Every piece of advice about job interviews seems to be about preparation for questions and what to wear, but from every women’s perspective there are also some other interview essentials. Being prepared is more than just having answers to questions, or a freshly pressed shirt to wear. You need to be prepared for the journey, mishaps, curve balls and anything else that might come your way. Here are the 9 interview essentials often overlooked.
1. A Professional Purse/Tote
No interview is a fashion parade, so don’t think that because you’ve made a concession to a smart suit as your outfit, you can express your personal style with a flamboyant purse. Unless you are applying for a job in fashion, ignore the funky, bright and outlandish, and instead opt for a professional purse that is big enough to hold all the interview essentials on this list, and choose one in a solid color.
It is a cardinal sin to be late for an interview, and even worse if it is because you didn’t know where you were going. In advance (not an hour beforehand), gather all the information you need about the location of your interview. Email the company and ask for a map or check out the directions on their website. Ascertain where you should park and whether there is a specific entrance to use. Download a map and check out the satellite map on Google for some specific landmarks. Do this even if you intend on using the GPS on your phone! And print a copy of the map too – you can never be over-prepared. Also, make sure you have the telephone number of a contact person should you get lost or encounter another problem on the way to the interview.
Following on from the last point, it is also good to be prepared for any security procedure you might encounter at your interview location. You might need ID to get past the front desk. You may also find that you need to fill out an application that calls for a piece of ID. Ideally, these things should be told to you by the person arranging the interview, but being prepared shows initiative.
4. Loose Change
Having some loose change and cash on you is another of the essentials for every interview. Turning up at the car park and not having coins for the meter, or the cash to pay for a ticket is not smart. Nor is not having the wherewithal to pay for a zone extension if your subway pass doesn’t cover your destination.
5. Instant Stain Remover Stick
A Tide To-Go stick or a travel stain remover stick will prove a godsend if you happen to have missed an old stain on your carefully selected outfit, or you spill something on yourself or pick up something messy on your clothing on the way to your interview.
6. Mints or Gum
Bad breath will happily undo all the excellent first impressions your outfit and demeanor create. Making sure your breath is fresh makes a pack of gum or mints another of the interview essentials to pop in your purse.
7. Copies of Your Resume
There could be various reasons that make copies of your resume one of the things to take to an interview: If you have filled out an application, your interviewer(s) may not have seen your resume; the company copy machine may have broken down; your original CV may have been covered by notes; you may have updated your resume since they saw it; or you may simply want it to refer to.
8. Pens and a Notebook
One of the reasons for choosing your interview purse carefully is because another of the interview essentials is a notebook and pen. In fact, you never know what you might be called upon to do or write at an interview, so having a back up pen is also a good idea. If you want to write things down during your interview so you can refer to them throughout the process, remember to ask if it’s ok for you to do so.
9. Business Card
Whipping a stylish business card holder out of your purse and offering a card to your interviewer as you leave adds a final professional touch to an interview. Don’t forget to ask for the interviewer’s card too. Business cards can be printed very cheaply these days.
So, hands up those of you who started reading this article thinking that it is only appearance and performance that matter for interviews. How many of these interview essentials will you now consider?