What to Take to An Interview

When you go for an interview, there are a few things you need to take, and a few others you should.

The Must Haves:

  • Directions to the location – Print out directions the night before an interview and make sure you take them. There’s nothing worse than realizing that you’re running late and your printer just ran out of ink.
  • Copies of your resume – Most of the interviewers you meet with will already have a copy of your resume. On the slight possibility that an interviewer does not have your resume on hand, you will appear very prepared by having one to provide. A more likely situation is when the interviewer has a copy but it is a low quality copy of the original. It’s common for resumes to get copied and recopied each time it’s passed on to another manager to review. If you see the copy of your resume is poor quality at the start of an interview, you may want to provide a clean copy.
  • A list of references – At some point in the hiring process, you will need to provide references. You should prepare this list at the start of your search and have it available. Usually, you will not be asked for references during an interview, but it can make a positive impression if you are prepared should the question come up.
  • A notepad – You will want to write down the name and title of everyone you meet with. Getting a business card is a good idea, since it will have the correct spelling and full contact information. If you can’t the notepad will be invaluable. There may also be details about the opportunity that you want to write down.
  • A pen – A notepad without a pen isn’t very useful.
  • A portfolio – A folder or portfolio is good to have in order to carry the copies of your resume, your references, the notepad and your pen. You can get a portfolio inexpensively at an office supply store, but may want to spend a little more on a high quality leather portfolio.
  • Your notes – It’s a good idea to review your interview prep notes, your resume and information you have gathered on the company just before you go in for the interview.
  • Documents the company requested – Some companies will ask you to bring a completed employment application or other documents.  If they ask for it, they’re going to expect you to have it.

The Should Haves:

  • A watch – You don’t want to run late. Try to be early. Make sure you know you are on time.
  • Your cell phone – If you get lost or end up running late, you will want to be able to contact the hiring manager.
  • Breath mints, a handkerchief and a comb – You don’t want your appearance to throw off your game. Having your hair a little messed up may not hurt the impression you make, but if it throws off your confidence, you’re toast.