The 6 items that you absolutely should bring to every job interview


Applying for jobs is an arduous task. You have spent weeks wordsmithing the same 15 lines of our resume, and have applied to what feels like countless open positions. You may start to feel like your mind is numbing! You have enough on your mind with an upcoming interview looming, so let's make sure that you have all of the critical items that you'll need for the big day. 

  1. Appropriate attire to bring to the interview: Every role is different and expected attire will vary depending on your specific situation. Not every interview may require a full suit, for example. If you are sure that you need to wear a suit to your upcoming interview, apply some fresh thinking to design your outfit and accessories for the role. An ad agency and a bank may both expect a suit and tie, but they may perceive certain style choices differently. For retail and service roles where a suit might be too formal, still focus on ways to showcase your professional polish, such as with nicely fitting (or tailored) clothes, quality footwear, and accessories. Do your research for each company and role using services like Glassdoor to get a sense of what to expect on interview day so that you're not regretting an outfit decision.

  2. Bring printed copies of your resume to your interview: It is a good rule of thumb to print twice as many resume prints as you think you may need going into an interview. Having resume copies handy for each interviewee shows preparedness and respect for their time. While it's likely the hiring manager will have a copy of your resume handy, it's very possible that your hiring manager will ask their colleagues to interview you on short notice.

  3. Bring pens to you interview: Bring at least 2 working pens.  

  4. A leather (or faux leather) portfolio for your interview: The leather portfolio is your homebase during an interview. Your portfolio should hold your notepad, pen, and keep copies of your resume clean and crisp. Any information that your potential employer shares with you, such as benefits information or a paper job application, would go safely into this leather portfolio. The portfolio serves a functional role and signals your professionalism and preparedness. If you don't have a leather portfolio or the means to get one prior to an interview, select the most professional folder that you can find at your local Target or CVS.

  5. Bring background knowledge and questions to your interview: Before the interview, you need to understand the products and services that the business offers and how they, as a business, make money. In a restaurant or retail environment this may be fairly straightforward, but this may not always be obvious. Take a bit of time to understand who pays your employer for their products and/or services, and why. You should similarly plan to conduct basic background research on your interviewers, if you know who they will be beforehand. Understanding their work history and role within the organization may indicate what they are most interested in learning about you during the interview process. Use the foundation you have built on the company and interviewers to generate a set of smart questions that are relevant to your role, the company, and interviewer. It's okay to write these facts, notes, and questions down in your notepad and peek at them when needed - the interview isn't a closed-book exam. Your preparedness will be a strong, positive signal.

  6. Bring a positive attitude to your interview: No matter how polished and prepared you are, few people want to hire people that they do not want to work with. Bring a positive attitude to every interview, and leave your interviewer feeling energized and excited about their next new hire!