Candidate Resources

Your Essential Summer Interview Toolkit

Don’t Leave Home Without It!

Summer is just about here, and if you’re new to New York City ーwe’re looking at you, new grads! ー interview season is about to kick into high gear. Travelling  around the city when the heat turns up can lead to some challenging situations, especially if you’re dressed to impress and trying to put your best foot forward. We put together this guide to help you prepare for common scenarios and inconveniences. Bearing these pointers in mind will ensure that at least getting to your next interview, and feeling your best during your commute, won’t be added obstacles on your job search!

With unemployment rates low, the job market in New York City is looking bright! This means that job-seekers new in town aren’t competing as closely with more experienced workers that have had to compete for entry-level jobs as in years past. With less competition from job-seekers that have been here for a while, the latest crop of ambitious graduates stand a greater chance to secure their entree into the professional world. That said, the NYC job market is still highly competitive overall, so it’s essential to be prepared! Read on so you can start gathering what you need to build your essential interview toolkit!

Here’s what you’ll need to prepare and bring along, and some tips for surviving the heat:

First things first:

Download a PDF Subway Map to your phone. You might think you know exactly where you’re headed, but no matter how long you’ve lived here subway lines can have altered service and you may be stuck without a map in sight not knowing the best alternate route. The MTA provides a great map you can download and save right to your phone so you won’t need to compete with intermittent and unreliable subway station WiFi! Click here to access the full, downloadable map.

Next, consider your essentials:

A Pen – Most companies will have pens available, but the ability to be prepared is something you can easily demonstrate by bringing one along in case you need to jot down notes. We’ve seen interviews take place in quiet cafes or restaurants lately, so it’s especially important to plan ahead if you know you won’t be in a traditional office setting for your meeting.

A Notebook – In the same breath, and depending on the interview style, you may be taking in a lot of information during your meeting. It’s perfectly fine to have a notebook handy to take down details if you’re being presented with a lot of information. Say something like, “Would you mind if I jot a few notes down? I don’t want to forget any of this useful information!” to your interviewer to be polite. No one can be expected to remember absolutely everything! We happen to think it shows your desire to take the meeting seriously, and that you care about considering details and making sure nothing important runs the risk of being forgotten ー we’re only human after all!

Printed copies of your resume! We can’t stress enough the importance of having these on hand ー and keep them protected in a hard folder so they will not be damaged in transit. While you could encounter a situation where your interviewer already has a copy printed out for the meeting, in the event it’s not, it’s on you to make sure you have it handy. You should prepare to have as many copies as interviewers, and always be ready to offer to share one. If you’re not sure how many people you’ll be meeting, air on the side of caution and bring several copies ー can’t go wrong with having extra, but you can with not enough. Make sure it’s updated in and tip top shape before your meeting. Click here for more tips from our recruiters!

Pack it all into a professional style bag:

Bringing a bag or briefcase can make life much easier. If you’re bringing a bag or briefcase, load it up with the items above and don’t forget a few crucial personal items: tissues, deodorant, an extra hair tie or accessory to keep hair out of your face, a hair brush, and breath mints (<– be sure not to arrive at an interview chewing gum!). It gets very hot here, and it sizzles in midtown in particular. You could easily get caught in the subway car or taxi with the broken air conditioning ー it happens more than you know, and trust us, it’s not pleasant! No one wants to melt into a puddle before arriving at their interview destination, or fall victim to distracting frizz and flyaways!  Make sure you have a handy bag or zipper pouch within your larger bag to separate your personal items from your interview items. This will help you avoid reaching into your bag to pull out your resume folder and having your personal items spill onto the floor or table.

Last but not least…

Dress accordingly – 2 pro tips:

  1. Start by choosing appropriate shoes for commuting!

City dwellers have a love-hate relationship with shoes, especially in the summer. Given warmer months are also high season for construction on major city streets, which can wreak havoc on just about anything but a pair of workboots, uneven streets and dust abound! The good news is that traversing in sensible shoes is perfectly acceptable, and flat, comfortable walking shoes or sneakers also happen to be very fashionable right now! If you want to wear a nice pair of dress shoes or heels to an interview but don’t want to ruin them, remember it’s more than okay to bring your dress shoes with you in your bag, and change into them when you reach your destination, before heading up to your meeting. Here are some great travel shoe bags worth investing in!

  1. Fabrics can make or break your warm-weather ensemble!

Let’s just face the facts…. summer temperatures (and subway platforms!) can also cause quite a bit of unwanted perspiration that can impact your attire. It’s not flattering, nor is it the best version of you if you appear drenched in sweat  by the time you get across town. If the temps are going up to 90 and you need to walk all the way over to the West Side Highway from the subway for example, you might not want to wear that silk top that highlights unsightly sweat stains, or a wool blazer that is going to cause you to sweat through your shirt (<– more great tips for menswear in this link!). Cut your losses and wear a lighter, more breathable fabric that won’t exacerbate the unavoidable! Since you’ll already have tissues in your bag, and you’ll have planned on arriving 10 minutes early, you’ll have plenty of time freshen up and dry off in a restroom before your meeting!

Any questions on building your summer interview tool kit or finding the perfect interview ensemble? We’re here for you, just shoot over an email:

Happy Interviewing!



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