So you’ve landed a learnership interview at the company of your dreams and the date is fast approaching. Apart from what you are going to say to sell yourself, have you thought about what you need to bring, other than yourself?
Here are the top 10 things you should bring to your interview:
- Your Resume. Sure, your interviewer has already seen your resume (I mean, it’s why you landed the interview to begin with… right?), but you should still bring a hard copy on the big day. Bring enough copies for each person you will be meeting with, and an extra one for yourself to use as a point of reference if you need. Chances are you will be talking about your work experience for a large portion of the interview, so make a point to reference relevant line items and how they apply to the position you are trying to get. If you aren’t sure how many people you will meet, bring 3-5 copies… in color, if there is any.
- Directions. If you haven’t physically been to the location, bring directions so you don’t run into any confusion along the way. Also, be sure to note what floor and suite you should go to, if applicable. Not knowing where you are going is not worth risking a late arrival!
- A list of questions. As we’ve preached previously, it is incredibly important to ask questions during your interview. If you don’t have questions, you’ve not done enough research on your potential employer. Interviewers live for interviewees who have solid questions to ask. A proper interview isn’t just a drilldown of the candidate, but also a drilldown of the company! If the interview goes both ways, you will not only feel more comfortable, but you will also impress whomever has the pleasure of meeting with you. It shows interest, dedication and professionalism. Be sure to get specific and avoid only asking the basics such as “When would the learnership start?” and “Can I get university credit?” Have a diverse list of questions to show that you’ve done your research and know a thing or two about your future place of employment.
- A notebook and pen. It’s easy to forget small bits of information during an interview, so take notes as you go. Not only will you have something to reference, should the company decide to pursue you further, but you will also look good. Interviewers like to know that you are paying attention and that you care enough to jot down major talking points. It shows that you are serious about the job and not just half-listening to what they are saying.
- A list of references. Some companies don’t require that you provide a list of references, but it doesn’t hurt to have one on-hand in case they spring it on you at the end of the interview. This list should be comprised of 3-5 people that you’ve worked with in some professional capacity, who can speak for your work ethic and personality. This may be a former employer, a teacher, or someone senior to you that you have volunteered with. If you aren’t asked for a list of references, provide it anyway to show that you’ve come prepared.
- Your portfolio. If you are interviewing for a more creative position, it would behoove you to bring samples of your work. This will help your interviewer(s) visualize your creative abilities to see if they match with the company’s brand and goals. Artwork, graphic design, spreadsheets, models, clips that have been published, websites you’ve designed, etc.
- Notes. If you did your research on the company, you should have some notes on what you learned. Bring these with you so that you can study them while you are waiting to be seen (because you should be early enough that you have to wait to be called in!). It’s also OK to use these during your interview in conjunction with your list of questions. They don’t expect you to memorize the company objective but they do expect you to have an idea of what they are all about. Having your notes in front of you will only help make you look good – and will keep you from stumbling over your words if you happen to forget what you were going to say!
- Identification. Depending on where your interview is, you may be required to provide security with an ID in order to get a guest pass. This is typical at companies that are in a more corporate environment.
- A briefcase or professional looking bag. You’re going to need to put all of these things somewhere, right? They might as well be kept in something business-like. This will make you look much more professional than you would if you simply carried all of your stuff in your arms. If you don’t have one, don’t hesitate to ask a close friend or family member to borrow one of theirs for your interview.
- A good attitude. This is by far the most important thing you can bring to an interview. You may have all the bells and whistles on paper, but your attitude can make or break your chances of getting that second interview. Part of the reason companies ask candidates to meet in person is because anyone can have a beefed up resume and anyone can sound good in a cover letter or email. An interview is often meant to see how you would fit in with the rest of the team. Are you positive? Easy to communicate with? Do you take verbal constructive criticism well? How do you manage yourself under pressure? If you go in with a negative attitude and no confidence, how can you expect to sell yourself on the position? You can’t. Be positive, show real interest in the company, and be 100% confident in yourself and your abilities.
Best of luck!