Interview Take-Along Checklist

A salesperson's briefcase
A salesperson's briefcase (Sakchai Lalit/AP Photo)

You're interviewing for a job tomorrow, and you think you're prepared: You've got your answers to a multitude of common interview questions down and have a few of your own for the interviewer. Your suit is pressed and ready. But what do you bring to the interview?

We've created this handy checklist, with the help of Monster interview expert Marky Stein, so you won't forget a thing.

What to Put in Your Briefcase

Your Resume and References

But don't just throw these crucial documents in your bag. According to Stein, linguists and psychologists have found that 93% of all communication is nonverbal. How you present this information says a lot about you.

To that end, Stein recommends you buy an inexpensive two-pocket folder in blue, since this color appeals to men and women and conveys a business feel. Place your resume on the left side and your letters of recommendation and reference list on the right side. When you get to the interview, say, "I wanted to bring an extra copy of my resume -- here it is," and open the folder, turning it around for the interviewer to read.

"This is a sign you are open and honest as well as organized," Stein says. "The more you show you are prepared, the more you are showing respect."

Pad and Paper

Taking a few notes during your interview (while being careful not to stare at your notepad the whole time) is another sign of respect.

"It makes them feel like you are listening," Stein said.

Business Card

People either take in information visually, audibly or through touch. "The more you give them to touch, the more real it seems to them," she said.


"These lower your anxiety," said Stein, adding that it's preferable to drive to your interview location in advance and park so you can see how long it all takes.

Cell Phone

You can always leave this bit of modern life in your car, but if you must take it with you, make sure it stays turned off and in your briefcase. It's a huge sign of disrespect to be interrupted during an interview or give the appearance you'll be interrupted.

"If you're a man, don't even wear it on your belt," Stein recommends. "Keep it hidden."

The Intangibles

A Smile

It may sound sappy, but this nonverbal clue is an immediate rapport-builder. Interviewers are often nervous, too.

"In one-sixteenth of a second, we assess whether someone will harm, help or hurt us," Stein said. "[A smile] immediately tells someone that you're not going to hurt them."

Company Research

In almost every interview, you'll be asked what you know about the company, Stein said. To prepare for this question, you can check out companies on Monster.

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