Everyone who has ever been interviewed for a job knows what a minefield it is. What do you wear, what do you bring, and how do you prepare? Every little thing you do in that interview room is going to impact how you come across, and how the hiring manager sees you.
One of the many contentious questions regarding the interview process is whether or not you should bring (and give out) your business card in an interview. So, should you, or shouldn’t you?
This guide will talk you through the benefits and disadvantages of handing over your business card at a job interview. We’ll also look at what information you should have on your business card, when to hand it out, and other important materials you should bring with you.
What Are the Benefits of Bringing a Business Card to a Job Interview?
There are several schools of thought on whether or not you should give out your business card at an interview. Not every interview situation is the same, so this is not a “one size fits all” scenario.
For example, a freelancer who has no affiliation with a particular business would possibly be right to give out their card, whereas if you work for a larger corporation and your business card reflects this you may think twice (although again it would depend on the circumstances).
Let’s start off by looking at all of the potential reasons why bringing a business card along to your interview would be a wise move.
1) Even if you are unsuccessful at interviewing for a certain position, the physical prompt of a business card may be enough to jog someone’s memory of you should another suitable position arise in the company.
2) A business card is a visual representation of your professional self and provides interviewers with a much briefer reminder of you than reading your CV. Your CV has already impressed them if you are at the interview stage, so your business card could be valuable in providing a reminder of your skills and contact details.
3) If you are a freelancer there may be other positions in the same company that would be a good fit for you. Your business card could prove to be a useful prompt for potential employers to keep you in mind for other positions.
Furthermore, business cards are a valuable networking tool. Aside from your interviewers it may be useful to have some with you in case you speak to anyone else who may be a useful contact while you are there for interview.
Are There Any Downsides to Bringing a Business Card to an Interview?
Some people believe that handing out business cards at interviews can come across as unnecessary and pushy. Is there a need to hand out your business card when the interviewers already have a wealth of information about you and your skills from your cover letter and resume? You are just handing out repeat information after all.
However, it is worth remembering that all interviews are different and different jobs have very different expectations in interviews.
If your business card reflects your position in your current company, you should only really hand out your card when you are in a situation in which you are representing that company. In some fields it may be considered unprofessional to hand out a card in an interview that represents your current firm, which you’re planning on leaving.
In this circumstance it may be a good idea to have a separate card with basic contact details on and which does not represent your current company.
When Should You Hand the Card Over?
If you have decided that the situation is agreeable to handing your business card out in an interview then make sure you find the right time to do this. The end of the interview before you say goodbye and thank your interviewers is probably the most pertinent time.
Gauge the mood in the room, and before you say your final goodbyes offer your card to the interviewers with a simple “Here’s my card – please don’t hesitate to get in touch”.
You may consider handing it out after you have asked your own questions. After all this is the part of the interview when the roles are somewhat reversed so while you have an element of control you can use that to your advantage.
What Should Be on Your Business Card?
Before you consider giving out your business card at an interview you need to ensure that your card has all the relevant information on it and that it looks professional. The style of your card will likely reflect the business you are in. For example, an accountant will have a very different card to a graphic designer.
Business cards should look streamlined and feature only the most essential information (e.g.name, contact number, email address, business address if relevant).
Your business card might also include a very short description of how you wish to be identified in your field. For example “[your name]: proof-reader and copy editor”.
Do I Need a New Business Card?
If you (like many people) are considering a change in career then you may want to consider creating a new business card that is separate to your current one, assuming your current card is related to your present field. Having a card that reflects the job or career you are aspiring to makes more sense than handing out one that represents you in your soon-to-be previous career.
On this card you should include contact information such as phone numbers and email addresses that are not related to your current position. Your private number and email would be more suitable in this instance.
It’s also a good idea to create a new, independent business card if your current one contains branding for the company where you’re currently employed.
What Else Should You Bring to a Job Interview?
Business card aside, there are some other essentials that you should definitely bring to an interview.
1) Copies of your CV. HR will obviously have a copy of your CV and will most likely have provided the interview panel with at least one copy to refer to, but there is no harm in bringing some with you out hand out if necessary.
2) Portfolio of work examples (if relevant). Bringing along a portfolio of relevant work is a valuable way to back up any references you make to your previous work during the course of your interview.
3) Pre-prepared questions to ask the interview panel. Potential employers want to see that you have thought about the job and writing out some questions avoids that awkward moment at the end of the interview when you are asked “so have you got anything you would like to ask us?” Having questions written out in advance means that if your mind goes blank in the heat of the moment you have some pertinent questions ready at your disposal.
4) Notepad and pen. You may need to write down notes and prompts as you go through the interview, especially if it likely to be lengthy. Doing this may help you when it comes to asking questions at the end of the interview.
5) Breath mints. Having fresh breath is a simple yet effective way of creating a good impression right off the bat – it shows you’re serious about your appearance and hygiene.
You should also bring a list of references (e.g. past employers and character references). You may not be asked for them at this stage, but it’s best to be prepared, just in case.
Where Can I Order Custom Business Cards in the UK?
Job hunting can be a trying time full of stress, self-doubt, highs and lows. Having an impressive business card will not only help you feel more confident, but it’ll also help your potential employer to see that you’re well-prepared and keen to make a good impression.
If you’re looking to design a new business card for your job interviews, look no further than 123Print. We’re a UK based printing company offering fully personalised business cards which you can design right from the comfort of your own home.
On our site, you’ll find thousands of full-colour business card templates suitable for every vocation and profession imaginable. We offer different card thicknesses, raised and embossed fonts, rounded or pointed corners and the ability to add text and images to the reverse of the card. You’ll also find templates in both landscape and portrait orientation.
We’ll dispatch your order within two working days, and our team are always on hand to fix any issues should they arise. Head to 123Print today to begin your business card journey!