Home > Employment > Don’t Leave Home Without It – Top Ten Interview Essentials

Don’t Leave Home Without It – Top Ten Interview Essentials

When you’ve got an interview there are a few non-negotiable things you need to do; dress right, do your research, be on time. But when you’re just about to leave home on your way to interview, what should you check you have with you? We did a quick office straw poll to find the most popular things to take with you to an interview. Here’s the list…

Interview Essentials 03


Examples of Work/Portfolio
If you are talking about a particular achievement in your work, something you are especially proud of or that was particularly effective, it can be a great moment to have a physical copy to show the interviewer – only if it’s relevant though. If you’re a creative/designer and have a portfolio it’ll probably be mandatory to bring it.

Questions to Ask
9You know how it is; the last thing that happens at interview can be the most important. This is especially true when the employer turns to you to ask if you have any questions for them. Now you will have practised this moment, you will have your questions memorised and ready, right? Of course you will but sometimes the pressure can get to you and you may draw a blank. Put down a few questions on a small card just in case, it might just save your bacon.

8Spare Tights
I’m reliably informed that a ladder in your tights can ruin your whole look! But it’s not really about how you look, it’s more about how you feel. You want to feel smart as this will make you feel confident and professional. Never knowing when that dreaded run will strike, keep a spare pair handy just in case. (On the flipside for those in suits; a spare tie could be just as useful)

7You’ll need enough to bribe the panel…! Actually, you’re not sure what you might need. Your interview might be over coffee in the local Starbucks and you want to be able to pay for your own if it comes to it. Also, if you’re driving, make sure you have spare change for car parking. It will save you the last minute dash to the newsagents to break a note.

You might think it’s universal but not everyone would bring a phone to interview – in case it rings in the middle. But if you do have difficulty getting there and you’re running late, you want to be able to inform the employer. Make sure it’s fully charged (especially if you also use it as a sat nav) and program in the contact numbers for the office before you leave.

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5Breath Freshener
An interview essential for a lot of those asked was some type of breath freshener, be it chewing gum, mints, or breath spray. If you’re in close proximity to your interviewer, you don’t want to make their eyes water when you talk to them, so having a few of these with you is a good idea. Be sure to finish them before you go in though, you can’t be chewing gum or crunching on a mint in an interview.

4Employer Research/CV and Cover Letter/Job Description
These came in equally at number four. Having a little interview pack with your most important documents in is a professional way to keep your things together. You can make sure you have spare copies of your CV just in case, the job description, and research on the company in a folder for a quick refresher whilst you’re waiting to be seen.

The humble pen makes the top three, even in the digital age! Something has to be said for the old school approach. You might have to quickly fill in a form when you get there, or copy down some additional questions you think of. Or you might be able to save the day if the interviewer’s pen breaks and you can show how well prepared you are!

The interviewee’s friend; a bottle of water is useful for soothing a throat that’s dry from interview nerves. But did you know it also helps calm you? Dehydration alone can cause anxiety so it’s best to be properly hydrated before you go in but the act of sipping water can also be a calming in itself. Don’t drink too much – you don’t want to be needing the loo throughout your interview.

1Interview Instructions
They can tell you where to be, how to get there, and who you’ll be seeing. They can include contact information, a time-table, or even seating plans for the day. Even if you’ve received them by email it’s a good idea to print of a copy of all the instructions to take with you so you can quickly double-check something if you need to. Remember though, plans on the day can change so go with the flow, don’t bring out the instructions to point out the differences.

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Honourable mentions

Quite a few things didn’t make it into the top ten but are still worth including:

  • A Snack or Chocolate Bar
  • Handy-wipes
  • Umbrella
  • Plasters
  • Pain Killers
  • Watch
  • Mirror
  • Comb/Hairbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Lipstick/Make-Up

Do you agree or is there something else you’d have to add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below!

photo credit: Remontado via cc

Jerome Price Photograph

Jerome Price is the Online and Digital Content Manager in the Careers and Placements Service at the University of Hertfordshire.

  1. 08/03/2014 at 17:22

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    Definitely agree with these! Have a read.

    • japrice
      19/03/2014 at 10:47

      Thank you for the re-blog Ray!

  2. Sridhar Chandrasekaran
    20/03/2014 at 09:40

    Very interesting Tips. Each point is noteworthy. thanks for sharing, i enjoyed reading your article.

    • japrice
      20/03/2014 at 14:06

      Thank you Sridhar, glad you enjoyed it.

  1. 19/03/2014 at 08:47

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