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What do I bring to a job interview?

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Subject: Career question for you
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John’s Answer

James interviewing for a job you really want is nerve-wracking, but adequate preparation can calm those nerves and help you focus on the important job of making a good impression on your new employer.

The company you're applying to has probably already gotten a copy of your resume, and you might have already gone over the document in a phone conversation with a hiring manager. It's still a good idea to carry copies of your resume printed on high-quality paper. There’s a chance your interviewer won't have a printout of your resume, and if nothing else, it just looks good that you anticipated that. A good rule of thumb to follow is to pack one resume for each person you expect to interview with, plus three more just in case others drop in on the interview.

Most job interviews end with a brief section where you can ask questions about the company and the work culture. It's considered a good sign for a candidate to be interested in a company, and it's an even better sign if you've done research and thought of intelligent questions on your own. Don't be shy about writing these questions down to bring to a job interview. Doing so shows foresight and planning. As you ask questions, you don't want to convey the impression you're not really listening or taking onboard the answers your interviewer is giving. By taking notes on a fresh legal pad, you can simultaneously convey interest in the details of your new job and ensure you don't forget the important things you're learning during the interview.

If all goes well, your interview could end with a conditional offer of employment so your references are critical to bring to a job interview. One of those conditions could be that all your references check out. You want to make this part of the process as smooth and quick as possible, and having your references written down and ready to hand over can speed things up. Plus, you’ll get bonus points for being prepared.

By the time of your interview, you've probably already had a few phone calls and email exchanges with your new employer. Most of these contacts were probably with the company's HR staff, but you may have had a few contacts with people in the specific division you're applying to join. Keeping track of all those new people can get confusing, and it's worth the effort to keep a list of all the people you've talked with and what they said during your earlier contacts with the company. You can keep these notes on some 3 x 5 index cards with the name and company department written on top and a few key points from your conversation below, or keep a list in a notebook. Having these on you during the interview can help you refer back to things you've been told about; for example, salary and working hours, or a specific policy you want to ask about.

James it's always a good idea to arrive a little early for a job interview. Try to spend those few minutes getting psychologically prepped for the meeting. Employers almost always want to see positivity and enthusiasm in a candidate, and how you're feeling about your chances can go a long way.

I hope this was Helpful James

Thank You for your continued support Dexter. I’ve learned that people will forget what we've said, but they will never forget how we empowered them. John Frick

Thank You Ro. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Mahatma Gandhi John Frick

Thank you so much for your answer. This definitely helped a lot! James N.

Your Welcome James. There is no royal road to anything. One thing at a time, all things in succession. John Frick

Thank You Abhi. “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” – Elizabeth Andrew John Frick

Thank You Lucia. “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” – Albert Pike John Frick

Thank You Brittany. “Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” John Frick

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Dexter’s Answer

Hi James,

I would imagine most technical job interviews would be remote, so in that case, you don't need to bring anything! Just remember to get to a place with a great-internet-connection/low-noise, have a good set of headphones w/an external mic, and just be your honest self. :) If you got the interview, it means the recruiters liked your resume and am excited about learning about you. Most seasoned interviewers can tell when you're stretching the truth a bit, so just be as honest as you can be and believe in yourself.

If you're in an industry where they're still doing in-person interviews, remember to bring a few copies of your resume, a writing utensil, and a note pad (or notebook, etc). I've conducted hundreds of interviews in my career and there have been more than a few where I walked into an interview without receiving the person's resume. By having your resume handy, you can help them learn about who you are. The writing tools are there if you want to take any notes, work out more difficult problems, or to remember questions you should ask. Some people get pretty nervous during interviews where your mind kind of blanks out and you forget what you want to say about yourself or questions to ask, so you can use the note page to remind yourself and/or to change what you want to ask in the future, etc.

Oh and if you get thirsty or what not, don't be shy about letting your needs to known to the interviewer. If the interviewer is someone that won't help you with that, or look down on you for asking for water or to use the restroom, it's probably not a place you want to work at.

Lastly, since the COVID virus is out and about, remember to wear a mask. People may naturally try to shake hands, but go for an elbow bump if a physical connection is necessary.

Wishing you the best James!


Thank you for the help. This gives me a lot more confidence! James N.

Thanks for the comment back James! You're going to do great. :) Dexter Arver

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Kiirsten’s Answer

Hello James!

The above answers are already so great-- are you excited for your interviews?? I think the best thing you can bring to an interview is a professional but personal attitude and energy. Everyone here is cool in their own way, so be polished, but be your authentic self. Also, do your research about the company you're applying to BEFORE you get to the interview-- I've found that many places I've interviewed for have been impressed when I weave in their company values to my own in the interviews.

Good luck!

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Alekxis’s Answer

I'll start with the non-material items you should be bringing:
You should do your due diligence of the company. Understand where they come into play in their industry and come up with some insightful questions that can impress the interviewer!
You should also come up with questions related to the role/team/ specific organization
In general for interviews you should be prepared to answer variations of all of the common behavioral interview questions that way no matter how they word it you have a prepared story to tell!

If you have a padfolio then I would definitely recommend bringing that. Inside you should have some blank paper and a pen so that when you can take notes, especially when they are answering the questions that you ask. Inside you should also have multiple copies of your resume (printed on resume paper if possible)
Dress to impress and leave your cell phone off!

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Rickey’s Answer

Hey James,

When you go to your job interview, you should bring copies of your resume, cover letter, and examples of your work that displays your previous successes as it relates to the field.

I would also recommend having 2-3 accomplishment stories using the S.O.A.R method for each job, internship, etc. as hiring managers are really receptive and take interest in people who can articulate their experience and previous accomplishment in a concise, easy to understand manner.

For more information on the S.O.A.R answer method, please check out the following link: http://www.humanresources.com/491/the-soar-answer-model/

Also, its always important to dress for success, smile, show interest & enthusiasm, and be yourself as the people interviewing are taking time out of their day to meet with you and want you and them to have a good experience.

I wish you well,


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John’s Answer

You can bring something no one else can bring: yourself. Don't try to be someone you're not . . . In your pocket, have five one-sentence points you want to make in the interview. Study it beforehand. If the questions you're asked don't allow you to make these points, just add them at the end of answers: "And I'd also like to add." You can also add one or two at the end of the interview.

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Sophia’s Answer

Hi James, see below for a list of the key items!

Sophia recommends the following next steps:

Copy of your resume/ cover letter
Dress for success
Come equipped with knowledge of the company
Prepare questions to ask at the end
A positive attitude!

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Dalanna’s Answer

Hi James!

Prior to an interview I recommend doing your research on the company that you are interviewing for so you can come prepared with knowledge and background. Companies will be impressed that you took the time to be updated with their current events, and values and mission.

You should also bring:
1. Copies of your resume. I usually make 5 copies just to be safe, and it looks good to be prepared in case the interviews don't have them readily on hand.
2. A pen and notebook in case you want to take notes.
3. Stories/scenarios in your head ready to be discussed for behavioral interview questions. Behavioral questions ask interviewees to recall a past experience and describe what they did to handle it. I usually looked up examples of some before my interviews, and made a google doc for brainstorming different stories I've experienced and practiced saying them aloud.
4. Remember to dress to impress! You can always wear a jacket over your dress shirt and pants and take it off if you feel overdressed.

Best of luck on your interview!


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Wayne’s Answer

Hi James! Here is a good list of what you should bring to an interview:

Identification. If the building has security, you may be asked to show identification, or you may need it to complete a job application. Bring your driver's license or another form of identification with you.

Names of Contacts. Write down the name of the person you are interviewing with on your notepad. It can be easy to forget a name, and you do not want to be embarrassed. Also bring the name of the person who arranged the interview, if it is different person. You may also need to provide this name to security upon your arrival at the building.

Notepad and Pen. Make sure to bring a notepad and pen so you can write down names, company information, or questions that may come up during the interview. Take notes on the questions your interviewers ask or surprising insights they share. You can use these notes to follow up later in a thank you email. Bringing a pen and notepad shows you came to the interview prepared.

Pre-written questions for your interviewers. When you are putting the resume copies and the blank paper in your folder or folio, also add at least two or three pre-written questions for your interviewers to have on hand. It’s good to write them down ahead of time in case your mind suddenly goes blank when you get the question, “Do you have any questions?”

Extra Copies of Your Resume. Bring several copies of your resume to distribute upon request. Retain a copy for yourself, as it will assist you in filling out the job application. Bring at least five resume copies. Keep them in a separate folder or professional folio so they do not bend or wrinkle and are easy to access.

Reference List. Bring a printed list of references to give to the hiring manager. Your interviewers may not ask you for a list of references, but it is good to be prepared in case they do. References should be people who can speak to your professional abilities and achievements. If you do not have much work experience or can not easily identify people to be your references, consider any groups or volunteer activities you have been a part of. Former teachers or community leaders who can address your commitment and work ethic are strong options as well. Do not include family members and avoid listing friends. Include at least three professional references and their contact information. Choose references that can attest to your ability to perform the job for which you are applying. Also, retain a copy for yourself in case the information needs to be recorded on a job application.

Work Samples. Depending on the type of job for which you're interviewing, you may need to bring samples of your work. If they do not lend themselves to print, consider bringing your iPad or laptop.

Portfolio. A portfolio is an efficient way to package all the items you're bringing to the interview. It shows employers that you are organized and prepared to produce documents upon request.

As a bonus, here is a list of What NOT to Bring or Do. Doing the following will likely ruin your chances of getting the job:
DO NOT carry in your morning coffee or protein shake.
DO NOT bring your parent or anyone else with you.
DO NOT arrive talking on a cell phone or texting. Turn off your phone before you enter the building and store it in a handbag or briefcase.
DO NOT wear a hat or cap; leave it at home.
DO NOT chew gum or suck candy.
DO NOT overwhelm the interviewer with your piercings or tattoos. If you have a lot of piercings or earrings, remove them, so they are not a distraction. One pair of earrings, such as small studs or hoops, is acceptable. Do your best to cover your tattoos.
DO NOT wear strong perfume or cologne; you never know if someone is allergic in the office.
DO NOT wear leisure clothes such as jeans, workout wear, sneakers, or flip flops. Wear a pants or dress suit and close-toed shoes.
DO NOT appear with messy, unwashed hair. Make sure your hair is clean and off of your face.

Make the Best Impression! Being well-prepared can give you the best chances of succeeding at a job interview. Prepare yourself mentally by researching the company and determining answers to some anticipated interview questions.

Top 10 Interview Questions and Best Answers: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/top-interview-questions-and-best-answers-2061225

Good luck James!

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Vania’s Answer

Hi James!

That is a very good question. When you are looking for a job, you need things that makes you stand out from other applicants and things you can bring to the interview can certainly help to make a good impression. Therefore, I will tell you what has worked for me in past interviews:

1. Copies of your resume
I always bring a few copies of my resume (because you don't know how many people will be interviewing you) to give my interviewer and to keep a copy to myself (this helps when you've been asked things about your resume). I like to print them in resume paper to give them a nice stand-out touch.

2. Notebook/Notepad and pen
It's useful to bring a notepad and pen in case you want to take notes about the position or the next steps of the interview/application process. Also, you can write down (beforehand) a few questions for the interviewer. I highly suggest you memorize them, but it's helpful to have them written down in case you forget.

3. Business Cards
Even though your personal information is on your resume, I find a nice touch to exchange business cards at the end of the interview. You look more professional by giving them your business card and you get their contact information for a follow-up email by receiving theirs.

4. Thank you notes
This is an extra thing I like to carry with me on interviews. At the end of the interview I sit on the lobby area and write a simple thank you note addressed to my interviewer and I leave it at the front desk. In my experience, this worked very good for me. It gives a personal touch and they will remember you for sure.

I hope this helps you and good luck at all your interviews!

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Kim’s Answer


Since you are asking about first jobs and summer jobs, I'm going to back away from all those copies of resumes and everything, and talk about interviewing to be a lot loader at a hardware store, or work in fast food or as a construction helper.

You need to bring with you an understanding of the purpose of business. The purpose of business is to make money. That employer wants to know that you will make or save money for them. You need to be able to demonstrate this. It includes things like good customer service (irate customers head for the internet. . . ), safety, attendance, regulatory compliance (carding before selling beer). Everyone gives lip service to these things, you need to show enthusiasm. As an example, if they ask "do you have reliable transportation?" This is not a yes or no question. You should say something like, "yes, my mom doesn't work, so she said she'd drop me off. And if anything happens to her car, I have a neighbor lined up as a backup." That shows you have thought this through!

Don't lie! If you just want a summer job, they will be asking you about your intentions once school starts. If you are not sure, tell them that. But don't say yes you will be there and then quit. You need former employers as references as you go through your career.

Bring a good attitude. Smile, be polite. Realize they may be watching you from the time you park your car, so be on your toes! Turn your phone off. Oh, and make sure to bring ID and your social security card. If they offer you a job, there is a federal form they need to fill out.

It's ok to be nervous. The interviewer will try to make small talk to put you at ease, if they are a good interviewer. I have been interviewed by some who had never conducted interviews before!

Learn from each interview.

good luck!