• PTP Chicago

What to Bring to an Interview and What to Avoid?




Congrats on the interview call. This is the first step towards landing your dream job and we know you’re going to ace it. While it is common knowledge that you need to prepare for the interview, that's not the only thing that you need to focus on for the big day. From the moment you set foot at the interview location to the time you leave it, you create an impression on your prospective employers. This is your opportunity to show them that you would seamlessly fit into their organizational culture, have the right attitude, and you take this job seriously.

How could you do that? Simple, pay attention to your appearance, the way you walk, and the confidence you resonate with. These intangible aspects of you could be the driving force and what seals the deal in your favor. Here's how you can leave a long-standing positive impression on the recruiters to increase your chances of a call-back and a job offer.

Preparing for the Interview


Imagine this—you are the recruiting manager who has scheduled an interview with two potential candidates. One of them arrives dressed in casual clothes and looks unkempt. The other is well-dressed, walks into the office with confidence, carries a folder, and looks well-prepared. Based on your first impression, which candidate are you more likely to favor? The one that looks more presentable and prepared, right?

Irrespective of whom you are meeting about a job interview, it is important to prepare and look presentable. Talk to everyone in the organization with a positive attitude, as the recruiter might discuss your profile with other key members of the organization.

Research the Company


It is important to know your domain and come across as an expert or the right fit for the role. But it is equally important to research the company and prepare talking points on why you would like to be part of the organization. You could check the organization's social media platforms and Glassdoor to understand the organization's culture, career progression, and growth opportunities. When the interviewer sees that you are prepared and have done your research, they will take your application more seriously.

Ask for Directions


Unless you are sure where the office is located, you should ask the recruiter for directions or a Map link. Try to find a landmark close to the building and find out if it's the right one. It is better to ask for directions than to be lost. It would help if you reached the interview venue 10 to 15 minutes early. This would allow you to groom yourself and get comfortable. Check the travel time, and leave an additional half an hour for unexpected delays, traffic congestion, etc. Arriving early at the venue would show that you are serious about the job while helping you assess the organizational culture and understand if you would fit in.

Dress Appropriately


Irrespective of the organizational culture and the role you are applying for, dress appropriately. Wear clothes that are comfortable but not too casual. Avoid bright colors. Stick to pastel shades. If you have any tattoos, try to cover them up with your clothes to avoid distracting the recruiter. Do not wear clothes that are revealing too much skin or body-hugging.

If you have a lot of piercings, remove them, and stick to a simple stud earring. Excessive jewelry draws attention and is distracting. It is important to create a lasting impression on the recruiter, but make sure it's for the right reasons.

Wear close-toed shoes with the right colored socks. Accessories like watches, handbags, and wallets should be conservative and not exuberant.

Have a Few Questions Ready


Take the time to research the company. Make notes of all the questions and bring them up when you talk to the recruiter. For instance, you could ask about your career progression in this role, the amount of travel, typical day at work, organizational culture, challenges in the role, etc.

Avoid questions about the days you would like to take off, logistical challenges of getting to work, or anything that warrants a yes or no response.

Asking the right questions will demonstrate your interest in the role and the organization. You could ask additional questions based on your discussion with the recruiter. This would demonstrate your listening and comprehension skills.

What Should You Bring to the Interview?


Resume Copies


Print a few copies of your resume to hand out when asked. Retain a copy for yourself to ensure you fill the details in the job application right and line with your resume. While most organizations comply and can arrange for your resume to be printed, it does not leave a great first impression. You might come across as unprepared for the interview if you do not have enough copies of your resume.

Notepad


Carry a notepad and pen with you. Use this to take notes as you talk to your recruiter. You could use this to ask follow-up questions after the interview. It will also help if you take down the names, designation, and a summary of what you spoke with everyone you meet. It will help you come across as a professional and help you remember whom you met in case you need to send out a follow-up email.

Identification


Carry your photo identification documents with you. You might have to produce one at the entry point of the building or for filling the job application.

Portfolio


Based on the role that you are applying for; you would have to carry your work samples. If you cannot print and present them in a folder, consider carrying your laptop or iPad.

What Not to Bring to the Interview?


If you do not wish to ruin your chances of securing a job, avoid doing or carrying these things to your interview.


  • Your morning coffee

  • Chewing gum

  • Staring at your phone or talking as you enter the venue.

  • Strong perfume or no deodorant at all. Use a mild and pleasant deodorant or perfume.

  • Unkempt hair


In Conclusion

Preparing well and appearing presentable is important to increase your chances of securing the job. Research for possible questions that the interviewer might ask make mental notes and put your best foot forward.

Believe in yourself and give it your best shot. Answer questions confidently, and convince them to see that you are the best fit for the role. If things do not go as planned and the interview does not go well, do not lose hope. Refer to your notes and try to evaluate what went wrong. Use these learnings to ace the next interview.


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About the Company:

Peterson Technology Partners (PTP) has been Chicago's premier Information Technology (IT) staffing, consulting, and recruiting firm for over 22+ years. Named after Chicago's historic Peterson Avenue, PTP has built its reputation by developing lasting relationships, leading digital transformation, and inspiring technical innovation throughout Chicagoland.

Based in Park Ridge, IL, PTP's 250+ employees have a narrow focus on a single market (Chicago) and expertise in 4 innovative technical areas;

  • Cybersecurity

  • Artificial Intelligence

  • Data Science

  • Cloud & DevOps

PTP exists to ensure that all of our partners (clients and candidates alike) make the best hiring and career decisions.

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Peterson Technology Partners is an equal opportunity employer.