I’m a list person. You may know people like me—we are the ones who start compiling a list of items to pack for vacation a month in advance; we wouldn’t be caught in a grocery store without a carefully curated grocery list (often organized by department), and we have been known to write down previously completed items on our to-do list just to experience the satisfaction of crossing them off. The internet is full of lists and I love comparing other people’s checklists against my own to make sure I have what I need.
Some call my list-making zeal a curse, some call it a gift. Whatever you call it, I’d like to share with you my suggestions of items to bring to your next onsite interview (in list form, of course). Whether you are as passionate about lists as I am or not, I think it can help. Packing for an onsite interview in advance can help you feel calm, confident and prepared; which is exactly what an interviewer wants to see. When getting ready for an interview, be sure to pack:
- A few pens or pencils for taking notes.
- A portfolio or folder to hold all of your paperwork. If you bring a folder, make sure you have some blank paper to write notes.
- Directions to the interview site. If the company provided you directions, use those! They often have details Google Maps can’t provide.
- A copy of your travel itinerary. If you are traveling to the interview from out of state, make sure you have your flight schedule and hotel details with you.
- A copy of the job description.
- A copy of your resume for each person you will be meeting with. They may already have a copy, but it is nice to be able to offer one.
- Two to three copies of your reference list. Again, you may not need it, but you can offer this to your recruiter and potential future-boss.
- A list of questions you have for interviewers or notes for your interview. See this post for what I recommend you write down before an interview.
- A few copies of other paperwork you may want to share. This is optional, but I have had candidates come prepared with printed recommendation letters from previous employers, 90-day plans for what they’d like to achieve after starting at Promega and project plans from their past jobs that illustrate their job-related knowledge. Bringing extra credentials like this can make an impressive statement. Just be sure not to overwhelm your interviewers with copious documentation- a few documents will go a long way.
- Anything else the company asks you to bring. Don’t forget to follow the company’s directions carefully. Failure to do so may improperly imply you are not detail oriented or just do not care.
- A pocket pack of tissues, just in case.
- A full water bottle. You will be talking a lot, be sure to stay hydrated.
- Coffee, if you need it. Not all companies will offer you coffee when you arrive so be sure you have the caffeine you need to survive a long day of talking about yourself!
- A small snack like a granola bar. You will likely be offered food if you will be onsite for a long day, but better to be prepared than hungry (or worse, hangry).
- Gum and mints to keep you fresh.
Additional items to consider if you are giving a PowerPoint presentation:
- A presenter. Ideally bring one that easily installs on a computer that advances the slides and has a laser pointer. Practice using this before you interview.
- Your computer or a flash drive with your presentation (or both, just in case).
- Any necessary adapters for your computer. It is best to check with the company to find out what you might need. If you are bringing a Mac to a company that uses Microsoft computers, make sure to have the appropriate adapter with you.
Did I miss anything you would be caught at an interview without? If so, let us know in the comments!
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