When getting ready for an upcoming interview, you’ll have a number of things you need to get prepared for the big day. There may be some materials you don’t realize you should bring with you, and other ones that you should leave behind as not to disrupt you. Here is a list of the top six things to bring with you to an interview, as well as six things that are best left at home.
What to Bring With You
1. Copies of Your Resume
This item cannot be stressed enough for those going in for an interview. You must bring several copies of your resume with you. Even if you know ahead of time the number of people you’re going to be meeting with, it’s always better to bring more resumes than you think you need. This way you won’t be stranded if someone asks for a copy of your resume and you’ve run out.
2. Directions to the Office
Before you head to your interview, it’s important to bring written directions to where your meeting is going to be held. Your smartphone or GPS isn’t always reliable, so it’s crucial to have back up directions just in case you need them.
3. Professional Notebook and Pens
During your interview, you may want to take notes or reference research you did before on the potential employer. In this case, you need to bring a professional-looking notebook or folder and pens. This will not only help with staying organized, but will also continue to demonstrate your professionalism.
4. A Portfolio or Work Samples
Depending on what type of job you are interviewing for, you may need to bring in a portfolio of your work or specific samples from a past role. It’s important to ask ahead of time if you need to bring in these materials, or even better, show initiative and offer to bring them so that way you are able to display them in the most presentable way possible.
5. List of References
There’s a very good chance that a potential employer will want to check your references during the hiring process. You can save them time by having that list already prepared when you go in for your interview. Be sure to also get in touch with your references beforehand so they’re aware they may be getting a call from that organization soon.
6. Small, Necessary Items
You never know what the day of your interview may bring, so it’s best to have a few necessary items on hand. Some helpful, small items to bring with you include tissues and mints. You may also want to consider bringing small personal items you may need so you can make any last minute touch-ups before you meet your interviewer.
What to Leave at Home
1. Food and Drinks
It’s best to leave any food or snacks at home when you’re planning on going in for an interview. The same goes for bringing your coffee or water bottle to an interview, which is also very unprofessional. Eat and drink whatever you need to before you’re scheduled to go in for your interview, so that way you won’t feel the need to bring those items with you.
2. Gum or Candy
It should be known that it’s extremely unprofessional to be chewing gum or candy during your interview as well. To avoid the temptation, don’t bring any with you. As mentioned earlier, it’s fine to have a mint so you can keep your breathe fresh, but again, you shouldn’t have one in your mouth when you’re about to head into your interview.
3. Your Phone (Turned On)
In this day and age, of course you’re going to have your phone on you. However, when you have an interview, it’s important to keep your phone turned off (not on silent) through the entirety of your meeting, and even before. Don’t have your phone out and be on it when you’re in the reception area waiting to meet your interviewer. Keeping your phone off will ensure that you won’t be disrupted by a phone call or text. Your messages can wait until you’ve completed your interview.
4. Unprofessional Bags
With the number of things you need to bring with you to an interview, you’ll obviously need something to carry it all in, such as a professional purse, briefcase, or laptop bag. However, this is the only bag that you’ll need for your interview. Avoid bringing multiple bags, shopping bags, or a backpack with you, as you don’t want to have to lug those throughout an office setting.
5. A Distracting Outfit
Choosing an outfit for your interview can be an intimidating task. While it’s important to know what to wear, it’s also important to be aware of what not to wear, as you don’t want your appearance to be distracting to the interviewer in any way. Be sure to avoid wearing any type of hat, distracting jewelry, or extravagant accessories. No matter which type of organization or role you’re interviewing for, keep your interview outfit as professional as possible.
6. Off-Putting Smells
When getting ready for your interview, it’s smart to avoid any off-putting smells such as a strong perfume or cologne. You never know what types of fragrances may be sensitive to your interviewer, so it’s a best practice to not use these when you have to meet with them.
At the end of the day, you don’t want a simple thing like bringing a coffee or getting a phone call to ruin an interview. As you get prepared for this next step in the hiring process, keep a check on the items you should bring with you, as well as those you should leave behind.
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