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What to Bring to an Interview & Printable Checklist with 12 Crucial Items

Tom Gerencer
Career Writer
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Here’s a short, printable list of what to bring to an interview. But think about this—

 

You landed the interview. You already beat 97% of all the other applicants.

 

There’s only 3% to go.

 

But they’re the toughest.

 

Don’t lose the job because of something silly like a momentary lapse.

 

The good news?

 

It’s easy to be ready. Come prepared, and the interviewers will be pleasantly surprised. Better still, you’ll feel cool and in control.

 

Just follow this list of what to bring to a job interview to ace it.

 

This guide will give you:

 

  • A printable what to bring to an interview checklist to save you from a costly flub.
  • A list of what not to bring to an interview to shield you from embarrassment.
  • Job interview tips to make the most of your interview folder materials.
  • Advice from experts about what to bring to a job interview to feel confident.

  

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1

Things to Bring to an Interview

 

Now, here’s what to bring to an interview:

 

1. Travel Directions ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

Are you walking? Driving? Don’t get lost. If you’re even 5 minutes late, some interviewers may forgive you, but can you risk it?

 

Show up early and cram your notes in the car or lobby. For a Skype interview, log in and be ready half an hour early.

 

2. Folder/Briefcase ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

Our “what to bring to a job interview” checklist rounds up 15 sheets of paper. There’s also business cards and other doodads. You’ll need somewhere to keep it all.

 

Don’t walk in like Lloyd Christmas, spewing pages and tripping over pens. Instead, look like the one they want to hire.

 

Bringing an interview folder or briefcase displays professionalism and organization. It also gives you a place to keep all the things you'll need.

 

3. Resume—5 Copies ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

How many copies of your resume should you bring to an interview? Bring five. If there are multiple interviewers, they’ll each appreciate your thoughtfulness.

 

Hiring managers are busy. They might not remember to print your resume. If the other candidates don’t bring copies, guess who the manager will remember most?

 

You should bring a resume to an interview even if they have it (or so you think).

 

4. Business Cards ⭐⭐⭐

 

Aren’t business cards a little grandpa-chic on a list of what to bring to an interview? Not at all. Your contact info is on your resume, but it’s smart to hedge your bets. If someone asks for one, they’ll see you’re prepared.

 

Definitely put your online portfolio address on there. Add your phone number and professional email address too.

 

5. Portfolio ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

Creative pros like artists and photographers should bring a physical portfolio to an interview. But—did you know non-artists can bring portfolios? Stuff yours with ranking reports, performance reviews, positive emails, materials you helped create, and pics of trophies or awards.

 

Bringing a portfolio, AKA ‘brag book’ to your interview can make all the difference. A brag book is a compilation of all the impressive things you’ve done in your career. This may not be a necessity for an accountant, but for sales professionals, it’s a must-have.

 

6. References Sheet—5 Copies ⭐⭐⭐

 

Why do references belong on a list of what to bring to a job interview? Well—what if the interviewers are so impressed they ask for references? Will you stutter and promise to send an email?

 

If you make them wait, you’ll give a more prepared applicant a chance to slip into the gap. So—be ready. They’ll be impressed at your resourcefulness and you’ll seal the deal faster.

 

Pro Tip: Does this list of what to bring to an interview seem like too much stuff? Unless you’ve got a 50 lb artist portfolio, it’ll fit into one slim interview folder.

 

7. Pens and Notepad ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

What about taking notes in an interview? It’s actually respected. It’ll show you care and help you listen actively.

 

Better still, if the interviewers drop some golden info, you’ll be ready. You won’t have to ask for pen and paper, and that’ll make you look more competent and confident.

 

Finally, you can reference things they said in a follow-up email. Bring a backup pen in case the first one dies, and ask the interviewer for permission to take notes before you start.

 

8. Accomplishments Sheet—5 Copies ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

What’s an accomplishments sheet? It’s a list of impressive achievements you’ve amassed. Have you won awards? Cut costs? Raised revenue? Led teams?

 

Before the interview, check the job ad. Make sure every achievement on your sheet fits the requirements like spandex.

 

9. Questions for Them ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

Questions to ask the interviewer are vital on a list of what to bring to an interview. “Do you have any questions for us?” is pretty common. Always answer “yes.”

 

Don’t print your questions. Memorize them. Ask about the company culture, expectations for the role, or salary and benefits. “Why do you love working here?” is another query to have ready.

 

Researching the organization and asking questions will accomplish several things: prevent “brain freeze”, make sure your most important questions get answered, communicate to the interviewer that you are prepared and have researched the organization, and communicate that you’re an active participant in the process and are not there merely to answer the interviewer’s questions.
Chris Hogg
Chris Hogg
Job Search Expert

 

Not sure what questions to bring to an interview? See our guide: 65+ Best Questions to Ask an Interviewer & Land Top Jobs [Proven Tips]

 

10. Presentability Mini-List ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

You might be a diamond in the rough, but you still need a good setting. Adding these things to bring to an interview will take a lot of pressure off.

 

  • Well-Dressed
  • Breath Mints
  • Floss
  • Deodorant or Antiperspirant

 

Do a quick teeth-mirror check before you go in. That way you won’t get distracted later by, “Oh no—is there chicken Kiev in my teeth?”

 

11. Phone (Silenced) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

You know who everybody doesn’t want to hire? The candidate who doesn’t grasp the rules of etiquette.

 

You need your phone. It’s your directions, documents folder, and more. But one loud ring at the wrong moment could fluster you back into the unemployment line. So—silence it.

 

12. Photo ID ⭐⭐⭐

 

Why does photo ID belong on a list of things to bring to an interview? You probably won’t need it, but you might, like if they hire you on the spot.

 

Even if they don’t, you may need it to get in through security or just for proof of identity.

 

13. Bonus Tip: Practice! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

So—you’ve gathered everything on this what to bring to a job interview list. But what about the things you can’t hold in your hands?

 

Practice getting all your items out and using them until you can do it without fumbling.

 

Know the job’s duties back-to-front. Know what they’ll ask, and practice answering. Not sure what they’ll ask you? Use our crystal-ball guide to common interview questions below.

 

Pro Tip: What to do before an interview? Get plenty of sleep and rest your brain. Go over your notes, but don’t overthink. Finally, exercise. A walk or run is a great way to detach, and it can actually make your mind work better.

 

Put answers to common employer questions on your what to bring to an interview checklist. See our guide: Common Job Interview Questions and Best Answers

 

2

What to Bring to an Interview Checklist

 

Interview coming up fast?

 

Just need to know what to bring to a job interview now now now?

 

Copy-paste-print this checklist of what to take to an interview. Cross off each item as you pack.

 

What Should You Bring to An Interview?

 

  1. Travel Directions
  2. Folder/Briefcase
  3. Resume—5 Copies
  4. References Sheet—5 Copies
  5. Accomplishments Sheet—1 Copy
  6. Questions for Them—Memorized
  7. Portfolio
  8. Pen and Notepad
  9. Business Cards
  10. Presentability (Deodorant, floss, well-dressed, breath mints)
  11. Phone (Silenced)
  12. Photo ID

Bonus item: Practice!

 

I’ll explain each item on the list of what to take to an interview next. That’ll get you motivated to pack for the right reasons so you get the job.

 

Pro Tip: Bring your printed what should I bring to an interview checklist to the interview. Go over it at the last-minute for things like “floss” and “phone silenced.”

 

Need a list of what to take to a job interview on the phone? Bring a written list of great answers to common phone interview questions. See our guide: Top Phone Interview Questions & Answers [+Examples to Prepare For]

 

3

What Not to Bring to an Interview

 

You’re all set with what to bring to an interview. But—

 

What should you leave behind?

 

Ditch these things at home to raise your chance of getting hired:

 

  • Gum. It’s okay to chew some for fresh breath, but leave it in the car before you go inside.
  • Food. Eat a little something so you don’t get hangry. But don’t overdo it (no massive baked bean lunch) and don’t bring your meatball sub in with you.
  • Drinks. If you have coffee every morning, don’t stop the day of the interview. But don’t stroll in with your frappuccino or your protein shake.
  • Hat. You might need one outside, but it’s disrespectful in an interview. Ditch the headwear in the car. That’s one less thing you’ll have to juggle.
  • Piercings/Tattoos. There’s nothing wrong with body art and you can’t leave all of it behind. Sadly, the interviewers might not see it that way. So—cover and remove all but a reasonable showing.
  • Strong perfume/cologne. Let interviewers focus on your achievements, not your scent. A little goes a long way on the big day.
  • Bogus knowledge. “I don’t know” beats fudging it. Don’t pull a George Costanza, “I’m a marine biologist” answer. Leave lies and guesses off your what to bring to a job interview list.

 

Pro Tip: How early should you show up for an interview? If traffic is an issue, allow an extra hour. If you arrive early, use the extra time to check your notes.

 

One of the most important things to bring to an interview? An answer to the most common interview question of all. See our guide: The Perfect Answer for Tell Me About Yourself

 

4

Job Interview Tips

 

Want one more crucial item on your what to bring to an interview list?

 

Before you walk into that conference room, give your interview skills a tune up.

 

How to Have a Good Interview

 

To ace an interview, learn all about the company’s needs for the position. Then know the common interview questions you’ll face.

 

Finally, rehearse your answers. That’ll work best if you answer with achievements that fit the job ad like a Spidey suit.

 

How to Prepare for an Interview

 

Use the what to bring to an interview checklist up top to gather everything you need.

 

Then, get ready with the STAR method for acing popular interview questions. Prepare a Situation you faced, a Task you were given, and Action you took, and a great Result you got.

 

What to Do in an Interview

 

If you’re prepared, everything else comes naturally. So—gather everything in our list of what to bring to a job interview first.

 

Then prove you’re the best person for the job. For every question, answer with a matching accomplishment.

 

How Do You Dress for an Interview?

 

Before you open your mouth, the interviewer already has an opinion of you. Dress professionally to make it the best one possible.

 

For men, that almost always means a suit. Women should wear a suit with pants or a skirt. Don’t be afraid to overdress a bit.

 

How to Present a Resume

 

Should I bring a resume to the interview in the first place?

 

Every time. But not just one, you need a few. Five almost always covers it.

 

But when to hand over your carefully prepared materials?

 

At the start of the interview, after the handshakes, you can say, “I’ve brought extra copies of my resume. Would you like one now?”

 

Things Interviewers Say When You Got the Job

 

How did the interview go? Did you ace it or drop a bomb? Here are a few things interviewers say when you’re hired:

 

  • “When you start...”
  • “Your experience with XYZ makes you a great fit for this job...”
  • “I’d like to have another team member meet you...”
  • “This is a great company to work for because...”
  • “Wow, we went way overtime...”
  • “We’ll be in contact very soon.”
  • They laugh, nod, or agree with you often.

 

Pro Tip: What to bring to an open interview? Use our standard list of what to take to an interview. Most candidates won’t be as prepared as you, so you’ll stand out.

 

Need more help and interview tips as you complete your interview checklist? See our guide: 50+ Successful Interview Tips, Advice & Guidelines

 

Key Takeaway

 

Here’s a recap of what to bring to an interview:

 

  • Bring these papers: Copies of your resume, an accomplishments sheet, a references sheet, your portfolio, and business cards.
  • Memorize these things: Your accomplishments that fit the job needs and some questions to ask the interviewers.
  • Bring these things to be presentable: Professional attire, floss, breath mints, deodorant. 
  • Add these other items: Travel directions, a folder/briefcase, pen, notepad, photo ID, and silenced phone.

 

Do you have questions on what to bring to a job interview? Need more job interview tips? Give us a shout in the comments! We’d be happy to reply.

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Author
Tom Gerencer
Tom Gerencer is a full-time writer in the fields of personal finance and careers. He's been sharing expert advice on all stages of the recruitment process at the Zety career website for more than two years.