Four things to take to a job interview

Outfit? Check. Answers? Check. Checklist? Check…

OK, so you may have all of the above covered, but figuring out what to bring with you on the day of your interview can often be left until the last minute. But having the right things can be a great way to demonstrate your dedication to employers, so it’s vital to get yourself organised in advance.

We’ve already covered how to prepare for an interview, but here are four things you should always take with you on the big day:

 

  1. Copies of your CV

Firstly, make sure you print out your CV.

Although some interviewers will bring a copy with them, having your own to hand out on request will show you’re prepared (and provide them with the information they need if they forgot to bring one).

Aim to bring enough copies to accommodate for each interviewer, by checking how many people are going to be there in advance.

That way, each person will have your details to hand throughout your interview – whether it’s to refresh themselves on your skills and experience, inspire potential questions, or simply reinforce what you’re saying.

Not only is it helpful for the recruiter, having your CV nearby could also remind you of any key dates, numbers, or percentages if you draw a blank.

How to write a CV

Free CV template

 

  1. Notebook and pens

Bringing your own notebook and pen is a great way to show an employer that you’ve thought ahead.

After all, there are a variety of things that might need to be noted throughout your interview – whether it’s important names, phone numbers, or even key details about the role.

Taking the time and effort to jot these details down will demonstrate that not only are you invested in the job (and you’re paying attention), you’re also going to refer back to it when the interview’s over – whether it’s to follow up or simply review how it went.

What’s more, having these items to hand can often improve your body language – by keeping excessive gesticulation, crossed arms, or hand-to-face-touching at bay.

Just make sure you always bring a back-up. No one is going to be impressed if you run out of ink on the first word.

Body language: Dos and don’ts

Interview body language: What not to do

 

  1. Examples of your work

Fact: employers love candidates who can prove their skills with real examples.

And what’s the best way to do that? Aside from backing up your abilities on your CV, you can also bring examples of your work into an interview.

Of course, this won’t work for every industry, but could be an essential requirement for those looking for work in the media, digital, or creative fields in particular.

Possible examples could include anything from your university dissertation, essays, or any other form of written prose (whether it’s a blog post, article, or story), to design, fashion, or architecture portfolios.

And if you’re looking to break into an industry with little work experience, providing examples of how you’ve gained the required skills and abilities outside of work can be a great way to stand out.

How to start a blog

What are transferable skills?

 

  1.    Questions

OK, so you’ve prepared your answers, but what about your questions?

Every interviewer will give you the opportunity to ask questions at the end of an interview, and the worst thing you can do is say nothing. So in case you draw a blank when the time comes, it’s vital to prepare a few in advance.

Sure, you might come up with a few throughout the interview (cue: pen and notepad), but relying on that alone is risky – especially if your interviewer is particularly thorough.

And isn’t just a great way to gain more information on anything you may be unsure of. Asking questions also shows you cared enough about the role to prepare – and if you ask the right ones, are the right fit for the company.

Go in with nothing, and you’re likely to end your interview on an awkward silence…

To find out what you should be asking, read our list of job interview questions you should ask employers.

Five questions you should never ask at an interview

Pre-interview checklist

 

Honourable mentions: an umbrella, directions, a bottle of water, written references, a smile/positive attitude (and various other clichés).

 

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  • DOLORES

    As a personal assitant I do not have exmaples of my work..nor I can remember what kind of task I did that is sooo worth mentioning.. how can you prove that? always have the same answers but none of the answers I get helps.. we dont manage numbers, targets, or anything–we help on a daily basis..

    • Kath

      Hi Dolores,
      Perhaps there are a particular number of monthly meetings that you prepare agendas/minutes for, along with 2 dozen other appointments every day (international appointments?) for three directors of a company that has a turnover of £x mil each year? Effective communications with regulators, auditors, other official governing bodies perhaps?
      Don’t underestimate your impact on these important aspects of business.
      Perhaps you can find the numbers/examples and ‘relevance’ you’re after if you were to write out exactly what you do as though you were training someone new to do it – its a good way to identify all the little things you do that you take for granted that may be of some relevance for your CV, plus good interview preparation too.
      HTH.

      • DOLORES

        NO.. I dont..take minutes… just once at a previous job… at the present job I do arrange meetings but dont think is worth mentioning! the owner is one and is an Argentine family business run by one member // have no idea the turnover or anything related to finances.. never understood that word turnover..I thought it was related to the permanence of employees….. the acountant is the one relating to auditors! not me! never did it on any job.. I think I could not train anybody to work like me..everybody has their own personal style and work differently and I dont think it is worth training anybody for such simple tasks… ..I am just an assistant for goodness sake. .I dont deal with numbers, targets etc..and I am trying to find a job where I can be passiontae at what they do // I like my job as as assistan t..the industry is not very relevant. .I do have my preferences… but with the lack of jobs I cannt be choosy…

        • Kath

          I’m pretty sure that you’ll be adding value to the company otherwise you wouldn’t be there – why would they pay someone to do something that wasn’t needed? I’m not suggesting how you would train someone to work in your style, but how would you explain to someone new exactly what needed to be done, i.e. consider what wouldn’t get done if you weren’t there.
          Have you got colleagues who can share their thoughts on what your job involves?
          Auditors come in all guises… health and safety for example, not just financial auditors!
          Example: Sometimes it might be ‘just checking the fire extinguisher tester comes every year’, or ‘the electrician does the PAT testing every year’, but actually, that’s majorly important! Not having that stuff done can land massive fines and penalties for a company.
          “Simple” tasks or not – you may be surprised who may get it wrong (ever noticed how some of the ‘smartest’ people with PhDs can be really dumb when it comes to ‘basic’ stuff many people take for granted?).
          Perhaps a couple of training courses (there are loads of good deals for online training courses to be had) would help bolster your CV instead? That way, it’d demonstrate you had the skills in something even if you don’t have the experience of it in your current position.
          Don’t underestimate yourself 🙂