What to Bring to a Job Interview

Job interviews can be so nerve wracking. Your heart races, you start to sweat, and maybe you forget something important.

A way to help ease the nerves is knowing what to bring to a job interview and preparing ahead.


Why It’s So Hard to Get an Interview

headache from laptop radiation

Does it seem like no matter how many applications you fill out you never get that fateful email or phone call? Is it frustrating?

Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one feeling that pain. It can be so hard not to spiral into negative thoughts about yourself. But try not to. There could be a few reasons why it didn’t happen.

The Job is Filled

The job could be filled before you even applied. Sometimes companies post job openings as a formality, when really they already have someone in mind internally.


So this means you didn’t do anything wrong, it just means that they weren’t really looking for you in the first place.


If you wonder why they don’t take the posting down once it’s filled, it could be out of their hands. Sometimes, job sites will find the job opening and spread it around. The company probably doesn’t know that it’s in all these other places.

You Didn’t Follow Instructions

There’s nothing that will get your resume trashed faster than you not following the directions. You need to make sure you follow the instructions to the letter. If you can’t do that, then why should they hire you?


It could be helpful to double check the instructions before you submit your application, just to be on the safe side.

You Weren’t the Right Fit

Sometimes there’s nothing you did wrong. It’s just that you weren’t the right match. This could mean that you didn’t have the skills they were looking for, or that there was someone else that was a better fit than you.

Don’t Be Afraid to Follow Up

If it’s been a few weeks and you haven’t heard from them, there’s nothing wrong with following up. With the amount of applications a hiring manager gets, it would be easy for you to slip through the cracks.


You can give a quick call or send a short email asking about the status of your application. Don’t be afraid to seem annoying. If anything, it shows how badly you want this job.

Things You Do and Do Not Bring to Interviews

You probably already know that you shouldn’t show up in sweats, shouldn’t curse, and don’t wear so much perfume that you affect the people around you.

But there a few mistakes that people seem to consistently make when it comes to interviews.


Your Parents

Yes, there are people who will bring their parents to interviews. These are usually entry level jobs, but still, it’s awkward. It shows that you are not mature enough for the interview, let alone the job.


Don’t Chew Gum or Candy

We mean to not do this during the interview. It’s disrespectful. Also, when you talk during an interview, do you really think the other person wants to see whatever is in your mouth?


Play with Your Phone

Do not text, place a call, or play a game during an interview. Make sure you turn the ringer off before you walk in. There’s nothing more embarrassing than having your ringtone blare during your interview.


Food and Drink

Don’t bring in any food or drink. You could keep a water bottle in your bag so you can quench your thirst.

But do not bring a coffee, a breakfast sandwich, or anything like that. It looks unorganized and unprofessional.


10 Things to Bring to a Job Interview

documents for job interview

Knowing how hard it can be to get an interview, you can understand why it’s so important to be prepared for it.

There’s are the basics: you should dress nicely, arrive on time, smell good, and know what job you are interviewing for.

But there are a bunch of tiny things you can do to make you seem like a better candidate. It will show that you are prepared, organized, and ready to work. These may seem small, but interviewers will notice how prepared you are.


1. Extra copies of your Resume

Don’t assume that the interviewer is going to have a copy of your resume on hand. They are interviewing multiple people. They are also so busy that they could have forgotten to print one out ahead of time.

Show how prepared you are from the start by having multiple copies of your resume.

It will also help you to have a copy, just in case you need a refresher of your own work history or maybe get so nervous that you forget everything. It can happen to anyone.


2. List of Questions to Ask

Do some research about the company and, if you know who it is, the person interviewing you. Write out some questions about the company, the staff, and their goals. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about vacations, sick days, and how often people are able to climb up the ladder.

Make as many questions as you want. You don’t have to ask them all and you may come up with more on the fly during the interview.

But, knowing you are prepared will make you feel more confident and that will reflect well in your interview.


3. Reference List

Like with the resume, don’t assume that they will have your reference list on hand. Have a few copies so they can look at it and ask questions.

Make sure you have at least 3 professional references. No friends and family. Pick ones that will match well for the job you are applying for. Make sure you have their name, number, email, position, and how long you’ve known/ worked for them.


4. Notepad and Pen

There’s nothing worst then getting key information and forgetting all of it. You can jot down names of people, company info, or questions you come up with during the interview.

Don’t worry about being considered rude. The interviewer is probably doing the same. Plus, it shows that you are prepared and engaged.

Just don’t take so many notes that you don’t have eye contact for long periods of time.


5. Folder

There’s nothing that screams unprepared than arriving with your papers scattered everywhere and wrinkled. Bring a folder with all your paperwork.

It will make you look more like a professional. Plus, you have a place to store any paperwork that’s given to you during the interview.


6. Identification

You never know what sort of ID will be needed. You should bring your driver’s license, maybe your social security card, and other documents that are mentioned by the interviewer.


7. Directions

If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll probably just use GPS. You might be wondering what directions we are talking about.

Well, what happens when you arrive at the building? Will you remember what floor, what room, how to get there?

There’s no shame in printing out the email with all that information and bringing it with you. It’s better than not doing it, being lost, and being late.


8. Gum or Other Breath Freshener

If it will help you feel better, bring something to freshen your breath with. Make sure to do this before the interview, not during.


9. A Smile

Yes, this is corny, but it’s still a good tip. Make sure that you are open and friendly when you arrive. No one wants to hire someone who is angry or sad. You want to show that you are the right person for the job and a team player.


10. Be Mentally Prepared for Anything 

Not every interview is the same. Some interviewers may ask you out of the box questions like “If you could be a superhero, what would your super power be?”

Why they ask these kinds of questions depends on the person. For the most part, it’s because they want to get a better feel for your personality.

They may also ask you about accomplishments that aren’t on your resume.

Play pretend in your head to feel more confident about talking about yourself. It can feel weird to talk about yourself, almost like it’s bragging.


Final Thing to Consider

You can do all this and still not get the job. It’s hard not to be discouraged but it’s a fact. Interviews are to see if you would be a good “fit.” They want to interview you because they feel that you have the skills they are looking for.

Companies have certain environments and personalities. So they interview people to see if they have a matching personality.

So sometimes, there’s nothing you can do to change it. Don’t try to change your personality to fit the company either. That will just make you feel miserable once you get the job and start working there.

If you aren’t a good fit, then you aren’t a good fit. There are other jobs out there.

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