We’ve gone over many of the things that you want to do in order to bring your A-game to the interview (see what I did there?), but what should you actually physically bring?
An appropriate bag or portfolio
I have this really great carrier bag that is a replica of an old Chinese Paratrooper’s bag. It’s got four pockets and loops for pens, plus a little side pocket for glasses or something. I never take it to interviews. I schlep my stuff around in it all the time, but not in a professional setting, because the bag isn’t professional. Consider doing the same. You should also not use your old backpack or Trapper Keeper from school, even if it’s still perfectly serviceable. They won’t exactly inspire confidence. Get something more suited to the occasion. This isn’t to say that your bag can’t be unique or remarkable—my “work bag” is made from repurposed seatbelts. It’s very cool, but still professional. A folder that’ll hold your required documents will do (preferably in leather or faux leather, but, again, you can still do cool—I have one I got from the Toronto Raptors that is covered in what would have become a basketball.) A plain messenger bag will also do the trick.
But what should you put in the bag?
The relevant paperwork
Your resume. Letters of reference, if you have them. Portfolio samples. Necessary documentation like a work visa, student visa, or criminal record check. A map or directions to the location of the interview if you need it. Any notes you have took during your research into the company.
Tide 2 Go
Or something like it. Have you seen the commercial for the product where the man is trying to speak in a job interview and the stain on his shirt keeps muttering so he can’t be heard? I don’t know for sure that a prospective employer would discount you based on the fact that you dripped a little coffee onto your blouse, but there are so many variables, why wouldn’t you control something that simple? We’ve told you what to wear to interviews, but what was unspoken is that the clothes should be clean. Accidents happen. Be ready for them.
If you wear it. You might want to touch up.
Gum or mints
Because of that coffee we mentioned earlier.
For filling out questionnaires, writing tests, or filling in paperwork.
I’m diabetic, so it’s extra important for me, but like Snickers says, you’re not yourself when you’re hungry.
Appropriate weather gear
Is it raining? You need a rain coat or an umbrella or something. Snowing? Wear your coat. Don’t come in looking bedraggled or frozen. Also, it’s hard to concentrate and present your best self if you’re soaked and shivering, or if you’ve got frostbitten ears thawing in the interview.
One more thing. Silence or turn off your phone before going in. You don’t want to be interrupted, and why tempt yourself with a possible notification that your “Going in for my job interview; wish me luck!” Facebook status update was liked or commented upon. It’s also just good manners.
All right. Good luck. And, as always, we’re here to help if you want more interview support.