What to bring to a job interview | Top 5 MUST-HAVE things

what to bring to a job interview

A recent study suggests that over 118 people send in applications for a single job opening on average. However, only 20% of the total number of these applicants receive an invitation for an interview.

So, if you just received an invitation for an interview, don’t sleep on it. An interview is a chance to prove to your potential employee that you are the right person for the job.

What you bring to a job interview will surely convince them and inform their decision about you and the position. It tells how ready you are to fit into the organization and how qualified you are. To make an excellent first impression, read through this article on what to bring to a job interview. You should check your bag before leaving for the interview and ensure the list below is complete.

What is a Job Interview?

Vacancies are often posted on different media outlets. They could also be demanded through referrals and recruitment agencies.

Whichever way they come, interested applicants are required to send in applications. For every job, there is a set of eligibility criteria to meet up with before sending in the applications. Job interviews are a way of ensuring you are the right person for the job.

When applications are sent in, software or human resource officers scan and read through them. Those who are either not qualified or less qualified are shoved aside. While others are invited to an interview.

By application, these individuals are considered eligible for the role. But, there is more to a job role than what is written on paper. Also, employers are looking for the best fit. Employers do a full assessment during an interview to choose the best candidate.

In simpler terms, a job interview is a chance for the employer to get to know the applicant beyond their resume, evaluate their suitability for the role, and gauge their cultural fit.

To an applicant, a job interview is an opportunity to learn more about the company, clarify expectations, and showcase their qualifications and personality in a more personal setting.

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What to bring to a job interview | 5 + Important Items

What you bring to a job interview says a lot about your interest and suitability for the job role. Most employers expect you to come to an interview with some sort of readiness for the job role.

So, if you show up in your well-ironed shirt and trousers, black corporate shoes, and cool tie without the items below, you may not be the right person for the position.

In recent times, interviews can be conducted in two major ways – in person and virtual interview.

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What to bring to an In-person Job Interview?

Ensure you bring these items below when going to an in-person interview. By in-person job interview, means you are going to the organization, company, or chosen location to meet with the human resource personnel.

#1. Multiple copies of your Resume

Pack at least 3-5 copies of your resume, neatly printed on high-quality paper. Each copy of your resume must reflect your relevant skills and expertise for the specific job role you’re interviewing for.

If there are going to be multiple interviewers, they can have a copy of your resume at the same time. During the interview, both you and the interviewer can easily refer to specific sections of your resume, making the conversation flow smoothly and efficiently. Also, a tangible resume adds a sense of authority and presence compared to relying solely on a digital form. It reinforces your physical presence in the interview room.

#2. A Pen and Paper

Jotting down key points, company lingo, and follow-up questions boosts your confidence and makes a positive impression on the interviewer. 

This demonstrates attentiveness and helps you remember details later. Physically writing things down can help you stay focused and avoid mental clutter. Don’t just bring any paper, choose a professional notepad and pen that complement your interview attire.

#3. Company research

Do your homework! Research the company’s mission, values, recent projects, and key players. This demonstrates your genuine interest and initiative.

You can impress the interviewer by referencing the company’s latest project or core values, rather than appearing as a complete novice about what the company does.

#4. Your Portfolio

Bring your portfolio to a job interview to increase your chances of landing the role. A portfolio is a collection of your best work, achievements, and skills showcased in a visually appealing and organized way.

If you are applying to a visually appealing role like a graphic designer, art teacher, or even writer, a portfolio of your previous works shows your level of commitment to what you do. They make interviews more interactive. The interviewer can ask specific questions about your work, leading to a richer conversation and showcasing your communication skills.

#5. References and Contact Information

Bringing your references and contact information is a strategic move and can show some level of preparedness. Knowing you have strong references who can vouch for your skills and work ethic can bolster the interviewer’s confidence in your candidacy.

This also eliminates the series of follow-up requests if the interviewer decides to check references during or after the interview. As a general rule of thumb, don’t force your references on the interviewer if they haven’t requested them. Wait for the right moment, usually towards the end of the interview.

#6. List of questions for your Interviewer

Asking insightful questions shows you’re not just there for the job offer; you’re genuinely interested in the company, the role, and the team culture. This is a vital thing to bring along to a job interview – in person and virtual.

Well-formulated questions demonstrate your ability to think critically and analyze the information presented. It also reveals your initiative and eagerness to learn more. Ensure you don’t ask generic questions that are readily available on the internet.

For instance, while interviewing for a job role in a fashion company, it is outright laziness and lackadaisical to ask what products the company produces. During your research, you can readily find answers to such questions on their web page or online. So, don’t ask them.

Read Also: 20 Frequently Asked Administrative Officer Interview Questions

What to bring to a virtual Job Interview?

Virtual job interviews are as serious as in-person interviews. What you bring to virtual job interviews also shows a lot about your level of preparedness and suitability for the job role. Imagine interviewing for a customer support role virtually with an internet that is always going off!

You simply do not have what it takes to be available to customers 24/7. So, for a virtual job interview, bring the following items:

#1. Reliable internet connection

Virtual interviews are typically held online through video conferencing platforms. The company is likely to communicate this information before the interview date. Ensure your internet is reliable and working efficiently.

#2. Fully Charged Device

You don’t want your device – phone or laptop running out of battery during an interview. Ensure they are fully charged. If you live in a location with an unreliable power supply, provide alternatives for the interview.

You can get a UPS to support you in case the power supply goes out. Alternatively, you can choose to work in a quiet space with a steady power supply during the interview.

#3. Headphones with a microphone

Clear audio is crucial. Headphones minimize background noise and ensure uninterrupted communication. This way, you eliminate unnecessary distractions during your interview duration.

#4. Professional Attire

Do not show up in shorts and singlets for a job interview simply because it is virtual. Even though it’s virtual, dress as you would for an in-person interview. Opt for business casual or formal wear to project professionalism.

Other Essential items to bring to a virtual job interview include:

  • Copies of your resume and cover letter
  • Notepad and pen
  • List of questions for the interviewer
  • Company research
  • Bottle of water and mints
  • Neutral background
  • Good lighting
  • Comfortable chair and desk

What to bring to a job interview as a teenager

What you bring to a job interview as a teenager is the same as an adult. Even for a teen job, aim for clean, polished attire that’s appropriate for the workplace. No ripped jeans, graphic tees, or overly revealing clothing.

To pass a great first impression, ensure you wear clean hair, well-groomed nails, and minimal fragrance. Most teenagers are addicted to their phones. Ensure you are not fumbling with your phone during the job interview. Job interviews must be interactive. So, keep your phones in your pockets.

Also, show respect for the interviewer’s time by arriving a few minutes before the scheduled appointment. Don’t forget to bring along the items listed in this article – virtual and in-person interviews; depending on what interview you will be having.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I bring my CV to an interview?

Yes, bring 3-5 copies of your resume to an in-person interview.

How long do interviews last?

In-person interviews typically last between 45 and 90 minutes while virtual interviews last an average of 60 minutes.

What should I wear to a Job Interview? 

Dress professionally and conservatively. Aim for clean lines, muted colors, and comfortable fabrics. When in doubt, overdress rather than underdress.

What should I do after the interview?

Send a thank-you email within 24 hours, reiterating your interest and key qualifications.

What questions should I ask in a Job interview? 

Prepare questions about the day-to-day work, company culture, and growth opportunities. Avoid asking generic questions.


An invitation to interview shows you are highly qualified for a job role. There are many others like you. What you bring to a job interview can show whether you are most qualified for the role or not.

If you have an important interview to attend soon, read this piece and ensure you have everything on this list on what to bring to a job interview, immediately.