Imagine you walk into a job interview thinking you’re completely prepared. Then, the interviewer asks for a copy of your resume. Flustered, you realize you don’t have one. You thought they would have it on file with your initial application. You fumble through an apology, and the interviewer seems put off by it. After you leave, you kick yourself for not thinking about that simple thing to bring and whether you’ve just cost yourself the job.
In reality, you probably have. Interviewers are especially attentive to a candidate’s preparedness. If you haven’t put enough thought into what to bring to an interview, it can make you seem like you aren’t a good fit for the company, even if you are perfect on paper.
If you’re unsure of what to bring to interview for a job, keep reading. We’ve compiled a list of everything you need to show up prepared and ready for anything an interviewer might ask!
What to Bring to an Interview
- Pen and Paper - This might seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many job candidates show up without these two essentials. A working pen and a professional notepad will go a long way. You can jot down notes of different things the interviewer goes over, showing them that you’re attentive and forward-thinking. After the interview, you can use these notes to help compose a follow-up email as well. Remember, it’s always good to send a thank-you email to your interviewer!
- Copies of Your Resume - What documents should you bring to an interview? Your resume is number one. Always be prepared with at least three copies of your resume, along with a digital file in case they want you to email it to another department.
- Prepared Questions - Coming into an interview with questions that you’ve thought about beforehand can show the interviewer that you’re prepared and thoughtful. They’re especially useful to have on hand when the interviewer asks you, “Any questions?” and your mind draws a blank. Never say that you don’t have any questions. An interviewer might think that you aren’t taking the process seriously.
- References - Don’t assume that the interviewer has the references you included in your application on hand. If they ask you for a reference, they want you to present them immediately. Having physical copies of your references, along with all of the relevant contact details, will show that you are confident in them and what they will say about you.
- ID, Interviewer Details, Interview Address - Your interview might take place in a secure or shared office building. Security officers might ask for ID to enter the building, so make sure you have a driver’s license or another form of ID on hand. Also, be prepared with your interviewer’s name and department so you can quickly get up to the right space. Further, make sure you have the correct address for the building, so you don’t show up at the wrong place.
- Professional Bag - This might go without saying, but you wouldn’t want to show up to an interview carrying all of these essentials in your hands. But what kind of bag do you bring to an interview? Bring along a professional-looking bag, like a tote bag, briefcase, or portfolio that can neatly contain all of your stuff.
What You Should Avoid Bringing to an Interview
- Negative Attitude - This should be obvious, but you don’t want to show up exuding negativity, especially for a first impression interview. Companies want to see that you’re a good fit for their organization, and negative attitudes rarely get the job done. Smile!
- Food - Never come to an interview with a full meal or groceries, even if you’ve scheduled it during lunchtime. If you must, bring something small like a protein bar that won’t get noticed easily and that you can eat quickly. Never eat or chew gum in front of the interviewer.
- A Loud Phone - The best thing to do is put your phone on silent during your interview. Interruptions like a phone call might make you seem thoughtless and unprofessional. However, don’t turn your phone off. You might need to send a file or bring up something the interviewer asks for. Having to wait for your phone to turn on can test an interviewer’s patience.
- Salary Demands - Unless you’re in the later stages of an interview process where salary is the main topic of conversation, don’t come prepared with salary demands. Interviewers might think you’re jumping the gun, and it’s impolite to talk money right off the bat.
Be Prepared To Ace Your Next Interview
As you can see, there might be some things to bring to an interview that you wouldn’t expect. If you come prepared with all of the above, you’re sure to be a well-rounded, forward-thinking, and thoughtful candidate in the interviewer’s eyes