What to Bring to an Interview: 11 Must Have Items to Take to a Job Interview in 2023
What to Bing to an Interview
Did you recently get scheduled for a job interview? If so, congrats!
But before you head into the office, you should have a good understanding of what to bring with when that interview day arrives. Here are our top 11 must have items to make your interview a success.
- 11 Must Have Items for Your Job Interview
- What Do You Wear for a Job Interview?
- What Should You NOT Bring to an Interview?
- Is it Okay to Bring a Backpack to an Interview?
- Is it Okay to Bring a Gift to a Job Interview?
After years of college and dozens of applications, you’ve finally landed an interview for your dream job—congratulations!
To give yourself the best chance of receiving a job offer, it helps to be prepared in advance. Make sure you’re prepared on the big day by bringing along the following before you leave the house.
Note: You will likely feel slightly frazzled and/or nervous the morning of the big job interview so try to get everything ready the night before.
11 Must Have Items for your Job Interview
1. Copies of Your Resume
Do you need to bring a resume to a job interview?
Although it’s an increasingly digital world, it’s still smart to bring along a few printed copies of your resume. You can leave them with the interviewer, as the copies are useful for other key staff members, such as the HR team.
Keep them in a folder so they stay in pristine condition and don’t get crumbled on the way.
Are you sure your resume is looking its best? If not, brush up on different ways to format and present your resume to make sure it gets the notice it deserves. If you don’t want to write it yourself, take a look at our Top 5 Resume Writing Services for help!
2. Breath Mints or Gum
First impressions matter, so leave the coffee breath at the door.
It’s helpful to always have gum, breath mints, or even a travel toothbrush so you can freshen up before walking in. That way, you’ll arrive minty-fresh!
If you do pop in some gum or a mint, make sure to toss them out before walking into the interview. Chewing gum in a job interview is a definite NO!
3. Briefcase or Bag
When walking into an interview, you want to look professional— your battered old college backpack isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Invest in a stylish but subdued briefcase or tote bag.
You can use it to store everything you need for the interview, and it will show the interviewers that you’re a polished, put-together job candidate.
4. Pen and Notepad
What do you need for a job interview? It seems obvious, but don’t forget a notepad and pen.
You may want to jot down important points during the interview, make note of a question so you don’t forget it, or write down some key stats about the company.
Depending on the industry, it may look impolite to pull out your tablet or smartphone during the interview, so the old fashioned pen and paper is still the best option for taking notes on the interview.
5. Portable Phone Charger
An interview is such a big opportunity that you don’t want to risk anything going wrong.
Should anything go wrong and you’re delayed, how can you call to say you’re running late if your phone battery is drained? Or, if you have the business address saved in your phone, how will you get to the venue if you lose power?
Be prepared for anything by bringing a portable phone charger and USB cable to the interview (in your bag)— there are many affordable options that will keep you fully charged.
Plus, if you’re asked to send through any details after the interview, you’ll have enough juice to get connected and fire off a few important emails.
6. Stain Stick
Just in case, throw a stain stick or stain removal pen in your bag. Accidents can happen at the worst times, and the last thing you want is to walk in for an interview with a stain on your white button-down.
Even if you avoid eating or having a drink after leaving the house, it only takes one splash from a passing truck or a person dropping food on the subway to ruin your look, so be prepared.
If you’re particularly worried about stains, avoid wearing white or pale colors and go for something darker, which is easier to hide a spill.
Being nervous can often lead to increased perspiration, making us feel sweaty and comfortable.
If you’re concerned about this, or if you live in a hot climate, you may feel better if you bring along some deodorant for the interview.
Even though no one will likely notice except for you, it might help you feel more self-confident if you know you sweat often.
That way, you can freshen up in the bathroom before walking into the lobby, so you don’t need to worry that you’re not making a good first impression.
8. Questions You Want to Ask
Before heading to an interview, make a list (either mentally or on paper), of questions you’d like to ask at the interview.
Asking intelligent questions shows that you’ve done your research on the company, you’re interested, and eager to learn more. However, it can be hard to come up with questions on the spot, so make it easier for yourself by preparing in advance.
You can also give some thought to how you will answer some of the most common questions asked in interviews, such as your strengths and weaknesses, or how you’ve handled challenging situations in previous roles.
While it’s impossible to know exactly what questions will be asked, you can practice at home by asking a friend or parent to help conduct a mock interview.
9. Address and Contact Details for Interview
Make sure you have a written copy of all of the interview details, including the company address, the person you’re meeting with, and the time of the interview.
Make sure you have a contact number as well, in case you happen to get lost or you’re running late. (However, leave early so this doesn’t happen!)
Even if it’s saved on your phone, a hard copy is useful as a back-up.
10. Water Bottle
If you don’t already have one, bring along a reusable water bottle to the interview. You don’t want to walk in with a dry mouth or start coughing because you’re dehydrated, so make sure to drink enough water on the day of the interview.
If it’s going to be a long day of multiple interviews, you may also want to pack a healthy snack to keep you energized throughout the day.
Almonds, a granola bar, or fruit are always good options.
Have you decided who you’ll use as a professional reference? You should have these names confirmed before the interview so you can bring in hard copies if you’re asked.
A reference should be someone you’ve worked with in a professional capacity, such as a former manager or senior colleague. If you have a limited work history, a valued college professor can be a good option.
The reference should know you well enough to speak to your character, your achievements, and your ability to work effectively. Before putting someone’s name down as a reference, ask them first—but most people are very happy to help.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What Do You Wear for a Job Interview?
If you’re unsure on what to wear to an interview, you’re not alone – it’s a big decision.
For traditionally formal industries, like law and finance, a suit is expected, or a skirt or trousers and a blazer for women.
For other industries, men can do well with trousers and a jacket or a button-down shirt. Women might want to wear a sweater with dress pants, a smart dress or skirt with a cardigan, or a blouse and trousers.
Whatever you select, make sure you’re comfortable in the outfit. Prepare it the night before, laying out what you want to wear and making sure your outfit is ironed and clean—this will save you valuable time in the morning.
If you’re working with a recruiter or a career counselor, ask them what they recommend in terms of attire, based on their knowledge of the industry.
What Not to Bring to a Job interview?
It is generally a good idea to avoid bringing any unnecessary items to a job interview. Here are a few things you should not bring to a job interview:
- Additional people: Unless you have specifically been told that it is okay to bring someone with you, it is best to come to the interview alone. Don’t pull a Step Brothers!
- Electronic devices (that are turned on): It is best to leave your phone and other electronic devices turned off and out of sight during the interview.
- Food or drinks: It is not appropriate to bring food or drinks to a job interview. If you absolutely need to, water or some form of liquid is okay to help with dry mouth.
- Headphones: You might have used them during your bus ride over but make sure to stash them away before the interview starts.
- Animals/Pets: While the hiring manager may very well be a dog lover, that doesn’t mean you can bring skip with to your interview.
Overall, it is important to be respectful of your interviewer’s time and to keep the focus on your qualifications and suitability for the job.
Is it okay to bring a Purse or backpack to an interview?
While it’s not recommended, it is still okay to bring a small backpack or purse into an interview.
Ideally, you’ll want to keep your belongings in a portfolio, folder, or document holder. Don’t bring a large bag, full backpack, or large purse of any kind.
Is it OK to bring a gift to a job interview?
While it’s okay to bring a small gift to an interview, it’s not necessary or recommended. They are taking time out of their day to speak with you but that’s part of their job responsibility.
There are other ways of sticking out in an interview such as properly preparing for the interview questions, dressing the part, or sending a follow up “thank you email” after it wraps up.
can you bring notes to an interview?
While not common, you can bring notes you have taken prior to an interview. When it comes time for the interview itself, make sure you make the hiring manager aware that you brought notes and would like to reference them on occasion.
Wrapping Up | What to Bring to an Interview
Interviews are an essential, but stressful, reality for most college graduates. However, now that you know what to bring, you can prepare in advance so that you have everything you need.
To recap out must have interview items:
- Copies of Your Resume
- Questions to Ask the Interviewer
- Address for Interview Location
- Breath Mints or Gum
- Briefcase or Bag
- Pen and Notepad
- Portable Phone Charger
- Stain Stick
Contact us with any questions or ideas about the job application or interview process. Our friendly and experienced team would be glad to help guide you through this tricky time.
Look at a job interview not as an impossible challenge, but as an amazing opportunity. Do your research, plan ahead, and before you know it, you’ll be signing a letter of acceptance!
Title: What to Bring to an Interview in 2023
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Author: Reid is a contributor to theJub. He’s an employment and marketing enthusiast who studied business before taking on various recruiting, management, and marketing roles. More from the author. | Author Profile