Future of Work

The only 5 things you need to bring to a job interview

Kathleen Elkins
Editorial intern, Business Insider
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The interview process is stressful enough. You don’t want to complicate things by showing up unprepared.

We asked a few career experts and hiring managers what they expect candidates to bring on the big day. Here are the five essentials to show up with:

1. Copies of your résumé  

Despite the transition from the traditional paper résumé to more dynamic social media templates, such as LinkedIn, many hiring managers still expect candidates to arrive with a few hard copies.

Amanda Augustine, a career management expert and spokesperson at TheLadders, an online job-matching service for professionals, says if you happen to know the exact number of people you’ll be meeting with, bring at least one copy for each of them, plus a few extra to be safe. “You’ll need one for you to reference while you talk, and one copy for each interviewer, just in case they aren’t prepared,” she says.

2. Pen and notepad

Each career expert and hiring manager emphasized the importance of bringing a pen and paper.

Jotting down a few notes during the interview can come in handy as you write your post-interview thank you note later that day. (But remember to listen closely to the hiring manager, and don’t get distracted by your note-taking!)

Also, if you’re interviewing for a consulting, finance, or engineering position, you will likely have to answer impossible brainteaser questions. It can be helpful to have a pen and paper as you attempt to work through these questions.

3. Questions

You’re not the only one in the hot seat on the big day. In nearly every interview you will have the chance to ask your own questions.

Use this part of the interview to your advantage. Ask smart questions to impress the hiring manager and to figure out if this place is a perfect fit for you. The career experts recommend having a few written down ahead of time rather than having to come up with them on the spot.

While questions may vary depending on the company you’re interviewing with, here are some impressive ones that will work in any situation:

  • How do you see this position evolving in the next three years?
  • What can I help to clarify that would make hiring me an easy decision?
  • How will the work I’ll be doing contribute to the organization’s mission?

4. Portfolio of sample work

Depending on the job you’re applying for, it is a good idea to bring samples of your work. “The medium needs to match up. You should not bring a binder of print material to a digital publication,” explains Business Insider’s director of talent, Stephanie Fogle. “And be prepared to talk about it.”

5. A positive attitude

“Most importantly, come with your A game,” Augustine says. “Confidence, a positive attitude, and a genuine interest in the role and the company will set you apart from the competition. When you and another candidate have comparable skill sets, the only thing that will set you apart is your passion.”

This article is published in collaboration with Business Insider UK. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

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Author: Kathleen is an editorial intern at Business Insider, covering strategy and careers.

Image: A candidate answers questions during a job interview. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir. 

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