What to Bring to an Interview
Applying & Interviewing

What to Bring to an Interview

5 min read


The interview process is a stressful one, and an in-house interview is especially so. From planning the most appropriate attire, to having clear directions to the office, and, of course, being prepared for common questions, there’s a lot to prepare for. However, as hard as it is, the most challenging piece of your hunt — getting your foot in the door — is already over. Make sure you make the most of it, and are fully prepared for the task at hand.

If you guessed your car keys and mints, you may want to keep reading.

It’s possible to receive notification of a job opening at any moment — even if you haven’t heard back from your application in four weeks. Stay flexible for an interview time, and avoid that last-minute, early morning run to the office supply store by completing a prepared list of what you’ll need for your interview, including:

  • Copies of your resume
  • Professional references
  • A pen and notebook
  • A list of your own questions (customize this for each opportunity)
  • Knowledge of the company and position
  • Identification
  • A positive attitude

It’s important to walk into a job interview with everything you need organized and ready to go. Sometimes recruiters will schedule a phone interview before inviting you to meet in person, and this list of prepared items works for that, too!

Copies of Your Resume

Although there’s a shift from traditional paper resumes moving to digital platforms like LinkedIn, candidates are still expected to come prepared with hard copies in hand.

Print out a few copies of your most recently-updated resume on appropriate resume paper with fresh ink and high-quality resume paper. Amanda Augustine, a career management expert from The Ladders, recommends bringing at least one copy for each interviewer, just in case they aren’t prepared.


In addition to hard copies of your resume, prepare a list of three to five professional and personal references. While your interviewer may not ask for this, it’s best to be overly prepared. Be sure to include updated phone numbers and email address, as well as relationship briefings for each reference. Look at it this way: if they’re interested, you’ll save the interviewer a step by providing references in advance!


Why You Should Never Walk Into a Job Interview Empty Handed

First impressions are everything — especially in a job interview. Chrissy Scivicque shares why it’s important to have one hand free for shaking, and the other carrying interview materials.

  • Show you’ve put professional effort into the meeting
  • Materials serve as reminders of things to talk about
  • You’re marketing yourself, and have come prepared
  • Interview materials should be left behind to speak for you even after the actual interview is over


Pens and Paper

Be sure to come prepared with a few pens and a notebook. Don’t be afraid to jot down notes during your interview. This can especially come in handy as you write a post-interview thank you email or note card.

Martin Yate, author of “Knock ’em Dead 2016: The Ultimate Job Search Guide,” recommends bringing materials that reflect you.

“Be clean, tidy, and minimally distracting. It shows you are organized, and it makes a great cheat sheet.”

A List of Questions

We guarantee you’ll be asked if you have questions at the end of your interview. Here’s our tip: never say no! Since 38% of employers interview candidates with a high-level executive in the room, use this opportunity to your advantage. Be impressive! While questions vary depending on the company and position, here’s a few that will work in almost any interview:

  • How do you see this position evolving within the next three years?
  • What have previous employees done to succeed in this position?
  • How will my work contribute to the company’s mission?
  • What have you enjoyed most about working with this company?


Companies Are Researching You

If you’re preparing for an interview by researching the company, there’s a good chance that company is researching you, too. Approximately 48% of employers lean on Google or other search engines to dig up some digital dirt before your interview. Have your social profiles set to public, have a clear profile picture, and be appropriate when posting.


Show Off Your Homework

Before you even apply for a position, get to know the company through their website and blog, and stay up to date by following their social platforms. What can you learn about the company’s mission? How to current employees see their role? Has the company been in the news lately?

U.S. News On Careers blogger Alison Green points out you’ll be able to have a more intelligent conversation with interviewers, and this could help hiring managers seeing you as the right fit for the job. Additionally, researching will help you get an understanding of company culture and values. An extra bonus? This research could even help with creating those questions to ask after your interview!

Documentation and Identification

Be prepared for how your interview could end – you could be offered the job! You never know when you’ll be asked for identification (including at the security check at the building entrance), so bring your driver’s license or student ID along. Interviews are great for professional networking, so bring your business card with important contact information.


What to Put on Business Cards

Business cards are an extended representation of your professional image, so be sure to include the following information when ordering some:

  • Your full name
  • Functional job title
  • Updated phone number
  • Professional website and email address
  • Social media handles


A Positive and Motivated Mind

Classic studies by researcher Albert Mehrabian have found that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and 7% is the actual words spoken. While this varies based on person and situation, one thing’s for sure: your nonverbal presentation means a lot.

What this means for you: Don’t let yourself get too stressed out while preparing for an interview – you don’t want this to take away from your personality. Just remember that first impressions only happen once, so bring your A game and come confident, enthusiastic, and prepared.

“Confidence, a positive attitude, and a genuine interest in the position and company will set you apart from other candidates.” – Amanda Augustine of TheLadders

Look at it this way: if you and another candidate share comparable skillsets, your attitude and motivation will help you stand out.

Preparing yourself with these tips may not guarantee a new job title and career, but they will guarantee that you’ve done all you could to prepare and put your best foot forward when walking into an interview. Good luck!

Your story starts here.

Consult with Collabera to gain access to a range of innovative companies, from scrappy startups to Fortune 500s, with support from a dedicated team all along the way.

Explore Jobs