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 What to Bring to Your Interview

By Joe Stein

I am a person who believes in preparation and in order to assist me with this, I prepare lists to follow. Prior to a vacation or a business trip, I like to write down all the items that I need to bring with me. The list not only provides some stress reduction (being prepared will do that), but it also ensures that I bring what I need.
If you thought that your interview preparation ended with doing some mock interviewing, you are wrong. You will also need to make sure you are ready with what you need to attend your job interview.
So, what should be on your list of items to bring to your interview? Below is a list of items to consider.
• Extra Copies of Your Resume – This may seem foreign to you because, so often, everything up to the interview has been handled electronically. You would hope that your Interviewer would have spent the few minutes to print your resume (and, of course, reviewed it) but this is not always the case. This is especially true if you will be interviewing with multiple people who are perhaps in a Conference Room and not his/her “home” office. If you see that the Interviewer is prepared already with your Resume, you can simply hold onto the documents until next time they might be needed. Please make sure that they are printed on good quality traditional Resume paper.
• A Notepad Portfolio – You should bring some paper in order to take notes on. Rather than just bringing a notebook, bring a professional real or synthetic leather portfolio that houses your pad of paper. You are allowed to take some notes in an interview, as long as this does not distract you from the conversation. This portfolio can also serve to house your interview questions that you have prepared.
• Writing Utensils – If you are going to take notes, you will need something to write with. I like using a pen and bringing at least two in case one fails on you while writing. If you bring a notepad portfolio, like recommended above, these usually have slots to store a couple of pens. You may also find yourself in a situation where the Interviewer did not bring a pen, so by having an extra one, you can earn some extra points when offering it for use.
• Your Interviewer Questions – As noted above, your portfolio can house your interviewer questions. This, of course, means that you have to prepare questions. Prepare your questions by reviewing the Job Description/Posting (you can also bring a copy of this and tuck it into your portfolio), revisiting your phone screen notes, and conducting your company research. All this is done in order to prepare a handful of questions to ask when it comes to that portion of the interview.
• Summary of Key Information – This is especially important if you are going to interview with multiple people. I recommend writing, on your summary, the company address, time of interview and the names/titles of everyone you are scheduled to be speaking with. You may also want to write down a couple of key points that you want to make sure to emphasize during the interview.
• Personal Items for the Car – There are a number of items you should bring with you, but leave in the car. This includes a bottle of water, in case your mouth is dry and you need a few sips prior to going in for the interview. You should also consider bringing some mints for a quick breath refresh. It may also be a good idea to bring any appearance “touch up” items, such as a hair brush, especially if it is a windy or rainy day.
A Hiring Manager loves to see a candidate who is ready and prepared for their interview. It serves to communicate that the person is truly interested in the position and will invest the time necessary in order to be selected for the position. By bringing the items necessary to actively participate in the interview, you will not only get more out of the conversation, but also send a very positive message.
As always, best of luck in your job search!