You’ve prepared your questions, you’ve held a mock interview, and now you’re probably wondering what the next steps for your interview are. This is a great time to think about what to bring to an interview.
Many interviewers expect you to have an understanding of things you should and shouldn’t bring to your interview, so if you’re not sure, we’ve got the answer for you.
Keep reading for a detailed guide on what to bring to your interview and what to steer clear of. Let’s begin!
- The main things that you should bring to your interview are your resume, your portfolio, a notebook, and a list of questions you’d like to ask the interviewer.
- If you decide to bring physical copies of your resume, make sure you have enough copies for each panel member.
- Bringing a business card with you is a great way to stay in contact with the recruiters.
- If your interview is being held virtually, make sure to avoid any distractions such as loud noises, pets or even phone notifications.
What to Bring to an Interview
If you’re wondering what documents you should bring to an interview, let’s look at some things you should definitely not leave home without.
Physical Resume Copies
If you’re wondering whether you should bring a printed resume to an interview or not, the short answer is yes. Having physical copies of your resume (and even your cover letter) is a great way for the interviewer to follow your experiences and skills throughout the process.
It’s also a good idea to keep around five or more copies of your resume with you. That way each member of your interview panel can have a copy for themselves.
Recruiters will usually not ask you to bring a list of your references; however, it’s always better to show up over-prepared. Have five copies of the list of your references on you and hand them over to the panel with your resume.
This way, you’ll show the interviewers that you have people who can back up your extensive list of experiences.
If you’re attending an interview for an industry like graphic design, fashion, or even photography, it’s always best to bring a physical portfolio with you. Choose some of your favorite works and present them to the panel. You can also create a website for your portfolio, which you can then share with them on the spot.
Business cards may seem too dated for some, but contrary to popular belief, it’s still highly recommended that you hand them out. Even though your contact information can also be found on your resume, a business card is a simpler and easier option, and it shows them that you’re interested in staying in touch.
If you’re wondering what to bring to an engineering interview, a business card is one of the first things on the list, as they’re a quick and easy way to show your job title to the employer instead of having them look through an extensive list of experiences.
If you’ve never visited the area where your interview is going to be held, try to look up the location online on maps to gain a clear understanding of where it is. A good piece of advice is to go to the interview location a day or two beforehand just to make sure you know where it is so you don’t get lost on the day of your interview and end up being late.
Always plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before your actual interview. If traffic becomes too congested and you realize you’ll be late, call the recruiters and let them know.
Notepad & Pen
One of the best ways to stay on track during an interview is to take some notes. That’s why it’s always a good idea to bring a notepad and pen with you. Besides taking notes throughout the interview, you can also write down any questions you might have.
When the recruiter sees you taking notes, that indicates that you’re actively listening. However, you should ask the recruiter whether you can take notes beforehand. If they allow it, you should still try to make eye contact with every member of the panel and not let your notes distract you.
Keep a pack of mints in your bag or pocket to avoid any bad odor, but steer clear of gum at all costs. Gums are quite distracting and are considered pretty unprofessional.
A small mouthwash bottle or a packet of floss is also acceptable; however, make sure to use them well before entering your interview.
List of Questions
One of the best things you can do when it comes to what to bring to an interview for teaching is to ask the interviewer some questions. This is a great way to find out more about the recruiters, the work environment, and the employees.
Not only that, but asking questions is a great way to show the interviewers that you’re interested in the job. Before going to your interview, create a list of questions you want to ask.
This can include:
- What does a typical working day look like?
- What does the company want to achieve in the next five years?
- What would my main responsibilities be?
- What are your main expectations from me?
- What projects are you currently working on?
Some recruiters will ask you to bring a form of identification with you.
That is mainly because:
- They want to confirm your identity. An ID can be helpful for employers to make sure the person from the application is the same one who came to the interview.
- The company has some visitor rules. Security might ask you to show them your ID to check whether someone in the company is waiting for a visitor.
Another thing you should bring to your next interview is a briefcase. A briefcase lets you keep all of your documents and notepads in one place. Besides that, if you decide to keep all of your documents on hand, like resumes, portfolios, business cards, and notepads, you might leave the bad impression that you’re unorganized and messy.
That’s why it’s better to show up with a briefcase, as it will make you seem more professional and collected, which all recruiters want to see.
A great and positive attitude
Last but not least, the main thing you need to bring to your interview is your smile and great attitude. This is a fantastic way to show the interviewer that you are enthusiastic and excited about the opportunity.
To demonstrate a good attitude, you should:
- Nod when the interviewer is talking
- Maintain proper eye contact
- Maintain a good posture
What to Bring to a Virtual Interview
Just like any other live interview, a virtual interview also requires some preparation on your end.
Here’s a checklist for what to bring to your virtual interview:
- Print out your resume. This is a great option if you don’t want to get distracted by constantly opening and closing another tab. Have a copy ready for yourself so you can look at it as a guide for your answers.
- Charge your device fully. The number one thing you should avoid is an uncharged device. Always keep your device at 100% before your interview as you don’t know how long the interview may take and that can definitely drain the battery life.
- Update your device’s software. Before entering your interview call, always make sure that your software is up-to date. The last thing you would want is to turn on your device and check that the automatic update has just started and you need to wait for it to finish.
- Have a pen and notebook ready. It’s always great to have a steady note taking option during your interview so you don’t miss out on any information or questions you would like to ask. However, make sure to let the interviewer know that you’re taking notes so that they don’t think that you’re not paying attention.
- Have a digital portfolio at hand. As previously mentioned, if you’re applying for a creative type of job, always have a digital portfolio of your work at hand that you can present by sharing your screen easily.
- Always have a plan B. If your house is too noisy, consider entering your car for a more quiet option. If that’s not an option, let the recruiters know that it might get a little noisy during the interview.
What Not to Bring to an Interview
Now that we’ve covered what to bring to an interview, let’s look at some things that you should avoid:
Eating food during your interview is considered extremely unprofessional. It’s better to keep a snack at hand and eat it beforehand if you need to. It’s also a good idea to eat a light meal before your interview to prevent cravings from being a distraction.
If you decide to bring your phone with you, always make sure to leave it on “silent” or at least on “do not disturb”. This is a simple way to assure that you won’t get distracted by any calls or text messages.
Another thing to remember is to hide and tuck your earphones or headphones in a place where they can’t be seen. This doesn’t apply if you’re holding a virtual interview and you need the headphones.
Strong Cologne or Perfume
The next thing you can look out for is not being heavy-handed with your cologne or perfume. Strong smells can be distracting, and in the worst-case scenario, someone on your interview panel might be allergic to your scent.
Bringing a recording device might sound like a good idea when you think about having the chance to go back and listen to it. However, it’s definitely not welcomed by many recruiters. First of all, it’s illegal in some places to record anyone without asking them first. And secondly, most recruiters will feel extremely uncomfortable if they know you’re recording them.
As comforting as that little fluff ball is to you, pets shouldn’t attend your interview. Regardless of whether your interview is being held online or live, your pet should not be a distraction. A service animalis completely okay as long as you notify the interviewers beforehand.
To make sure you remember what to bring to an interview, make a checklist of all the things you might need. Remember to add resume copies, your ID, a list of questions to ask the interviewer, and references to your checklist. Make sure to keep a nice, friendly smile on your face, and you are sure to nail your next interview.
We hope that this guide has helped answer all the questions you’ve had about what to bring to an interview. We wish you good luck in your job hunting process!