Interviews can be daunting – and deciding what to actually take to your big interview might be added stress to an already stressful task ahead. I’m excited to share with you my personal list of five must-haves whenever I head into an interview – they help me to look polished, stay organized, and maintain my professionalism from the moment the recruiter walks through the door. I hope these items are as helpful for you as they are for me – good luck!
Padfolios are the grown-up version of folders. They’re a great way to keep your things in order – you can store extra copies of your resume, notes, and business cards all in one convenient location! Carrying a padfolio into your interview helps you stay organized and look professional.
2. Book or Newspaper
Chances are, you’ll be waiting for a few minutes before your interviewer comes to greet you and start the meeting. Instead of staring blankly at the floor or scrolling through your phone, calm your nerves by reading your favorite book or staying current on the news with a physical copy of your local paper. If your interviewer notices what you’re reading, it can be a great conversation starter and a sure way to break the ice! An interest in reading can elevate your professionalism in that it makes you seem mature and sophisticated.
Most people today check the time on their smartphone – but glancing at your phone too often can make you appear distracted, aloof, and/or fidgety. Wear a watch instead; as a classic accessory for working professionals, it can add to the suit you’re wearing. Try going for a simple black or brown leather band – chain links can make unwanted noise or create light glares. Pro tip: you can also sneak peeks at the time during your interview (especially helpful if you’re interviewing for consulting or investment banking)!
4. Pen & Paper
No matter what kind of job you’re applying for, it never hurts to take some notes before, during, or after the interview. Whether it’s notes on your interviewer’s name and background or an outline to visualize your thoughts during a technical (math-heavy) interview, taking notes can help you to remember key information you’ll thank yourself for taking down later! Bonus points if you have neat handwriting (a lost art)!
Remember that you’ll be having a fairly intimate conversation with your interviewer: likely less than 5 feet apart, sitting across from each other. You want to make sure your breath is ONE HUNNID – there’s nothing worse than having onion bagel breath during a job interview! Pop a few Altoids right before heading into the interview room. The minty taste will also help calm your nerves and give your mind clarity!
Being prepared is key when you want to kill your interview, and having the items above in your arsenal will help you SLAY. But remember: the most important thing to take to your interview is your *CONFIDENCE*!
Keep on Crushin’,