Bridge Insights

What to Bring (And Not Bring) With You on an Interview

Jan 21, 2020

A lot of pressure rides on job interviews. Factors like what to wear, how to format your resume, interview responses, interview follow up and much more all factor into the overall success of your meeting.

It’s a lot. And successful interviews require planning and preparation.

Below is a checklist of some of the more commonly overlooked interview items.

Giving this list a quick run-through before your big day can help you be sure you are equipped for success in any scenario.

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Extra Copies of Your Resume

When preparing for an interview you want to be sure to print off a physical copy of your resume for each person you plan to meet with.

It is important to bring at least two extra copies just in case the company decides to have you meet with someone else.

A Folder for Your Documents

Avoid the embarrassment of handing over a crumpled or coffee-stained resume. A professional-looking folder to house your resume and documents will keep them all safe and clean!

A Photo ID

For some interviews, you may have to check in with building security. Depending on how stringent their security measures are, you may be required to show a government-issued ID upon check-in.

Pen and Notepad

During the interview process, there may be some things you want to jot down. Even if at the beginning, you’re not sure what you would possibly write down, once you whip out your pen and paper, employers will take note of your preparedness and commitment to learning more about the position.

Additionally, taking notes in the interview is a great tool to help you craft an effective follow-up thank you letter.

[blockquotes color=”accent” logo=”yes”]On an interview it’s better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it [/blockquotes]

A List of Interview Questions to Ask the Interviewer

Good interviewers will always ask if you have any additional questions at the end of their interview. The worst thing you can do is stare back like a deer in the headlights!

Think of the questions you may have about the position or company beforehand and write them down!

Samples of Previous Work or Proof of Education

Depending on the job you are applying for, some interviewers will want to see tangible examples of your former successes.

Organize a portfolio with all your professional and educational accomplishments to see for yourself – you may be surprised!

Directions to the Interview

For interviews, showing up too early can be just as bad as showing up late. Bring a printed copy of your interview confirmation with you so that you have easy access to the address.

If you can, drive out the route you would take in advance so you know exactly where to go and can account for any traffic in your commute.

Store Your Keys and Phone in a Non-Visible Place

Nothing breaks the flow of an interview more than a cell phone going off. It is best to keep your phone in your car.

If you must bring it with you, put it on silent before entering the building, and keep it in your pocket; this way you can be sure your interview will be free of any disruptions, and you won’t be distracted.

Don’t Forget Anything

Similar to going into an interview, before you leave, be sure you have everything you came in with.

Nothing signals disorganization to a prospective employer quite like leaving something behind!

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What Not to Bring

Being prepared and professional in an interview about what you bring just as much as what you don’t bring.

  • Do not bring in an outside coffee or drink unless it is a water bottle.
    If you do bring in a water bottle, keep it off the table and out of sight. Only grab it when it is needed and appropriate to do so.
  • Do not bring anyone else with you.
    The invitation to interview does not come with a plus one. If someone brought you to the interview, it is best to have them wait in the car.
  • Do not bring your phone if it will distract you while waiting for the interview.

Putting It All Together

If there is something you’re not sure you need, you can always ask your recruiter for clarification. Usually, they will appreciate that you asked because it shows you’re taking this opportunity seriously. However, when it comes to interview preparation, a good rule of thumb is it’s better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.

When performing your interview prep, keep this checklist in mind. Preparation and the confidence that comes from it are non-verbal things that interviewers can easily pick up on.