What to Bring to a Job Interview
Landing your first interview (or any interviews, in fact) as a fresh graduate can be very exciting, and you’ll no doubt be putting a lot of effort into preparing for it. Here’s one simple practice that can help you go from being prepared to being well-prepared: an interview kit!
While most recruiters will inform you beforehand about the documents that you should bring for the big day, having your own interview kit is always more convenient – and can sometimes even be a lifesaver!
Here’s a step-to-step guide to help you build your very own interview kit, but remember, you can always add and remove items as you see fit!
The absolute essentials
- A professional document holder and/or bag
You’ll need a professional-looking case to store your documents and other items with ease. A briefcase is a bit much for a job interview, so stick with alternatives such as professional-looking document holders or a laptop bag/tote.
For the ladies: Avoid stashing all your documents in your handbag! Make a distinction between private and professional – your handbag for personal effects, and a document holder for your professional documents. You don’t want to be seen rummaging frantically in your handbag for things!
- Directions and/or the company’s address
Always print out a copy of a map or directions to your destination and bring it with you – just in case. Sure, there’s Waze, Google Maps, and the Internet, but Murphy’s Law can hit you in many ways: phone on low battery, bad GPS connection, etc.
At the very least, make sure you have the company’s address written down somewhere in black and white. Nothing’s worse than rushing to your destination only to find that you’re unable to confirm the address because your phone’s internet connection is acting up!
- Requested documents, portfolio, copies of your résumé and cover letter
We’re pretty sure that you won’t forget to bring the documents requested by the recruiters because you’ll check, double-check, and triple-check everything.
However, do bring at least two clean copies of your résumé and cover letter along as well – especially if you know that you’re going for a panel interview. Some of the interviewers might not have read through your résumé, and you’ll want to have some copies prepared for their reference.
If you have any portfolios that can enhance your credibility and further demonstrate your skills, don’t forget to bring those too just in case!
- An old-fashioned pen and notebook
Some of you might just shrug and say, “Well, I’ve got my phone or tablet, I can always just jot stuff in there”, but remember, not all recruiters are receptive of you abruptly booting up your tablet and scribbling on it with your stylus. Besides, what if your tech decides to shut down or lag right then? Murphy’s Law, remember?
So, our advice - do bring along a good old-fashioned pen (make sure you test it first!) and a notebook for any note-taking that you may need to do.
- Interview cheat sheet
Interviews can be pretty nerve-wracking, and while you’d like to present yourself as eloquently as possible, you can sometimes blank out or run out of ideas and things to say.
With an interview cheat sheet prepared, though, you can minimise the chances of that happening! It should typically be just a couple of pages in length. Jot down keywords that can help jog your memory, such as past experiences, projects, and skills that you’d like to highlight.
Arrange your points in an order that you’re most comfortable with, and make sure that your handwriting is legible. You don’t want to be squinting at your own notes in front of the interviewer! Also, keep it short and sweet – if your notes are too long, you might be tempted to read from the paper instead of properly answering the recruiter.
- Phone & charger
Your life, basically. Make sure to charge the battery the night before, and bring your charger as well, just in case!
- Power bank
In case you can’t find a power plug for you to charge your phone!
- Breath mints, snacks, and water
Handshakes, smiles, your posture, and your attire will affect others’ first impression of you. However we’re forgetting one more thing – the smell of your breath. If you’ve just had an impressive meal, pop a breath mint before your interview!
As for snacks, stick to something small but filling, like granola or protein bars, crackers, and fruits. Keep in mind that this is not comfort food for you to snack on when you’re nervous. Rather, it’s meant to sustain you so that your interview isn’t interrupted by a growling stomach.
Also, don’t forget the bottle of water to keep yourself hydrated!
- Essential self-grooming items
For the ladies, don’t forget these four essential self-grooming items: stain remover stick, a compact mirror, deodorant, and lip balm.
- Emergency medical kit
Be aware of your own medical history, and bring any medication that you might need. Do include basic ones like paracetamol and allergy medication. Also, don’t forget band-aids (you know those blisters you get from chafing shoes!).
- An extra set of clothes
Afraid that you’ll stain your shirt or accidentally rip your tights while going up the stairs? Well, bring an extra pair of attire if it calms you, but make sure that you have a proper place to store it so that it doesn’t detract from the professional look that you’re aiming for!