during the interview. Once or twice isn’t a big deal, but if it’s going off repeatedly, the interviewer might worry there’s an emergency. Worse, you might think there’s an emergency. Better to set it to silent or completely off.
Yes, it’s always a good idea to bring a copy of your resume to an interview. Even though the interviewer may have already seen your resume, having a hard copy with you shows that you’re prepared and professional.
In-person interviews typically last between 45 and 90 minutes, depending on the interviewer and if the applicant needs to perform tasks or give a presentation. In some cases, you may ask interviewees to undertake tasks to prove their ability and capability for the role.
Start with a brief introduction, and include your name, current role, and expertise. Highlight your unique value proposition, emphasizing your key skills, experiences, and achievements. Convey your passion for the industry and end with a strong closing statement that leaves a lasting impression.
You can say something along the lines of, “I haven’t dealt with a situation like that before, but I would start by asking these questions…” You could also try something like, “That concept or situation is new to me. I’ll have to look into it a bit more.” Never brush off the question or start rambling.
When you go to a job interview, you want to impress the employer with your skills and personality. To do that, you need to prepare well and bring some important items with you to the job interview. You also need to avoid bringing some items that might cause problems or distractions.
By bringing the right items and leaving the wrong ones, you can improve your chances of getting the job.
- Theforage.com – What to Bring to a Job Interview in 2023
- Forbes.com – What To Bring To A Job Interview: 5 Items You Should Never Forget