What Should I Bring to a Job Interview

Whether you are a student, new to the workforce, or simply looking for a change of pace, interviewing for any job position can be a nerve-wracking experience.

While there are plenty of articles out there to help you prepare for an interview, we decided to create a resource to help you prepare for what to bring to the interview.

According to career experts, these are the things you need to bring to a job interview:

Pablo Listingart

Pablo Listingart

Career Development Professional | Founder, ComIT

Job interviews can be a source of stress, but the goal is to explore the position from multiple angles, trying to understand if it’s the right fit for both the company and the candidate.

Many candidates focus on making the right impression, but the task of understanding the corporate environment they’re considering joining should be of equal priority. To accomplish both, preparation is a candidate’s best friend, and preparation has mental and physical components.

Come with a portfolio in hand

Bringing a work sample is an incredible way for candidates to begin the interview on the right foot. It tells employers that the candidate is prepared, thoughtful, and interested in the work on a creative level.

A work sample can come from a previous position or from personal exploration; A web designer can bring printouts of front page templates they’ve created, and a coder can bring a printed portfolio of the projects they’ve worked on in the past.

Whether or not there comes time to go through all of the material in the interview, arriving with a polished (and printed) portfolio shows an appetite for the role that will be well remembered after the interview concludes.

Ask relevant and insightful questions

The same question comes toward the end of every interview—do you have any questions for us? This is one area that candidates easily overlook, and the interview is not yet over!

Related: 50+ Good Questions to Ask in an Interview as an Interviewee

Asking relevant and insightful questions is a way for candidates to differentiate themselves from the pool of applicants. Their questions speak volumes about the seriousness with which they’re considering the role and their experience in their job search approach.

A few great questions include the following:

  • What kind of attributes has made candidates successful in this role in the past?
  • What are the pillars of your workplace culture that are most appreciated by your team?
  • Do you have any reservations regarding my qualifications as they relate to this role?

And in the COVID-era, candidates can go a couple of steps further to show that they’re thinking critically and creatively about the unique challenges of the market moment we’re finding ourselves in.

Questions regarding how the company has pivoted under the pressures of the pandemic, business plan changes that worked and those that didn’t, and whether or not the company’s big picture goals have changed as a result.

This line of questioning shows that the candidate is committed to the larger project of the team and will take a proactive, curious approach to their new role.

George Santos

George Santos

Director of Talent Delivery & Head of Marketing, 180 Engineering

Candidates should bring the following things with them to their job interview:

Copies of your resume

While the interviewer should ideally arrive with a printed copy of the applicant’s resume, there are many instances in which they simply forget or do not prioritize bringing one as there is an expectation that candidates will bring their own copies.

The reason why it’s important to bring multiple copies is that there may be several people in the room with you during the interview. Having copies ready to hand out will show that you are a well-prepared and motivated candidate.

A printed form listing your references

We typically ask candidates to provide references during their interview. To streamline the process, you can bring printed A4 copies listing your references, their contact information, and any relevant additional details.

Related: How to Properly List References on a Resume

Pens and a notepad

A lot of information is thrown at you during a short period of time in interview settings. Coupled with candidates feeling nervous and in their own heads, retaining important information can be surprisingly difficult.

By bringing a few pens and a notepad, you can quickly jot down any important information, such as responses to questions that you might have for the interviewer. Doing so shows that you are detail-orientated and meticulous, which in turn helps create a strong first impression.

Related: Should You Take Notes During an Interview? (As a Candidate)

Professional attire

Your interview is about making the strongest first impression imaginable.

Dressing your absolute best will help you impress the interviewer and will allow them to picture you as being the right person for the job. Well-dressed candidates begin interviews with a strong advantage.

A folder or briefcase

You should never come across as disorganized in an interview. Having a way to store the many documents and items that you should bring with you to the interview will help you appear prepared.

To take your preparation to the next level, you could use color-coded file tabs or a similar system of organization. Doing so will allow you to crack down on awkward moments spent fumbling through your files to find a specific document.

Identity documents

Having a copy of your identify documents, such as your driver’s license, citizenship certificate, and/or passport, is another way of impressing the interviewer by cutting down on the work that they have to do.

Rather than leaving them to chase up copies of your ID via email, you can take preemptive measures to hand them the relevant paperwork ahead of time.

Copies of credentials or accolades

If the job you’re applying for requires specific credentials, or you have relevant accolades that are worth presenting to the interviewer, it is a good idea to bring them along with you.

If they don’t come up in conversation, you can simply leave them in your briefcase or folder.

Revision materials

During your downtime while waiting for the interview to start, you should ideally be revising for the interview. It is important to be intimately familiar with your own talents, able to discuss your work history, and ready to answer common questions without hesitation.

Keep your revision materials out of sight once the interview starts, but briefly look through them whenever you have a moment spare beforehand.

Some great examples of materials to bring include:

  • questions that you want to remind yourself to ask the interviewer
  • bullet point responses to common questions
  • your resume if you need to refresh your memory before the interview starts

Your portfolio, samples, or testimonials

Being able to show the interviewer tangible proof of your skills will greatly improve your chances of landing the job. I myself have been very impressed by copies of portfolios and samples of work that candidates have shown me during interviews.

While many types of work don’t require a portfolio or samples, it never hurts to bring along relevant copies of your work should it be appropriate for the job at hand. For instance, I would absolutely recommend that anyone who deals with design, advertising, media, or writing brings along 3-5 instances of their work in printed form.

If you work in an industry that does not lend itself to tangibly demonstrating your work, you could instead bring testimonials or reviews that hold your services in high esteem. For instance, programmers and engineers could gain an advantage by bringing copies of reviews attributed to any application or project they helped develop.

Darrin Schenck

Darrin Schenck

Coach | Mentor | Speaker and Consultant, DarrinChatter, LLC

I speak as a recurring guest lecturer at a couple of the universities here in AZ where I live, and this topic comes up quite a bit with the college students. However, I am surprised how often I get this question from those who have been in the working world for quite a while as well.

Here are some of my key thoughts:

Bring your A-game

By this, I mean that you need to be fully prepared for each interview. Do your homework on the company and what they do, offer, and stand for. Write down important points to discuss during the interview, whether posing it as a question or a talking point.

Related: How to Nail a Job Interview, According to HR Experts and Employers

This would include things like:

  • “Why did the company move its headquarters to Denver in 2004?”
  • “What is the reason for choosing the charity that your company works with?”

Additionally, try to find out as much as possible about the person or people you are interviewing with. LinkedIn and the bio on the company website may offer some insight into these individuals, which can be a great conversation starter.

Remember to breathe properly

It sounds funny, but when anyone is nervous, they breathe shallowly, and this activates the Fight or Flight response in your body. To truly be yourself and present yourself in the best manner, practice diaphragmatic breathing ahead of the interview and be sure to breathe through your nose during the interview process.

This will help you stay calm and focused—this the version of yourself you want others to see in a job interview.

Dress to impress

It sounds like a no-brainer, but many people are missing the mark when it comes to that first impression, especially if it is a virtual interview. Suit up! Make sure you leave nothing to chance by dressing professionally, regardless of the company culture and dress code.

Related: 40+ Interview Dress Code Do’s and Don’ts

If it is a virtual interview, be sure to use a virtual background or be well aware of everything that is in the background of your video screen.

Political posters, Anime posters, taxidermy, whatever—be sure that you don’t unknowingly make a bad impression by simply being unaware of what others can see on your screen during the interview.

Anne Corley Baum

anne corley baum

Founder, Vision Accomplished | Author, “Small Mistakes, Big Consequences for Interviews

Do bring:

  • Bring a working pen—preferably without a logo and of good quality. A nice pen sends a solid message about your inherent taste and expectations of quality. A pen with a logo can send a wrong message, and since most logo pens are free, it sends a more casual, laissez-faire message.
  • Bring a nice portfolio with clean, unwrinkled copies of your resume and references, as well as business cards with your contact information. Make sure the pad of paper in the portfolio is clean and free of ripped paper shreds. Make sure you remove notes from previous meetings and leave them at home. I recommend a portfolio that is also logo-free and has room for money, a credit card, driver’s license or other photo ID, your phone (turned off!), and car/house keys.
  • Wear clean, pressed professional attire, and make sure your hair, face, and body are clean and fresh! Avoid too much cologne or perfume.
  • Bring a smile, great eye contact, and confidence—even when nervous. A great first impression has value, and it starts the instant you come in contact with another person!
  • Bring in any sample work, only if requested.

Don’t bring:

  • Don’t bring a big, bulky purse, satchel, briefcase or backpack. It just gets in the way and can cause distractions from where you place it to logos.
  • Don’t bring a big key ring, makeup bag, lunch box, etc., leave them in the car or at home to avoid distractions.
  • Don’t bring a cup of coffee, bottle of water, food, candy, gum, soda, etc. Drink and eat before the interview, and if offered something, feel free to say yes, though I recommend saying no to avoid accidents like spilling coffee or water on your clothing.
  • Don’t bring a cloud of cologne or perfume—leave a great impression, not a long-lasting scent of cologne or perfume!

Mary Sullivan

Mary Sullivan

Former Executive Leader in the Financial Services | Co-Founder, Sweet but Fearless

Show up with your non-negotiables

Remember, the interview is a two-way street. You are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you to see if you are a match. Who you are matters, especially when it comes to your career. Knowing yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, your core values are key when looking for a job.

In fact, knowing yourself has so many benefits. If you know the type of person you are and want to be, you have a direction and can articulate that well in the interview process. I know you have held jobs that underutilized your strengths or were against your core values.

The frustration and fatigue that comes from giving your all in the interview process only to know that the company’s core values are not aligned with yours is non-negotiable.

Now, I do not recommend leading with a list of all the things you are not or won’t do, but you need to be clear about who you are, your core values, and how they align with the company. Remember, the company is not going to change; they will expect you to do the adapting.

That is why showing up to the interview process with a knowledge of your non-negotiables is critical.

Having a rewarding career depends upon finding the role and company that fits with your vision, values, and goals. The average length of an interview process is 23 days in the corporate world; you will probably have 2-3 interviews and the opportunity to ask questions.

Do the research and ask the questions that will lead you to know if there are any conflicts with your non-negotiables. When you have the opportunity to ask the questions that are deal breakers for you, ask them, practice them in advance so they are comfortable with you.

Related: 25+ Best Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Job Offer

If the opportunity is not given to you, create it. Have a list of questions prepared so you can make sure you get the answers you need to make the right decision for you.

Erin Wolfram

Erin Wolfram

Career & Professional Etiquette Consultant, Career Advantage

Bring your best stories that prove the value you will bring to the organization

Bring your A-game! Most importantly, have confidence and your best stories ready that prove the value you will bring to the organization. These should demonstrate the results of your actions from your professional experiences and showcase your skills, strengths, and qualifications.

Bring at least five copies of your resume and references printed on high-quality paper

Take at least five copies of your resume and references printed on high-quality resume paper to give to those who are interviewing you for reference during and after your conversation.

Also, make sure to have a pen and paper so you can take notes and write down the names of the people who interview you to follow up with personalized thank you notes or emails within twenty-four hours.

I also recommend taking a small amount of cash, just in case you need to purchase water from a vending machine. It is also a good idea to have a few tissues on hand in the event of a sneeze or allergy issues.

Finally, do not forget to make a list of questions you want to ask so you can demonstrate your interest and learn more about the organization, work environment, culture, etc. Remember, you are evaluating the organization and position as much as they are evaluating you!

You can easily carry these items in a professional portfolio for easy access.

Ben Lamarche

Ben Lamarche

General Manager, Lock Search Group

Aside from you’re ‘A’ game, this is what you should bring to a job interview:

Bring copies of your resume

Your interviewer will already have a copy of your resume. But, it would help if you still come with extras if someone on the panel needs a hard copy. It is also a good idea to have your resume in front of you for when you want to refer the interviewer to a specific piece of information.

You should also bring along your work sample or portfolio in a neat file. This will demonstrate that you are prepared and organized, which are excellent qualities.

Bring your list of references

Modern resumes don’t generally include a reference section. In fact, you should not include references in your resume. Instead, print this information on a separate sheet of paper and bring it along to your interview to hand over to the interviewer.

Make sure that your references are aware that you are looking for a job to prepare to speak with the hiring manager.

Bring a simple stationery

Pack a few pens and a clean notepad. You will use these to jot down quick notes and points you need to remember during the interview. It is a good idea to ask for permission to write notes to avoid any awkwardness.

Just say something like, “Do you mind if I took some quick notes so I can remember the most important things we’ll talk about today?” Most interviewers will have no problem with it; just don’t be so engrossed in taking notes that you become distracted from the interview.

Be prepared to show specific examples of what you’d bring to the job

The first thing you should bring to a job interview is ET—code for entrepreneur’s ‘tude. Every true entrepreneur has an owner’s mindset about the company with multiple game plans to ensure failure is not an option.

Take the time to do some homework and prove you’re willing to talk more specifically about what the company is doing. Don’t waste a 30-minute interview singing all of your own past greatest hits, and showing is even better than telling (or singing).

The most successful candidates come prepared to show specific examples of what they’d bring to the job—in detailed letters or PowerPoint decks—before they’re asked.

We call this “stealing second base.”

You’re halfway home and will be taken more seriously than any other candidate simply reciting cover letter highlights. You’re showing the hiring manager you’re prepared to deliver the ideas needed to frame a conversation, and that’s a thousand times more interesting than a typical first interview.

Mladen Maksic

Mladen Maksic

SEO consultant and CEO, Play Media

The bare necessities of an interview

Let’s start with the basics. Everyone knows that you need to bring your CV to a job interview. Or at least, that’s what you’d assume. Even though you sitting there at the job interview means the company already read your CV, it’s never a good idea to arrive without it.

Also, bring it in a folder, don’t just whip it out of a paper bag or your backpack. It just doesn’t look good.

One thing that interviewees often seem to forget is that they’re allowed to bring a pen and some paper or a small notebook. You might need to jot down some information or details you don’t want to forget, and it will just look unprofessional if you have to ask for a pen.

Bring knowledge

You need to know what the company does, where they operate, and some background information such as success stories from past dealings with clients that the company made public.

If you just look like someone who needs a job, any job, that will leave a negative influence on the interviewers. Of course, you do need a job. Why else would you be there?

But every company out there wants to know why you decided to apply to their job application specifically, and showing deeper knowledge of their operations will set you apart from the rest of the candidates.

Be confident but humble

Finally, we get to the point that I find to be the most important thing to bring to a job interview – confidence. If you let nervousness mask who you really are, you won’t be able to impress the person sitting across you or show them your potential.

One way to increase confidence is to follow all of the steps I mentioned above. Come prepared and informed. Give yourself a pep talk prior to the interview. Know your strengths, but also your limits.

Being overconfident isn’t going to fly well – you’ll be talking to experts who know what kind of people they are looking for, and self-absorbed individuals aren’t one of them.

Related: Arrogance vs Confidence – What Are the Key Differences?

James Albertson

James Albertson

CMO/Chief Marketing Officer, In Demand Careers

Preparation is the key to a successful job interview. There are functional elements we should have with us when we go to a job interview. First off, we should bring a briefcase or some other sort of appropriate, professional bag or carrying case to hold all the other things we will have with us.

We should have several copies of our resumes

Yes, we submitted our resume when we applied, and it stands to reason the interviewer would have it, but things happen, and sometimes hiring managers don’t have time to print up a resume for each person they’re seeing that day.

You may also interview with several people, so you should have enough resumes to ensure that each person receives one.

  • A business card attached to each resume will also go a long way toward impressing interviewers and making sure that they can always contact you easily.
  • Bring a notepad and pen; taking notes during the interview not only shows the interview that you are engaged and focused on what’s being said and allows you to pull up questions on the fly that reflect the information the interviewer has imparted.
  • If applying for a creative position, have examples of your best work ready to show and presented in a way that casts your samples in their best light.

Finally, do your homework—research the company, its history, and, if possible, its senior and mid-level leadership. Be familiar with what the company does, its mission, and its culture.

This will also help you develop questions for the interviewer and show that you take the position and the company with appropriate seriousness.

Clay Burnett

Clay Burnett

President and Executive Recruiter, Clay Burnett Group

An essential item for any candidate to have when interviewing for a new job is “Preparation,” and there are two things to consider:

The first commandment: Read the job description very carefully

If you are working with a recruiter, they can advise what the employer is looking for. But if you are on your own, use the internet to research as much as you can about the company and outline some questions about them that you could ask.

Take an optimistic view of the job: Best case scenario and then look a little sideways and think of the worst-case scenario.

You may be interested in changing jobs because you don’t like the one you have but take care not to talk yourself into a new situation that might not really fit. You should expect to find out how the job fits into the company’s big picture.

  • What are the reporting relationships?
  • How many co-workers?

During the interview, you should try to get a sense of the company culture which will help you figure out if the job is a good fit for you.

The second commandment: Look at yourself from 30,000 feet

Match your assets to the job description.

Make a list that you can use during the interview and listen to what the interviewer is saying and respond to the questions clearly. Remember that flattery works wonders.

The interviewer is going to concentrate on you but be sure to show some interest in them—how long has that person worked for the company and do they like it. Be polite. That will get you noticed because good manners always stand out.

Lauri Kinkar

Lauri Kinkar

CEO, Messente

You’ve received a callback and were scheduled for an in-person interview. You may have practiced your answers to possible questions before the interview, and you may have prepared the clothes you would wear to the interview but preparing for what to bring to the interview is crucial as well.

You would want to come across as someone who has thought ahead and come well-prepared—you need to make a good first impression.

Here’s a list of things to bring to your job interview.

  1. Identification– You may need to show identification to enter the building. Bring a Driver’s License or any form of identification you have.
  2. Copies of your resume– As the hiring manager is a busy person, he/she might not have a copy on hand of the resume you initially submitted. Bring at least five resume copies to distribute upon request.
  3. Pen and Notepad– These things might come in handy if ever there are questions during the interview or the interviewer has insights to share. Bringing a pen and notepad will make you look organized and well-prepared.
  4. A list of your References– Print a list of names of people who can attest to your professional skills and achievements. Let your references know in advance that they might receive a call from a hiring manager.
  5. Pre-written questions for the hiring manager– List questions that you would want to ask the hiring manager. By doing this, you can show that you are genuinely interested in the job.
  6. Directions on how to get to the interview and Contact information of the Hiring Manager– Leave your house early and be sure that you bring a printed copy of the directions. This will prevent you from getting lost and arriving late. Nothing makes a worse impression than arriving late on your interview. If ever you’re running late, call the interviewer immediately and let the interviewer know about your situation.
  7. Folder or a briefcase– To keep things organized, put all the papers you need in a folder/ briefcase. This will also prevent you from leaving things behind.

Now that you have fully prepared for your job interview, the only thing left to do is to ace the interview. Show them that you are the right person for the job.

Wendy J. Young

Wendy Young

Owner, Wendy J Young Brand Management

Bring a smile

Especially now, when interviews are held virtually over a computer, facial expressions are extremely important. Don’t forget about facing a window so the person opposite you can see you well.

Be sure to look up at the camera rather than simply staring at the bulk of your screen (though it’s understandable that you’d want to look at them as they’re talking).

Bring paper and a pencil

This is vital in showing that you’re taking the interview seriously. If you’re simply staring at the screen and answering questions but not writing down the things they say to reflect upon later, they may think you’re not truly invested in their position.

Even if only using it as a prop (which I don’t recommend), having it present and appearing to take notes leaves a positive impression.

Ask intelligent questions

Obviously, during an interview, you’re supposed to answer questions—but the point is that you are also interviewing them to make sure this position will be a good fit for you.

They are also on trial.

Be sure you’ve done your research on their company and dig into the department to which you’re applying to see if you can find points of interest or good questions to pursue. This will show them that you’re not just a pretty face, but also intelligent and proactive—both very excellent traits.

Andriy Bogdanov

Andriy Bogdanov

CEO and Co-Founder, Online Divorce

Bring additional copies of your resume

When interviewing you, interviewers usually do not have a copy of your resume on hand. While the interviewer may have a general idea of who you are based on the resume they reviewed previously, the specifics of your resume may not be fresh in their mind, especially if they have had to interview multiple people before you.

Bringing extra copies of your resume allows the interviewer to refresh their memory as to why they invited you in the first place. This also shows that you’re always thinking ahead, demonstrating your organizational and forward-thinking skills, both of which are essential in top talent.

Prepare a list of questions for the interviewer

I’ve interviewed numerous candidates, and the one thing that always makes me second-guess an applicant is if they are unable to respond when I ask if they have any additional questions for me.

Answering with a no indicates to me that the candidate is just going through the motions and has not done any in-depth research on the company.

It’s always a plus if a candidate has well-researched/informed questions about their role, the company, and the work culture because it demonstrates that the candidate is attentive and serious about working for the company. It demonstrates to the interviewer that the candidate will be beneficial to the company if hired.

Bring your portfolio or work samples

If you’re applying for a job in the creative field, employers in this field will frequently require you to supplement your resume with samples of your work so that they can determine if your work meets their standards.

Although you may believe that having your portfolio online is sufficient because the interviewer can always access it from their end, it is even more impressive to bring your laptop or tablet with you to demonstrate that you are proactive and prepared.

Anjela Mangrum

Anjela Mangrum

President, Mangrum Career Solutions

Here are some things to consider taking along:

A folder will all relevant documents

Keep things organized with a partitioned folder that carries all specific, relevant paperwork. I’ve seen candidates fumbling through unnecessary papers they bring along in a single envelope, which just goes to agitate the both of us!

A few copies of your resume

I know you’ve submitted your resume to the company during the application process, but it’s better to have a couple of copies in hand as well. There might be mix-ups where your hiring manager is interviewing multiple candidates, or you may be speaking to more than one person at the job site.

Your portfolio

If you have any past projects or achievements you can show off or speak about in person, then do it! This is often possible in creative industries like graphic design, architecture, and fashion. However, I always appreciate testimonials of past clients, whatever your field of work – it makes you seem more credible.

Your photo ID

Some form of identification is usually required to enter corporate offices. I also recommend finding out who you have to report to and where exactly to meet them, before reaching your interview venue. It’s easy to get lost in a new building and get late even when you arrive on time!

Logical questions

As an interviewer, I appreciate intelligent questions that candidates ask about the company or the job position. I like applicants who hold a two-way conversation rather than simply responding to my queries. Actively researching the organization beforehand and gathering some talking points about it indicates your genuine interest in working there.

Ciara Van De Velde

Ciara Van De Velde

Client Engagement Manager, Employment BOOST

Candidates must be prepared to discuss their relevant work experience and qualifications

First impressions are everything. Therefore, candidates must be prepared to discuss their relevant work experience and qualifications when invited for an interview.

Additionally, candidates should set aside clothing and map out the location the night before, so they arrive 10-15 minutes before the start of the interview.

Related: How Early Should You Arrive for a Job Interview

However, upon entering the interview room, the candidate should ensure to bring the following:

  • 3-5 extra resumes
  • Pen and note pad
  • List of 2-4 questions you may ask the interviewer
  • Folder to hold all of the documents
  • Portfolio or work samples if you are in a creative industry such as advertising, journalism, graphic design, architecture, etc.
  • If you have multiple interviews scheduled, bring a bottle of water and small snack
  • A great attitude and a smile

Annette Harris

Annette Harris

Human Resources Manager | Financial Coach | Owner, Harris Financial Coaching

Bring a copy of your resume and your personality

When attending a job interview, there are two things that you should bring, a copy of your resume and your personality. Your resume will detail your work experience, education, and any professional organizations that you are a member of.

This is how you were selected for the job and what made you stand out to the interview amongst the crowd. However, a well put together is only one requirement of getting the job. Your personality must shine on the interview in addition to delving deeper into your experience.

Your resume is a flat piece of paper with words on it. When interviewing in person, you need to bring your resume to life. Let the interviewer know who you are as an individual and what makes you special. A large part of this is showing your personality, being articulate, and aligning with the culture of the company.

If your personality does not align with the company’s culture during the interview, it could mean that your resume will go to the no pile. Your resume reflected your experience and accomplishments, so express yourself beyond the monotony of the paper document and attempt to align with the company’s culture and shine.

Adam Garcia

Adam Garcia

Founder, The Stock Dork

You should always bring multiple scanned copies of your résumé

Being a business owner, I personally think that the most important thing a person should bring to an interview is multiple copies of the resume. You should always bring multiple scanned copies of your résumé to an interview.

Your interviewer, a member of HR, or even an employee you strike up a conversation with within the elevator might all ask for your resume.

You never want to be caught without your résumé while you’re around people who can help you land the work. It’s a curated look at your professional background that shows why you’re a perfect candidate for the job.

And if you sent your résumé to the recruiter, it’s possible that your interviewer didn’t have time to print it. Plus, having an extra copy in the lobby before your interview will help you refresh your mind in preparation for the dreaded question, ‘Tell me about yourself,’ is a good idea.

Magda Klimkiewicz

Magda Klimkiewicz

HR manager and Business Partner, Zety

Your portfolio and application documents in print or off-line version

Although we live in a digital era, and the recruiter will most likely have access to your application and portfolio online, it’s good to be prepared with the print version of those – just in case the internet connection is out, or your application gets lost.

Print three or two copies of your resume and reference letters and keep them in a folder.

If you are in creative industries like graphic design, architecture, or advertising – make sure you have a portfolio with samples of your work either in print or on a tablet in the off-line version. Your portfolio is the basis for determining whether a specific style of your work matches the company’s requirements.

Lacy Summers (PMP)

Lacy Summers

Chief Marketing Officer, Crush the PM Exam

The most important thing to bring to your job interview is your portfolio

Your portfolio is essential to bring to a job interview if you’re applying for some kind of creative work, such as copywriting or commercial design. You’ll also need a portfolio of your previous work to show the interviewer if you’re applying for a creative position(s).

Past achievements almost often speak louder than carefully measured words, and carrying examples of previous work to a job interview is unbeatable. Carry your physical portfolio if you have one. If not, have a URL handy so that an interviewer can look at your work while you’re there.

Arriving a little early for a job interview is always a smart idea. Spend those few minutes mentally preparing yourself for the meeting.

Mark Hayes

Mark Hayes

Head of Marketing, Kintell

Make sure to bring a print-out of your resume, cover letter, and your portfolio

When attending a job interview, make sure to bring a print-out of your resume, cover letter, and your portfolio if applicable. This shows a high level of organization which is always attractive to hiring managers. It also helps to have each of these on hand in case you’re asked any specific questions pertaining to the documents you’ve submitted.

That way, you’re prepared for even the most unexpected questions: such as those pertaining to your profile, work history, or other aspects of your application.

You may also choose to bring any additional resources which may add value to your candidacy and create new, interesting talking points for the interview to flow. The idea here is to avoid any lulls in the conversation and ensure that the interview is productive for all parties involved.

Eric Kim

Eric Kim

Co-Owner and Program Director, LA Tutors

Bring a word doc or excel sheet with the pertinent facts related to the position you’re applying for

Since the pandemic, our interviews have transitioned to a completely virtual format, leading to changes for both sides. Some major considerations remain the same (e.g., promptness, professionalism), but gone are the expectations of things like business attire.

Instead, knowing that every candidate has the internet at their fingertips has increased the expectation of preparedness. You don’t need to bring your CV on fancy resume paper or a pricey leather jacket to hold your documents.

Instead, you should bring a word doc or excel sheet with all the pertinent facts related to the position you’re applying for as well as questions you want to ask your prospective employer.

Being prepared and having these notes is a no-brainer and will definitely yield positive results.

Dana Case

Dana Case

Director of Operations, MyCorporation.com

I would advise applicants to bring along a notebook to their job interview. This is true of job interviews that take place in-person or via Zoom due to COVID-19.

In-person interviews often tend to have too many excessive items present, such as a water bottle or a laptop to use to show your portfolio to the company. These items are not necessary to take along to an interview.

Bring a notebook with you

You may use it to take notes in-person and also during a Zoom interview. Your interviewer will likely be taking notes as well during this time, so it’s okay if you are both writing down key points at the same time.

Once we are able to return safely to in-person interviewing, I would also recommend bringing along extra copies of your resume and cover letter for the staff. If you are interviewing via Zoom, make sure the HR point of contact has these documents on hand.

Alan Harder

Alan Harder

Mortgage Broker, AlanHarder.ca

Bring a written list of references for the hiring manager to look at

If you’ve secured a job interview, make sure you’re well-prepared since this will most likely be the only opportunity to persuade an employer that you’re the right choice for the job.

Your appearance, demeanor, and responses to questions are all important factors in deciding whether or not you will be hired.

Job applicants face stiff competition, and you are likely to be one of many interviewees. With this in mind, you’ll want to make a lasting impression that will improve your chances of receiving a callback for further interviews or a job offer.

When you have a job interview, there are a few things you should carry with you. Your reference list is one of them.

Bring a written list of references for the hiring manager to look at. Include the names and contact details for at least three professional references. Choose references who can vouch for your ability to do the job you’re applying for. Keep a copy for yourself in case you need to document the details on a work application.

Jagoda Wieczorek

Jagoda Wieczorek

Head of HR, ResumeLab

Bring good luck charms to bring to your job interview

I remember reading that Michael Jordan used to wear a pair of UNC shorts under his Chicago Bulls uniform during games for good luck.

I’m a firm believer in good luck charms. When I wear the necklace with the heart pendant my grandma gave me, I know I’ll have a fortuitous day. It doesn’t matter if that necklace actually has magical grandma powers or not. My belief in it gives me the confidence to succeed.

So, I highly recommend picking something wearable or pocket-able to bring to your job interview.

If you’ve never used a good luck charm, you just need to pick something that is associated with a positive memory or a color you feel gives you energy. Don’t use it every day, or it loses its specialness.

Pull out that coin, or piece of jewelry, or small photo, and bring it to you for your interview. Even if that interview is taking place in your home, make sure you have the good luck charm on you or within sight. I find rubbing my grandma’s heart pendant between my fingers calms me down and gets me into the right headspace.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I bring my electronic portfolio to an interview?

Yes, you can bring your electronic portfolio to an interview, but be sure it’s easily accessible and professional. Here are some tips:

Make sure your electronic portfolio has been uploaded to a website or cloud service that you can access with a tablet or laptop. Don’t rely on Wi-Fi or data to access your portfolio during the interview.

There is a chance that the interviewer’s company computer may not be compatible with the file type of your portfolio. Therefore, it’s best to have it in a form that can be accessed through a web browser or easily opened.

Be discreet. Don’t assume that the interviewer wants to see all of your work, but wait for them to ask to see your portfolio first.

Avoid distractions. Ensure your device is fully charged and any notifications or messages are muted during the interview.

If possible, bring a hard copy of your folder as an alternative in case of technical difficulties.

What should I do if I forget to bring something to a job interview?

If you forget to bring something to an interview, there is no need to panic. Just apologize and explain that you didn’t bring it. In most cases, the interviewer will understand and not hold it against you.

Just ensure you follow up after the interview and provide the missing information or documents as soon as possible.

This shows that you’re responsible and proactive and helps ensure the interviewer has all the information they need to make an informed decision.

Also, try to learn from this experience and make a list of things to bring to future interviews, so you’re better prepared in the future.

What should I do if I’m asked to complete a test or assignment during the job interview?

If you’re asked to complete a test or task during an interview, it’s crucial that you take it seriously and do your best. This is a chance to showcase your skills and demonstrate your knowledge and abilities.

Be sure to ask any clarifying questions you have and make sure you understand the instructions and requirements. Also, try to stay focused and calm, even under pressure. This will help you demonstrate your problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and ability to work under time pressure.

If the test or assignment is extensive or time-consuming, ask if you can complete it after the interview or take it home. This way, you can ensure you have the time and resources to do your best work.

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