It ain’t just a case of printing off your resume and rocking up in your most professional outfit anymore—failing to prepare is preparing to fail after all. There are certain things you should always be ready for when interviewing, and some essentials you really won’t want to be without. Here’s exactly what you need to take to your next interview if you really want to impress:
1. Your personal brand package
Whether you’re interviewing for a marketing position or not—you need your personal brand package to be on point for an interview. In today’s ultra-competitive working world, you might want to bring the following along:
Portfolio of work—either print outs or even better; on an iPad that you can show around the table. Be creative—include written work, visual aids, graphs, charts and anything that helps you tell the story of why you’re the perfect fit for the job
Your personal business card (note: not the one for the company you currently work at)
2. Some pre-planned narratives
We all know to turn up with questions to an interview; to avoid that dreaded tumbleweed situation when the interviewer inevitably says “and is there anything you’d like to ask us?”
Turning up with planned out scenarios, such as how you’d go about improving X, Y, Z is a great way of demonstrating your initiative. That means that when they ask if you have questions, you can roll out your ideas with confidence, and then ask “does that fit with the direction you see the role taking?” as opposed to “how do you see the direction of the role panning out?”.
3. Prepare your stories
According to Forbes, it’s still worth having answers prepared for some common interview questions—however old school they might sound. Preparing to address scenarios such as the following will stand you in good stead in the context of an interview:
Prepare one story about a time when you saved the day.
Prepare a story about a time when you learned from a mistake.
Prepare a story about a time when you had to act without a manager’s guidance.
Prepare a story about a time when you had to deal with a difficult person.
Prepare a story about a time when you had to turn on a dime and change plans.
Prepare a story about a time when you worked on a team.
Prepare a story about a time when you took the initiative.
4. Emergency supplies
They’re basic AF, but worth mentioning. Make sure you have a toolkit to allow for a variety of things not going to plan; cash as well as credit card, alternative transport plans, bobby pins, breath mints, water, snacks, a portable phone charger, contact number of who you’re seeing saved on your phone and on a piece of paper in your bag. All of these things might seem like overkill—but they’ll make you feel a whole lot more relaxed on the day, we promise.
5. Nail the aesthetics
While of course it’s what’s on the inside that really counts, nailing your outfit can be instrumental in giving you the confidence you need to go in there and smash your interview. You want your outfit to be super adaptable; gone are the days where you simply wear a pencil skirt and ‘smart blouse’; as a lot of us are now interviewing in situations and contexts where corporate dress is simply not the norm.
In all but the most formal settings, steer clear of the jacket, shirt, and skirt combination. It can send out major ‘junior’ vibes, as it’s a look that tends to lack personal style, and is also way harder to switch up according to the situation you’re in. You want to look neat, polished, and like you can easily slot into the company’s culture.