What to Bring to an Interview – A Checklist

So you have an interview. Congratulations! It’s difficult enough to even get a recruiter to look at your resume, let alone get them to call you to “come in and meet.” Here’s an interview checklist to make sure you are prepared for the big day. Like to print things out?

1. At least 10 copies of your resume.

You go in for an interview, and they love you. (Great!) Unexpectedly, they want to introduce you to another member of their team. (Awesome!) You don’t have an extra resume to hand to this second person. (Bummer!) Always expect to meet more people than you anticipate when you go into any job interview. Often, people like to bring in a coworker to affirm their assessment about you. If they think you’re great, they usually want to make sure their teammate thinks you’re great too. So prove you’re awesome and show them you’re prepared to meet the whole team.

2. Samples of your work / portfolio.

If you’re preparing for an interview for a job that requires some tangible experience (artwork/design, copywriter, musician, public speaker, etc). the recruiter will ask you for a reel, portfolio, or link to your website, if they haven’t seen it already. Luckily, you’re smart and have all of that content on your custom website already. Always be prepared to showcase your talents and accomplishments in ways your resume can’t.

3. Business cards.

Everyone has a resume. Not everyone has a business card. In one handshake, you can exchange business cards with your interviewer, and in the palm of their hand is the information to the most direct way they can get in touch with you to tell you that you got the job! Even if you meet some other folks in the company, it’s smart to carry your cards on you, so you can hand off your info to new and unexpected people as well. And the more customized your cards are, the more you will stand out.

4. An extra pair of tights and clear nail polish.

Nude or black tights give you a very professional, clean appearance. But the stocking gods have a sense of humor, and like to create a mess at the most inconvenient times. When they rip (usually en route to the interview, when you’re already nervous and in no mood for jokes), it looks sloppy and gives off a “carelessness” vibe. If you arrive early and depending on how bad the tear is, dip into a bathroom stall and change into the un damaged pair. If the rip is small, prevent it from getting bigger by covering it with clear nail polish. The polish will seal the tear, preventing it from ripping further.

5. Deodorant.

Job interviews can seem like giant mind games. You want to be yourself, and also impress, but not come off too strong, but still show you’re eager, so you’re mindful of your posture, and the whole time you’re figuring out the best answers to questions that no one ever asks you in real life. You’re going to sweat, and you might stink. Bring deodorant, you’ll thank us.

6. Spare cash and a credit card.

You probably won’t use cash or a credit card during an interview, unless it’s a more casual meet up and you’re out for lunch or coffee. Formally, interviewers will pay for your meal, but always offer to contribute to the bill, or at least the tip. It’s also a good idea to have a card and cash on you incase you’re in a rush to the interview and are out of rides on your metro card, out of gas, or need to quickly buy something or print your resume at a Kinkos on the way.

pursecase pocket

7. Something to take notes.

Take notes during the interview. Write down questions you want to ask at then end, and some takeaways you’d like to include later when you follow up with the interviewer in your thank you note.

8. Lint roller and Tide-To-Go stain remover.

You got into a cab with a cab driver who is also a cat enthusiast and now you’re covered in fur. Then you sneezed as you were sipping your coffee and now spots of brown are all over your pants. Roll off that fur and press out those spots. Otherwise you’ll look like a fuzzy leper in your interview.

9. A “waiting room prop” to showcase who you are and to start a conversation.

Most interviewers make you wait a few minutes before you meet, to give you a chance to settle in and gather your thoughts. Bring a “prop” like a book to occupy yourself as you wait, but to also non-verbally communicate to the office what kind of person you are. Are you a sci-fi geek, or are you reading the complete text of War and Peace for kicks?

10. Comfy flats or sandals.

For the ladies, high heels can be a killer. But goodness, the right pair can make you look fiiiiiine! Stay comfortable on your way in, and quickly change from flats to heels before the interview. You’ll look like a million bucks without the pinched, swollen feet.
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Part of being prepared for an interview is having lots of practice, which is not as simple as throwing lip balm into your bag on your way out the door.

One comment on “What to Bring to an Interview – A Checklist

  1. Good, practical tips. But– “Most interviewers make you wait a few minutes before you meet, to give you a chance to settle in and gather your thoughts”– they make you wait to demonstrate their hierarchical authority.

    In fact, considering the length of that wait should factor in to whether one accepts a job offer.

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