What to Bring to an Interview: A Thorough Checklist

When you go on a job interview, the hiring manager will assess your qualifications, experience, and whether you fit the role. They’ll also look at how well you present yourself — your appearance and behavior. This guide covers various tips on what to bring to an interview, so read on and learn what can help you leave a great first impression. 

What is a Job Interview?

A job interview is a meeting between a potential employer and an applicant for a position. It can be conducted in person, by phone, or via video conference, and its purpose is to evaluate the applicant’s qualifications and suitability for the job. It also allows the applicant and the interviewer to get to know each other and determine if there is a mutual fit.

Types of Questions Usually Asked in an Interview

Be prepared for a mix of behavioral and situational questions during the job interview. Behavioral questions assess how you handled situations in the past, while situational questions ask you to imagine how you would handle a hypothetical situation.

Asking these questions will give the interviewer a well-rounded picture of your skills and abilities. However, behavioral questions are often seen as more predictive of future performance, so they tend to have more weight. Therefore, while reviewing the checklist of what to bring to a job interview, think about how you would answer these questions to show yourself in the best light.

What Documents Should Applicants Bring to an Interview?

One of the most important things to remember when going on a job interview is to bring the relevant documents. For example, if you are applying for a position in healthcare, remember to take your professional license and certification with you. Likewise, if you are applying for an accounting position, you will need to bring your resume and copies of your transcripts.

Other documents required for a job interview include letters of recommendation and references. By bringing the documents, you can show the employer that you are a serious candidate and well-prepared for the interview.

A Copy of Your Resume

Most people know that they should bring a copy of their resume to a job interview, but some may mistakenly assume their interviewer already has one on hand. In reality, it is always best to stay on the safe side and bring your copy to the interview. This way, you can be sure the interviewer has all the necessary information.

Contact Information for at Least Three References

On a job application, employers will often ask for references — people who can speak to your work ethic and abilities. If you’re not sure what to take to an interview in terms of references, here are a few guidelines:

  • Try to choose people who have directly supervised you in the past. These individuals can attest to your specific skills and work habits.
  • Look for references who can speak to your character and your professional abilities. Employers want to know that you’re not only competent but also reliable and easy to work with.
  • Make sure to choose references that have something positive to say about you.

Your Portfolio, if Applicable

Your interview portfolio is a reflection of your hard work and dedication to your art. Therefore, it should be well-organized and properly formatted, with each piece showcasing your unique skills and vision. If you have the opportunity to present your portfolio in person, take advantage of it! This is your chance to make a great first impression and show off your talent. 

Make sure to bring an interview folder with plenty of copies of your work and any business cards or other promotional materials you may have.

Prepare a List of Questions You Want to Ask the Interviewer

Bringing a list of questions to ask the interviewer can be very helpful and show that you’re genuinely interested in the position and the company. It also helps keep the conversation going and can give you a better sense of whether the job is right for you. Some good questions include:

  • What are the day-to-day responsibilities of the job?
  • What sort of training or experience is required?
  • What are the long-term goals of the organization?
  • What are the challenges that come with the job?

By asking thoughtful questions, you can gain valuable insights into the role and gauge whether it fits your skills and interests well.

Dress Professionally — Dress for Success

It’s important to dress professionally for a job interview, even if the company has a casual dress code. The interviewer wants to see that you can put together a polished look and that you understand the importance of first impressions.

In addition, a professional appearance shows that you respect the interviewer and the process. Moreover, it may also boost your confidence. Of course, you don’t want to go overboard. A suit and tie may not be ideal for a casual environment — instead, aim for a neat appearance that still reflects the company’s culture.

Sell Yourself — Explain Why You’re the Best Candidate for the Job

Your checklist should also include selling yourself. That means highlighting what you can do and who you are. Ask yourself, “why am I the best candidate for the job?”

“First, I have a proven track record of success. I’ve excelled at meeting and surpassing expectations in my previous roles. But more than that, I’m a quick learner who always looks for new ways to grow and develop. I’m also a strong communicator, with the ability to build relationships and foster teamwork. Simply put, I have the skills and qualities essential for success in this role, and that’s why I’m confident I’m the best candidate for the job.”

However, make sure you don’t oversell yourself — according to statistics, 76% of employers will reject candidates who appear arrogant. The key is finding the balance between your confidence and showing the employer you respect their authority.

Arrive on Time and Be Prepared to Stay for the Entire Interview

Being on time and staying for the entire interview can be crucial when interviewing for a job. First, arriving on time shows that you respect the interviewer’s time and are serious about the opportunity. Second, being prepared to stay for the entire interview demonstrates that you are interested in the position and are willing to invest the time to learn more about it.

Following these simple tips can make a positive impression on potential employers and help you secure the job.

What to Bring to a Part-Time Job Interview

Part-time job interviews can be just as nerve-wracking as full-time interviews, but there are a few key things you can do to set yourself up for success.

To begin with, make sure you dress the part. Even if the job doesn’t require a lot of professional attire, it’s essential to show you’re taking the interview seriously.

Next, be prepared to talk about your availability. Part-time jobs often require a flexible schedule, so it’s important to let the interviewer know you’re willing to work around other commitments.

Lastly, be ready to sell yourself. Just because it’s a part-time job doesn’t mean it’s not worth your best effort. Highlight your skills and experience and explain why you would be valuable to the team.

What to Bring to an Interview as a Teenager

Teenagers often face a lot of pressure when it comes to job interviews. After all, they’re competing against adults who often have more experience and higher qualifications. However, there are a few things teenagers can do to increase their chances of success.

Even if the job doesn’t require a suit, dressing up for the interview will show that you’re serious about the position.

Also, be prepared to answer questions about your experience and qualifications. If you don’t have much work experience, highlight any volunteer or extracurricular activities that have helped you develop relevant skills.

Finally, try to relax and be yourself. Interviewers are looking for personable and easy-to-talk candidates, so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.

Learn more: How to Choose a Career: Fail-Proof Guidelines

What Should You Not Bring to an Interview?

Leaving a good impression is essential for job interviews, and one part of it is knowing what to bring and what not to bring.

First, you should not bring anything that would take away from your professional appearance or distract the interviewer, such as a cell phone, extravagant jewelry, or overly casual clothes.

Second, avoid bringing items that would make you look unprofessional, such as chewing gum or candy.

Third, don’t bring anything that would make the interviewer uncomfortable, such as a gift or a personal item.

Lastly, you shouldn’t bring anything that could be perceived as inappropriate, such as cigarettes or alcohol. Moreover, you may be required to take a drug test during the hiring process.

How to Follow Up After a Job Interview

After a job interview, it is always a good idea to follow up with a thank-you note. You can use it to thank the interviewer for their time and restate your interest in the position. In addition, a thank-you note is a chance to address any concerns the interviewer may have about your qualifications.

Finally, following up after an interview shows that you are organized and proactive, two qualities employers highly value. Therefore, taking the time to write a thoughtful thank-you note can give you a competitive edge and help you land the job of your dreams.

What to Bring to an Interview | The Takeaway

So, what should you bring to an interview? The answer is simple – bring any necessary documents for the position you applied for, and don’t be late. A well-prepared applicant stands out from the competition and has a higher chance of landing the job. With our checklist of items, you’ll be ready for anything the interviewer throws your way. Finally, remember to stay positive throughout the interview!

Frequently Asked Questions