Landing an in-person interview for your dream job is a big accomplishment, but the last thing you want is to fall just short of the finish line. Besides being mentally prepared, you'll also want to make sure you bring these essential items.
Our smart phones have essentially become an extension of our bodies, so it can be easy to rely on them to provide directions to any location. But it's important to take the extra five minutes before you leave the house to print out directions to your interview location in case your phone dies, you don't have service, or you get lost.
This may seem obvious, but many interview candidates forget or leave their identification at home on interview day. Many buildings have security desks and require some form of photo identification.
Pen and notepad
Never get caught in an interview without a pen and notepad. Using them shows your potential employer that you are "attentive and detail oriented," said Lindsay Irwin, Enterprise Sales and Leadership Recruiter at Betts Recruiting.
It's also a way of making sure you remember important information from your conversation. And don't forget to write down the interviewer's contact information so you can follow up. "One of the most important aspects of an interview is to follow up within 12-24 hours. Be sure to thank the interviewer for their time, highlight anything new you learned, recap on your conversation, and clarify your excitement for next steps," said Irwin.
"If there is a job description available for the position you are interviewing for, you should bring it with you," advised Barry Drexler, an interview coach and experienced HR executive. "Make sure that you keep it clean and crisp with no notes written on it and keep it tucked away in case you have a specific question about it or need to reference it."
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"A lot of jobs don't even ask for resumes anymore if you were referred or they just go by your LinkedIn [profile]. But to be safe, I always recommend bringing a couple hard copies of your resume to any interview," said Irwin. Bring a folder with three to five additional copies of your resume. This will ensure that you're never caught empty-handed if the individual you are speaking to needs to be reminded of who you are.
Portofolio or work samples
If you work in an industry that requires you to have a collection of past work or projects, bring a small collection of your best pieces. This will allow the interviewer to have a quick way to look at what you are capable of in-person and to ask any questions they might have about your work. "They control the interview. They'll tell you what they want and don't want," said Drexler. "There is no harm bringing past work samples, but if they don't ask for them, don't force anything on them. Just take the samples out of the room with you."
List of references
While you may have provided a few references from past jobs on your resume and application, it is always a good idea to bring a list with those references and even a few additional ones.
"Bring in a clean list with three or four past employer references and maybe one to two personal references as well in case they ask you for a list," said Drexler.
List of questions
When an interviewer asks if you have any questions at the end of the interview, your answer should never be "no." Do your research before you arrive to the interview and make sure that you have a list of questions in your head. "I always encourage my candidates to bucket their questions into four key areas. Be sure to ask about the company, product, role, and lastly specific questions for your interviewer," said Irwin.