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Preparing for an in-person interview can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time. Most people often focus on what to wear and how to answer the questions. But one important thing that most of us forget is what we should bring to an in-person interview.
Here’s the thing: what you bring to an interview says a lot about you as a candidate. In fact, most career experts agree that the items should be a physical representation of your professional brand. They also show that you are prepared for the interview.
So, what should you bring to an in-person interview? Here’s a list of items that will help you make a great impression. Let’s dive in!
Why You Should Bring Things With You To The Interview
Before we get into what you should bring, let’s first talk about why it’s important to take key items with you to the interview in the first place. Besides your A-game and looking bright for an interview, here are several reasons why this is a good idea:
- Showing That You’re Prepared
One of the main reasons why you should bring supporting materials with you to an interview is that it shows that you’re prepared. This is especially important if you’re interviewing for a job that requires great attention to detail.
By bringing things like a portfolio or work samples, you’re showing that you’re the type of candidate who is prepared and takes their job seriously. And this is the kind of candidate that most employers are looking for.
In fact, approximately 80% of all hiring managers agree that this is one of the key qualities most employers are looking for.
Bringing supporting items with you also sends a signal that you are taking the interview process seriously and are excited about the opportunity to interview with the company.
- Make a Good Impression
Bringing supporting materials with you to the interview can help you make a good impression. First impressions are extremely important, and you want to make sure that you leave a lasting impression.
Here’s a sobering fact: on average, hiring managers only spend about 12 minutes interviewing each candidate. That’s not a lot of time to make a good impression! You need to find a way of impressing the hiring manager. One way to do this is by bringing things with you that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. This shows that you are professional and have what it takes to do the job.
It also shows the interviewer that you are a serious candidate who is invested in the outcome of the interview.
- Stand Out From The Competition
In today’s job market, it’s more important than ever to stand out from the competition. Statistics show that about 60% of job seekers compete against at least ten other candidates for the same position. This means that for every job opening, there are an average of 11 candidates vying for the same position.
With such stiff competition, it’s important to do whatever you can to stand out from the rest of the candidates. One way to do this is by bringing supporting materials with you to the interview. This shows that you are a go-getter who is not afraid to take the extra step to prepare for important events.
- Gives you Comfortability and Confidence
Lastly, bringing supporting materials will give you more confidence and comfort as you go into the interview. Interviewing for a job is often nerve-wracking, and anything you can do to make yourself feel more comfortable is a good idea.
Knowing that you have everything you need to ace the interview will boost your confidence and positively impact the interview outcome. Therefore, by bringing things with you that are relevant to the job, you will have a better understanding of the role you’re interviewing for and be able to answer questions more confidently.
8 Essential Things to bring to an in-person job interview
In-person job interviews are a great opportunity to show a potential employer what kind of employee you would be. And, what you bring with you to an in-person job interview says a lot about your work ethic and how seriously you take the opportunity to interview with the company.
Here are 8 essential things you should always bring with you to an in-person job interview:
1. Copies Of Your Resume
This is a no-brainer! You should always bring at least five copies of your resume with you to an interview, just in case the interviewer(s) misplaced theirs or if you end up meeting with more than one person.
Presentation is key here, so be sure to print your resume on nice paper (preferably resume paper). You also want your resume to look professional and stand out from the rest. Pack them nicely in a professional folio or a nice folder, so they’re easy to grab when you need them.
This creates a good first impression and shows that you’re prepared. Plus, it will definitely wow the interviewer and give you some points.
2. Notebook and Pen
A small notebook and pen are always a good idea to bring to an interview. You never know when you’ll need to take notes, jot down a question, or remember something important.
Plus, it shows that you’re organized and prepared. Get something presentable like a small journal or a leather notebook. Something that will make you look professional and show you mean business. This will definitely impress the interviewer.
3. A List Of References
Most employers will ask for a list of references at the end of the interview, so it’s best to be prepared and have one ready. It should include the names, titles, companies, and contact information (phone number and email) for three to five people who can attest to your qualifications for the job.
If you’re a recent graduate or don’t have a lot of work experience, you can include professors, coaches, or other adults who can speak to your character and work ethic. Be sure to ask them beforehand if they’re comfortable being a reference for you and give them a heads up that an employer may be contacting them.
A recent study showed that 70% of employers check references, so make sure you choose your references wisely. They should be people who can vouch for your qualifications and recommend you for the job
4. A Portfolio or Samples Of Your Work
If you’re in a creative field, it’s always a good idea to bring a portfolio of your work with you to an interview. This way, you can showcase your skills and talents and give the interviewer a better sense of your work.
Yes, your resume may be impressive but are you really as good as you say you are? Bring a folder with pieces of your work that you can show off! For a financial analyst, printing out photos of the types of financial models you can build can show your competence and make you stand out. If you’re a web designer, bring a laptop to show off some of your previous work.
Most hiring managers agree that visual examples of your work are helpful in the interview process. It gives them a better sense of your skills and how you would be able to contribute to the company.
5. List of Questions
Preparing a list of questions shows that you’re interested in the company and the position. Asking questions also allows you to gather more information about the job and the company to see if it’s a good fit for you.
Some good questions to ask include:
- What are the biggest challenges in this role?
- What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this position?
- What is the development path for this position?
- What are some projects I would be working on?
- Are there any growth opportunities?
It’s good to have these questions beforehand so you don’t have to fidget with your paper and look lost during the interview. This will also make a great impression on the interviewer, and they’ll be able to see that you’re genuinely interested in the position.
6. A Print Out Of The Job Posting
You might think that you know everything there is to know about the job, but it never hurts to have a physical copy of the job posting. This way, you can refer to it during the interview and remind yourself of the qualifications they’re looking for.
Plus, if the interviewer asks you why you’re interested in the position, you can always point to specific requirements in the job posting that match your skills and experience.
7. Directions, Contacts, And Info On How To Get To The Interview
First impressions are everything, so you want to ensure you’re not late for your interview. Plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early, so you have time to find parking, use the restroom, and collect your thoughts.
Make sure you have all the information you need before the day of the interview. This includes the name and contact information of the person interviewing you, the address of the company, and the best way to get there.
You can also do a dry run of the commute before the interview day, so you know exactly how long it will take and you’re not scrambling the day of.
8. Breath Mints or Floss
You want to make sure your breath is fresh before you go into the interview, so be sure to bring some breath mints or gum with you.
You should also take a moment to floss before the interview. This will help remove any food that’s stuck in your teeth and make sure your smile is looking its best. It will also give you a confidence boost which doesn’t hurt.
What Should You Not Bring To A Job Interview?
There are a few things you should avoid bringing to a job interview:
Competitor’s Products – Never take competitors’ products with you to the interview. This shows that you’re not loyal to the company.
Your Phone – You should avoid using your phone during the interview, as it shows that you’re not fully present and focused on the conversation. If you must have your phone, be sure to turn it off or put it on silent, so you’re not interrupted.
Pets – Unless the job you’re interviewing for is specifically for a pet-related business. You should avoid bringing pets with you. This can be seen as unprofessional, and it may not be allowed in the building.
Gifts – While it’s always nice to give a gift, you should avoid giving gifts to your interviewer. This could be seen as bribery, and it may make the interviewer feel uncomfortable.
Are You Ready For Your Interview?
Bringing the right items to your job interview can help you make a great impression on the interviewer. If you’re unsure what to bring, err on the side of caution and bring less rather than more. Overall, the most important thing is to be prepared for the interview and be yourself.
You’ve got all it takes and the interview is just a chance for the hiring manager to know you better.