What to bring to a job interview

Once you have gotten a job interview, be sure that you are well-prepared, as this is likely your main chance to convince an employer that you are the best candidate for the job. Your attitude, appearance and answers to questions are the major factors that will determine if you will get the job or not.

Competition is very high among job applicants, and you are probably one of the few interviewees.

Having this at the back of your mind, you want to leave a lasting impression that increases your chances of getting a call back for further interviews with others or a job offer.

When preparing for a job interview, it’s important for you to first understand the ‘Interview Process’.

Job Interview Process:
Initially, you may meet with a hiring manager or other human resources employee. Their job is to screen the candidates and select the number of candidates that are qualified for the next level of interviews, which will likely involve the board management team.
Regardless of whoever you’re meeting, you would want to give a positive impression, as interviewers will likely discuss you among themselves and with other key staff.

Depending on the position that you’re been interviewed for, you may be asked to take a timed written test. The employer might want to confirm and test your current skills, which may help them make the proper hiring decision.

READ ALSO: 10 Insider tips to help you survive in the Corporate world

Preparing for a Job Interview:
To prepare for a job interview, you should do the following:

  • Business Attire: Make sure your dressing and appearance is neat and clean. Dress appropriately for the interview by wearing professional work attire such as a skirt or pantsuit and close-toed shoes. Accessories such as
    handbags, ties, and belts should be moderate/simple.
  • Directions: If you’re not sure of the location of where you are going, bring directions and any instructions the hiring manager may have given to you. Furthermore, if one was sent, bring an email confirmation of the appointment. Determine how long your journey will take either by viewing a map application such as Google maps, or a train or bus schedule. Leave for the interview 30 minutes earlier than the set time due to any unforeseen delays, as you want to arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes early. If you have never been to the venue before, why not do a trial-run a few days before to estimate the time?
  • Research about the organization: Make sure you become familiar with your prospective employer before the interview, as you may be asked questions about your familiarity with their business and operations. Most company websites have an “About” section that gives information on a company’s history as well as its beliefs and goals. The interviewer will be
    impressed with your knowledge of their organization, products or services.
  • Make sure you find out what format the interview will take? Depending on the job and organization, the interview might be a one-to-one, a panel or group interview.
  • As an applicant, you should also find out what resources are available. If you have been asked to do a written test or a
    presentation, you will need to call ahead to find out what facilities are available and what you can take into the hall.
  • You should also prepare answers to some of the common interview questions.
  • Have you printed out the CV or the form you sent in application for the job? This will help you to prepare for any specific questions about your application, your work history and experience.
  • As a job candidate, you should also prepare examples of when you have used skills relevant to the job. You can identify the kind of skills you will need by reading through the person specification/requirement. It is important to prepare examples in advance.
  • List of Questions for the Interviewer/Employer: Have a list of questions ready to ask the interviewer if they request for questions at the end of the interview. You may also ask questions based on the conversations you and the interviewer had, which shows good listening and comprehension skills. This is your chance to impress the interviewer by asking questions that shows you understand the organization and the role you would be working in. Remember to also be flexible and if possible relate the question to something discussed in the interview.

What to Bring to the Interview:

  • Identification Card: Candidates may be asked to show an identification card, or you might need it to fill a job application form., Also, come with your driver’s license or any other sort of identification with you.
  • Jotter and Pen: Ensure you come with a jotter and pen so you can note down names of the management team, company information, or questions that may come up during the interview, bringing a jotter and pen shows that you came to the interview ready.
  • Names of Contacts: Make sure you write down the name of the person you’re interviewing with on your jotter. It can be easy to forget a name, and you don’t want to be embarrassed. Also come with the name of the person who arranged the interview, if it’s a different person. You might also need to provide this name to security guards once you arrive at the
  • Several Copies of Your CV: Come with several copies of your CV to distribute upon request. Retain a copy for yourself, as it will assist you in filling out the job application form.
  • A Reference List: Candidates should bring a printed list of references to give to the hiring manager. Include at least two professional references and their contact details. Choose references that can confirm your ability and skills to perform the job for which you are applying. Also, keep a copy for yourself because you might need the information to fill a job application form.
  • Work Samples: Depending on the kind of job that you are interviewing for, you might need to bring samples of your work. Bringing samples of your work is a way of convincing the employer that you are experienced in what you do and this can also increase your chances of you getting the job.
  • Portfolio: A portfolio is an efficient way to package all the items you’re bringing to the interview. It shows the employers that you are organized and ready to provide documents upon request.
  • A Nice Briefcase or Bag: You should have a nice-looking bag or briefcase of some kind to hold the items and all the credentials you bring to a job interview. A lovely leather briefcase or bag will make you look professional, and it’s also an organized way to keep all the other documents you bring to a job interview.
  • Make the Best Impression: Being well-prepared can give you the best chances of succeeding at a job interview. Prepare yourself mentally by researching about the company and also researching answers to interview questions that relates to the role you applied for.
  • You also need to answer questions confidently and intelligently: You need to believe in yourself to convince an employer that you have the skills-set and knowledge to do the job.
  • A good attitude: A good attitude and enthusiastic energy are among the most important things you can bring to an interview. “You want the interviewer to feel your eagerness and view you as a team player that they can picture in their organization,”
  • Your co-curricular certificates and awards may also help you secure the job – it reinforces some of the skills you have reiterated to your interviewer, such as leadership and being a team-player.
  • Emergency items: Things like deodorant, cash, a phone charger, make-up, a stain stick, and even a back-up outfit can put your mind at rest. They are all items you’re unlikely to need, but will be incredibly grateful you have if an unfortunate situation arises.
  • Accept the beverage when they offer it to you: While you should never make the mistake of bringing your own beverage into an interview, you should always accept the one they offer you. You want to come off as relaxed and composed during the interview so you can really show off that you’re the best person for the job. You’re so confident, not even a super
    stress-inducing interview that can determine your future can make you sweat. With that in mind, you’re going to want that water when you’vebeen talking for a solid 30 minutes. Plus, saying “Yes, I’d love one, thanks!” is the best thing to do when you’re offered a beverage, let me ask…have you ever rejected a drink from your mother? Nope, probably not. Just take the
    beverage and say ‘thank you for the tea’.
  • Past Examples from Your Career history (Not Crammed Answers): Cramming every possible answer to every interview question and behavioral question that might come your way could make you forget some slight information, and it may also put you at risk for acting like a robot on default. Instead, consider thinking about how you would give examples
    from your career story when asked questions like, “Tell me about a time when you disappointed a client and had to make it up”, “What are your weaknesses and your strengths”, or “Describe a stressful situation you had with a colleague, and how you handled it. “You might even write down a few notes on your jotter that you brought along to refer to later. You are
    going for that interview with the expectation that it will be a genuine and engaging conversation. It is really hard to be engaging if you are still trying to remember what you had crammed for every question asked.

In addition to this, now that we already know “What to bring to a job interview”, this article would not be complete if we do not talk about “What Not to bring or do” in a job interview.

Jenny Foss, a renowned and experienced career strategist and recruiter once got a call from a corporate HR manager. She had just interviewed one of her candidates; someone they felt was filled with potentials. Apparently, the team had
decided he wouldn’t be moving on to the next round.

The HR manager reported that he had brought in a bag of groceries, and when offered the chance to tuck it away in the coat closet, he refused. She didn’t come right out and admit to me that this was the specific issue that prevented him from getting the job, but she definitely made it clear that the awkwardness of that moment did not help his candidacy.

So if we have established the fact that a bag of food should not be taken along with you to a job interview, what other things should you NOT bring to an interview?

What Not to Bring or Do 

Doing the following will likely ruin your chances of getting the job:

  • Don’t carry in your morning coffee or protein shake.
  • Don’t arrive the building talking on a cell phone or texting. Turn off your phone before you enter the building and store it in a handbag or briefcase.
  • Don’t wear a hat or cap; leave it at home.
  • Don’t chew gum or suck candy.
  • Don’t overwhelm the interviewer with your piercings or tattoos. If you have a lot of piercings or earrings, remove them, so they aren’t a distraction. One pair of earrings, such as small studs or hoops, is acceptable. Do your best to cover your tattoos.
  • Don’t wear strong perfume or cologne; you never know if someone is allergic in the office.
  • Don’t wear leisure clothes such as jeans, workout wear, sneakers, or flip flops. Wear a pants or dress suit and close-toed shoes.
  • Don’t go for an interview with a messy and unwashed hair. Make sure your hair is clean and off of your face.
  • Do not go for an interview with your parents: Apparently, some people think this is okay. Even if you’re a high schooler applying for your first job and your mom drove you to the interview, make sure she remains in the car (or goes and does something else.
  • Don’t be rigid and stiff; show off your personality. No interviewer has ever left a meeting and said “Wow! That person had no personality at all. I can’t even remember their name — let’s hire them immediately!” While you should always present yourself as a professional, it is your charisma and personality that is going to get you remembered and land you that job offer. They already know that you have the skills needed for the job, so now is your chance to show them the person behind the CV. You will have lots of opportunities to show off your personality with questions like “What motivates you?” or “What do you do outside of work?” Just make sure to keep it semi-professional.

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