What to take to your interview
Sam Wilson, September 9, 2014
You know the saying “it’s better to have something and not need it, than need something and not have it”. When it comes to preparing for an interview this is strong advice, don’t let yourself fall behind other candidates simply because they put a bit more thought into what they might need.
This checklist will help ensure that your bag of tricks has everything you might need to secure the job you want.
Your best clothes
Now these will obviously be on your body so should be fairly difficult to forget (wouldn’t that be embarrassing!) but they still require some thought.
Interviewers pay close attention to the clothes that you wear and the way that you present yourself, it is therefore always worthwhile making an extra effort to ensure that everything is perfect.
It goes without saying that everything should be clean but before you leave have one final check that your clothes are spotless, your shirt is ironed and crease-free and shoes are polished. This extra effort will be noticed and will go a long way to making a great first impression.
Your CV and application form
Obviously your interviewer should have these already and will definitely have read them however you never know what might have happened. Your interviewer may have left it on their desk, they may have spilt something on it or lost it somewhere along the way.
This is clearly not your fault however it could potentially have a negative impact on your interview if the interviewer doesn’t have access to the information they need. Have a spare copy in a folder which you can provide in order to avoid these problems, this not only ensures that the person interviewing you has everything they need but it also demonstrates strong organisation skills.
Presenting a friendly demeanor can have a huge impact in an interview. Your interviewer is looking for someone who is going to fit in well and have a positive impact on the organisation. Greet your interviewer with a smile and maintain that smile throughout, this will go a long way to communicating a positive mentality and a friendly personality, one that will be a pleasure to work with.
One of the main things that an interviewer wants to know is how your experience up to now will help you succeed in the position you are applying for, what you have learnt from your previous positions and what you will bring to this new position as a result.
The best way you can demonstrate this is to come prepared, take some time to think about your past experience, the things you have learnt and the skills you have developed.
Your experience doesn’t necessarily have to be directly linked to the position you are applying for, all you need to do is explain how it relates (read more about transferable skills).
Take your experience with you to every interview and use it to demonstrate why you would succeed.
You don’t want to go over the top with this but it is important that you demonstrate your future ambitions and plans in an interview. There are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, a lot of employers want ambitious and driven people. They obviously don’t want to get the impression that you are going to be immediately looking for a promotion but ambitious people are, more often than not, willing to work hard to get where they want to be. Ambition is therefore considered to be an extremely positive trait.
For your own sake, it is important to establish whether the organisation you are applying to will support the ambitions you have and if there will be opportunities further down the line for you to realise them. Interviews are your opportunity to judge whether an employer is right for you too and if there aren’t going to be opportunities for you to progress in the future then that is something that you need to know.
There are a few practical things that you should take to an interview just in case you need them, to be caught without could have detrimental effects.
Take a bottle of water in case you aren’t offered a drink, it can be difficult to demonstrate your skills and experience with a dry mouth in a hot room.
A printed map of the area is always useful, I appreciate that we all have maps on our smart phones these days but what happens if you can’t get reception when you really need it?
It’s always useful to have some tissues handy, don’t go wiping your nose on your nicely ironed shirt!
It might be that you are given some important information at an interview and in this instance it is always useful to have a pen and paper to hand.
All that’s left to do is relax and be yourself, safe in the knowledge that whatever comes up, you came prepared!