Ten things to take to a job interview

Congratulations! You’ve got an interview, so what now? You’re one step closer to getting the job, now all you’ve got to do is prove to your prospective employer that you’re the right person for the job. Whether you’re applying for executive positions, part-time work or student jobs preparation and thought are key to the process.

Job interviews are stressful enough but a bit of pre-planning for the day will help to lessen the stress and help your confidence. Here’s a list of things to take along to the interview. Good Luck!

1) Job description

You’ll either have a copy yourself from when the job was advertised or will have been sent one. Make sure you take a copy with you as it’ll be a good reference point to glance at to help you stay focused.

2) Instructions and directions

Your interview letter or email will have given you details of where the interview is to be held and who it will be with. Keep these details with you so that you have the directions of how to get to the interview and have the contact details of the interviewer or the company, just in case of any unforeseen delays. You might be able to control what you say in the interview but you can’t control traffic or public transport problems. When you arrive, before you enter the building, check you know the name of the person or department you’re asking for, rather than rummaging in your briefcase or scrolling through emails looking for their name at the reception desk, not a great first impression. Even if you think applying for uni holiday work or student jobs doesn’t need all that fuss, it does and it sets you up for how you will approach other things in the future.

3) Your cv and/or application form

Take along a few copies of your cv for a number of reasons. You may be facing an interview panel and so would be able to give each person a copy so they don’t have to share. It is also acceptable to have a copy of your cv yourself for your reference during the interview. Some firms may require you to complete additional forms while you are with them so a copy of your cv will allow you to complete this accurately.

4) Pen and notepad

Have these easily to hand so that you’re not rummaging through your bag or briefcase or even having to ask the interviewer for a pen. It shows you’re organised and can think ahead. It gives you the opportunity to take notes about the position and any additional questions that might come to mind during the course of the interview.

5) Folder/briefcase

Look organised by bringing your paperwork in a folder or briefcase. Prepare this days in advance so you’re not hunting around for certificates on the day or can’t print off your cv as your printer has run out of ink that morning.

6) Questions

One inevitable question the interviewer will ask is “Is there anything you would like to ask us?”. You know that question is coming so be ready with a few smart pre-prepared questions, along the lines of how is the role likely to evolve within the company or what opportunities are there for training and professional development. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask about what to expect next such as when will a decision be made or whether there will second interviews.

7) References

If you have reference letters then take some copies of these so they can be left with the interviewer. If you don’t have letters then bring written contact details for your referees who are known to you professionally and have already agreed to provide a reference for you.

8) Portfolio of work

Depending on the position for which you’re applying you may need to provide a portfolio with samples of your work. The clue is in the word ‘sample’ – the employer will not want to see everything you’ve ever produced or worked on, instead showcase your best pieces. Less is more.

9) Extras

You may be asked to bring certain papers or items by the interviewer or HR department  such as ID or certificates. If you’ve been asked to bring them in, then bring them in, unless there is a particularly valid reason. Otherwise it may come across that you can’t follow simple instructions or pay attention to detail.

Also, a small bottle water is handy, just in case you start to dry up during the interview process. Breath mints are very handy to freshen up but get rid of gum or sweets before you arrive for the interview.

10) Yourself

Bring yourself, be yourself and be genuine. It’ll make the whole interview a process a lot less stressful.

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