What should I take to my job interview?
Thorough preparation for a job interview is the key to maximising your chances of being successful. Sometimes this can mean taking examples of your work, or evidence of your past successes with you.
Essential items for a job interview
Although you won't have been specifically asked for them, there are a few things you should have on you on your way to the meeting:
- Your invite – which should also have on it the directions to where you're going and the names of the people you will be meeting.
- The job description - in most cases you will have received a job description some time before the interview. Make sure you take along a copy of that as it will provide a good reference point to glance at should you lose your train of thought.
- Your CV – the copy you sent may have mislaid, so if you take a few along you can give one to each interviewer rather than asking them to share. You may also be asked to fill out an additional application form on the premises where your interview is taking place. Having your own CV with you will help you remember details that you need to complete the form.
- A bottle of water – you will probably be offered a drink, but it's a good idea to have a drink on you just in case you start to dry up.
- A notepad – before you go you should note down a list of questions for your interviewer, and you will also have a place to job down any thoughts as your discussion progresses.
If you work in a creative industry, such as advertising, architecture or design, it should be second nature to take examples of your work to show what you can do and what you have done.
The way you present your portfolio is just as important as the way you present yourself. Make sure it's in a smart folder and only pick out a few pieces that show you in your best light. There's no point trying to show your entire back catalogue of work so if you would like to show off more, host it online and let your interviewer have a link.
Even outside these sectors, you may be asked to bring in certain items by your interviewer such as your passport, working visa, or driving licence. If you want to prove your worth but don't have any specific examples of your work to show off, you may also want to take along:
- Letters of commendation
- Client testimonials
- Company awards
- Target achievement results
- Internal or external press clippings
- Customer satisfaction surveys
If you have reference letters, bring along copies to discuss during the interview - or to leave behind.
If you don't have direct reference letters, take a list of three or four professional contacts who have agreed to provide references if needed.
Don't take too much
The first interview is often not the place to take along a sack full of items showing why you're the perfect candidate and this may distract them from the real selling point – you.
Bring the bare minimum with you so you can converse without having to rustle through a bag. It will actually work to your advantage if you leave things at home as it will give you an excuse to get in touch after the interview to send examples of your work, and to thank them for the interview.