Eight things not to bring to the job interview
Job interview time! You got your light reading material for the commute, your snack, your coffee, your mom. All set, right? Wrong.
There are a few items you should bring to the job interview with you: a printed copy of your resume, a portfolio, necessary other documents. An umbrella, maybe, if it’s raining.
And there are several things that you must not bring with you, since they can decrease, or even tank, your chances of getting the job. These include:
Your parents: No, before you ask, you can’t even bring one parent. Leave the family members at home. This means you, millennials. It’s nice that you and your mom are close. I support that. But you have to grow up and represent yourself at the job interview. You are not a child. Don’t act like one.
Your dog/cat/hamster: I admit that if you brought a dog to an interview with me – as long as you had a good explanation – I’d be like “Awesome. A puppy!” but not everyone feels the same. And just showing up with an animal, with no explanation, is indeed weird. A former recruiting director for American Eagle told CNBC the story of a woman who brought her crated cat to the job interview and set it on the desk. She proceeded to play with it off and on throughout the interview. The recruiter wondered, “Why would you think that’s OK?” To be on the safe side, leave the furry friends at home.
Your phone: Of course you’ll have your phone on you. But turn it off and put it in your pocket, for Pete’s sake. If you can’t show the interviewer the respect of offering your full attention for an hour or so, you don’t deserve the job. And you won’t get it.
Coffee: Maybe they’ll offer you one, but don’t show up carrying one. You might spill it, there may be nowhere to put the cup when you’re done, so you wind up carrying it around, the hiring manager might think it’s rude. It’s safer not to bring one. A bottle of water is OK. However, be careful…
A rival company’s product: This Wall Street Journal article contains a story about someone who showed up for an interview at PepsiCo with a bottle of Dasani water. Dasani is a Coke product. He didn’t get the job. This sort of gaffe shows you really didn’t do your homework. Don’t show up for an interview at Starbucks while carrying a Tim Horton’s coffee, unless your plan is to discuss the competition.
Fifty Shades of Grey: When it comes to the job interview, don’t bring any reading material that makes you look anything less than serious, intelligent, and professional. This means the celebrity gossip magazines and the erotica should stay at home, under the bed, where they belong.
Your shopping: So, you just had to pick up a few things and what’s the harm in bringing the bags of stuff to the interview? Everything. This presents the absolute wrong message. It makes it look like the interview is just something you’re fitting in between other things, not the sole focus of your day. You want to look like you really care about the job. Do your shopping later.
Food: One hiring manager has a story about a candidate who ate her lunch during a virtual meeting. She didn’t get the job. Whether the meeting is virtual or in person, treat it the same. Be prepared and professional. And don’t bring food.
You want to present as uncluttered and streamlined a picture as possible and that’s hard to do when you’re laden with bags of stuff, coffees, cats and parents. Carry as little as possible with you, and make the best impression you can.
Now, let’s play a game. Can you spot the items in the image that you shouldn’t bring to the interview?