When you have the job interview jitters, it can be hard to remember everything you need to do. You have a million things on your mind, including directions to get to the interviewer’s office, your main talking points, and some topics on hand for pre-interview chit-chat. One way to keep the most important things top of mind is to make a checklist of everything you’ll need to bring with you. This way, you won’t have to worry that you forgot something. The more prepared you are for the interview, the more relaxed you’ll be.
Career expert Louise Giordano said your level of preparation can be the deciding factor when it comes to a job offer.
The biggest mistake in interviewing is not being fully prepared. It behooves job-seekers to use every conceivable means possible to prepare for the interview and to allow ample time to fully prepare. Understand that interviewing is a skill; as with all skills, preparation and practice enhance the quality of that skill. Preparation can make the difference between getting an offer and getting rejected.
Are you prepared? Here are some things you should always bring to a job interview.
1. Extra copies of your resume
Make sure to bring a copy for yourself as well as each person who will be interviewing you. Your interviewers may not have the time to print out your resume or may have lost the copy, so always have extras. Career coach Lisa Quast said it’s best to be overprepared. “I always recommend bringing four to five copies because you never know when things will go so well that the hiring manager will have you interview with others from the department or with the hiring manager’s boss. They might also ask you to leave one or two copies for HR personnel. It’s always best to have more copies than you’ll need,” Quast wrote in her Forbes column.
2. Change of clothes
Accidents happen. This is especially true when you’re nervous. If you stop to get a cup of coffee or grab a bite to eat before the interview, it’s possible you could spill your snack all over your interview outfit. The University of Southern California career center recommends bringing additional clothing just in case you have a spill. Men should carry an extra shirt and tie and women should bring an extra blouse and pair of stockings. Make sure to carry your items in a professional bag.
3. Directions to the office
Now is not the time to get lost. Prepare beforehand by taking a trial run to the interview site. Also keep a copy of the directions on you the day of the interview. If you leave early, know where you’re going, and carry a copy of the directions with you, this will reduce your chances of being late.
Career expert Heather Huhman also recommends having the contact information of the interviewer readily available. “Print out directions to the location of your interview, especially if you’ve never been there before. The worst thing you can do is get lost, which will make you late, which will most likely make you lose the job. At the top of the page, write down the name and contact information of your interviewer. This way, if something does go wrong on your way to the interview, you can let them know,” said Huhman in her column for Glassdoor.
4. Research about the company
Spend any down time you have before the interview going over your research about the company. This will help keep the information fresh in your mind so that you can quickly and intelligently answer any questions related to the employer. How well you’re able to answer questions about the company shows that you’re prepared and serious about the job.
5. A list of questions
When it comes time for you to ask questions, the pressure of the interview could make you draw a blank. You can avoid the potential embarrassment by having a list of questions in front of you. Don’t be shy about bringing a list of prepared questions. Your main goal should be to ask questions that show you’re passionate about working for the employer and that you have taken time to think about and prepare for the interview.
Human resources expert Ruth Mayhew says you can read from your list without being awkward by mentioning in passing that you have a list of questions with you. “Many recruiters wait until the end of the interview to ask, ‘Do you have any questions for me?’ in which case you should say, ‘Yes, I do, and I hope you won’t mind that I glance at the notes I’ve made. I want to make sure I understand everything we’ve discussed.’ No recruiter is going to stop you from asking prepared questions or questions that you’ve come up with during the interview. The key is to let the interviewer know that you have prepared some questions to ask without actually asking for permission to look at your notes,” advised Mayhew in her Houston Chronicle column.
More from Money & Career Cheat Sheet:
- 5 Things You Should Always Lie About in a Job Interview
- 4 Job Interview Questions That People Screw up the Most
- 3 Colors You Should Always Wear in a Job Interview