Did you even think you’d bring something to an interview? Well, you should…but make sure they are the right things.
1. A portfolio that includes a pad of paper and several pens. You need to take notes.
2. Written questions. Have questions prepared for each person you’re meeting with.
3. Two to three copies of your printed resume on high-quality paper. It’s common for interviewers to show up to the interview without your resume, and oftentimes people are asked to participate in the interview who were not originally scheduled, so you’ll want to have extra copies available.
4. A snack, necessary medications, and a bottle of water. Companies sometimes forget that a candidate has been interviewing nonstop for the last five hours. View the face-to-face interview as an athletic event. You wouldn’t spend hours running, playing golf, or exercising without water and a snack. Do not count on the company to provide snacks or meals unless noted on an itinerary.
5. Business cards. Even if you’re unemployed, have some made. You’re an executive, so don’t cheap-out on flimsy cards. You want to make a good impression, so use decent card stock from Moo.com or Vistaprint.com that allows you to print front and back. List your core competencies on the back.
6. Thank-You Note Cards. I have worked with thousands of professionals on interview strategies, and the simple strategy of delivering a hand-written thank-you note to a receptionist following an interview will absolutely differentiate you from the competition. Bring four or five note cards and envelopes with you (nice ones, not cheap stuff). After you wrap up the interview and leave company’s premises, find a quiet place to sit down and write notes to the people you just met. This makes a fantastic positive impression, because most candidates are lazy and just send an e-mail.
7. References. Although references are not typically included on resumes anymore, when bringing your resume to a face-to-face interview, I recommend you also bring multiple copies of references in a separate document. Make sure to alert your references that they may receive a call. Each individual reference should include a full name, cellphone number, e-mail, and your relationship to the person.