What to Bring to an Interview | Look Professional and Be Prepared

Bringing the right things to an interview shows that you are organized and prepared. Physical things like ID or a notepad or non-physical like a mental list of questions can show that you are a serious candidate. This article will teach you what you can bring to an interview to show the employer that you’re professional and prepared.

What should I bring to my job interview?

You can make sure you are fully prepared and confident for your job interview by bringing these things:

1. Prepare answers to unexpected questions

Review the most commonly asked job interview questions and take a few minutes to consider what your interviewer might ask. Your interviewer may ask questions that are specific to your work history or ask for clarification for items you put on your resume. For example, if you included information on your resume that indicated that you were proficient in a foreign language, your interviewer might test you and ask you a question in that language. Be prepared to defend your resume and give your interviewer interesting information they might not already know.

2. Prepare questions to ask your interviewer

At the end of your interview, the interviewer will most likely ask you if you have some questions of your own. Think about some questions to ask and, based on your research of the company, take the opportunity to ask two to three questions that might give you a better understanding of that company, the culture and the position you are applying for. Write down the unexpected questions you might be asked along with your answers and remember to take those with you.

3. Print out a map with directions to the interview location

Make sure you know how to get to the place where your interview will take place. Do this at least one day before your interview so you can plan accordingly.

If you will be taking public transportation, get a schedule ahead of time and plan your route that way.

4. Save your interviewer’s contact information

Make sure you keep your interviewer’s contact information in a place where you can quickly access it in case you need to contact this person on the day of the interview. Sometimes emergencies happen and you can face traffic delays even if you start out an hour early.

If you have your interviewer’s contact information, call that person and let them know what happened. Your interviewer might make extra accommodations for you if you are honest and proactive.

5. Your personal ID

Depending on the location of your interview, you may need some identification to prove you are who you say you are, and that you are authorized to be there.

6. A folder or briefcase

You may need a folder or briefcase to carry other items you should bring.

7. Copies of your resume

Even if you submitted your resume to the company, your interviewer might not have a copy of it. Bring at least three to five copies. You might need to also give copies of it to anyone else you contact during your interview.

8. Lists of your references

Your interviewer might ask you for references, so bring copies of your list. Appropriate references can be co-workers, teachers, community leaders, managers and anyone who has worked with you in an academic, professional or nonprofit setting. Also, remember that you should ask your references before creating the list because you will need to include their contact information.

9. Your portfolio

If you are applying for a job that requires work samples, you will need to bring a portfolio with you. Your portfolio can be physical or digital. In the case of a digital portfolio, you have the choice of leaving a USB copy with the recruiter or directing the recruiter to a website with your samples.

10. Your computer or tablet

Depending on the nature of the interview, you might be allowed to use a computer or tablet during the presentation portion. You can show your digital portfolio on your device and allow your interviewer to look at the screen.

11. A pen/pencil and a notepad

Your notepad serves a dual purpose. First, you will need to write down notes before the interview, which include  talking points and questions you want to ask. Secondly, you will likely want to take notes during the interview. The best time to takes notes is when you are asking questions near the end of the interview. Until then, maintain good eye contact with the interviewer.

12. Personal items

You might have a personal emergency before or after the interview, so make sure you bring some personal items to help you look your best or freshen up. These items can include:

  • Breath mints or a toothbrush if you ate shortly before the interview
  • Makeup if you need to touch it up
  • Wet napkins if you need to clean your hands or face