9 Things to Bring to a Job Interview to Land the Job [2020 Updated]

what to bring to an interview

Wonder what you should bring to an interview in order to be prepared? We’ve got you covered. There are a few items you would normally expect and then a few that are helpful in order to put yourself in the best possible position to land the job.

Ready? Here's what to bring to an interview in order to be well-prepared.

5 Essential Items To Bring To An Interview

1. Your resume, letters of recommendation and other portfolio items

This might sound simple but not forgetting these items is really important. If you have letters of recommendation, they can be a really strong statement in how well you do your job. Or being able to support what types of skill sets you are trying to show in your interview. Not having multiple copies printed and ready to hand out is a big mistake. Be sure to bring an extra copy of your resume, cover letter, and other items. A bit mistake is when a job candidate brings a digital copy of these assets. Be sure to bring a hard copy.

2. Note taking materials

You should always be taking notes during the interview. Primarily, during the times when your interviewer is speaking and explaining to you things like company culture or what projects they’re working on. Not having a pen and paper will make you look unprofessional. It could also make the job of having an effective interview more challenging as you’ll be working by memory.

3. Hygiene items

This is a small trick but carrying items such as chewing gum, breath mints, baby wipes or other can be a really helpful tool. Especially during the summer months when you might be taking public transit to your interview and need to freshen up in the bathroom. You might want to consider:

4. A backpack, briefcase or portfolio

By not carrying one of these it can simply make you look unprepared. You want to have multiple copies of your resume, cover letter, letters of recommendation, and all other paper documents in safe storage. You don’t want those to wrinkle or get folded on your way to the interview. Plus, the company might give you a t-shirt or something small on the way out, which the backpack will help to carry home.

5. Directions and contact information

It might seem simple but if your phone dies, you could have a hard time finding the office building and letting them know who you are there to see. It’s simple enough to print out Google Maps directions and have them in your briefcase for emergencies. And this is recommended. It’s also recommended to have the HR manager’s contact information in the event you are running late, so you can make a phone call to apologize and inform them how soon you’ll be there. Consider having these materials as a fail-safe.

6. Where to go reminders and your attitude

Be sure to ask your potential employer where you'll be meeting. Write down the address, interview room, and other details which can be beneficial to remember. In addition, bringing a positive attitude with you the day of can be helpful. It's a simple reminder but effective one.

7. Talking points

Questions to ask your interviewer or points that you want to bring up during the interview process. This can be questions about the next steps, questions about benefits, or anything else. Just be sure that you're expressing your interest in the job opportunity. Your hiring manager will appreciate the fact that you are well prepared for the interview and that you've clearly taken the time to perform interview preparation, making their job easier.

8. Reference letters

Bringin a few copies of your reference letters can be great as well. Especially if you did not include these on your job application. Simply providing these letters can make your employer feel more secure in wanting to hire you for the position. It makes them feel like you have outside validation for being a good fit for the role. It's never a bad idea to bring several copies of these as well, just in case there is another person who wants to read through them. It's better to have too many than too little.

9. Know the hiring manager's name

Knowing the hiring manager by name can be helpful. When you enter the building, you can mention who you are meeting with so the front desk can better direct you. Without this information, it can cause delay and you might be late for your interview.


Below are some common questions that are asked by a job seeker related to items that you should bring to the job interview.

What documents do I need for a job interview?

You never know what documents that you’ll need for an interview. It’s best to bring everything. When you are being asked to prepare a presentation of your prior work, that will be the most important item to bring.

Other items include:

What to bring to an interview to stand out?

The best things to bring to an interview to stand out are:

Is it OK to bring a gift to a job interview?

It is absolutely okay to bring an appropriate gift to the job interview. That means something like a small, well-designed notepad that you really enjoy. Or a pencil or pen. Something that’s relatable to the job and something that’s unique to you.

It can imperative that you have a background story for the reason why you brought that gift as well. Something like, “This created a lot of creativity for me, I hope it does for you.”

Can you bring a list of questions to an interview?

The short answer is yes. You can absolutely bring a list of questions you’d like to make sure you ask to an interview. Though, you shouldn’t bring a list of answers to interview questions. That’s the only thing you should be mindful of. You want to be sure you make good eye contact and engage in a conversation. Having a list of answers makes it look as though you are reading from a script. That’s a big no-no.

How can I better prepare for my interview day?

Have your clothes laid out. Your mind right. And your mock interview performed at least a few times. This will help you to be mentally prepared to ace the interview with your hiring manager. And be well versed in how you answer common interview questions.

How will I know if I get to move onto the next interview?

The interviewer or recruiter will share their excitement for you as a candidate. You'll be able to tell at the end of the interview. And their invite to ask you to move onto the next round immediately can be insightful to know that you nailed the interview. Congratulations, you are one step close to receiving a job offer and ending your job search!

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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