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Create an Interview Survival Kit

Updated on July 31, 2013

We All Need Jobs!

There are a lot of us out there - the jobless zombies, dragging ourselves to employers again and again, only to hear, "we went with someone whose qualifications more closely match our needs." If I hear that one more time, I swear I'm going to seek out this person and ask them where they got their super powers.

That's right, I am on the job market - talking to everyone, trying to network and begging someone to hire me at a halfway decent wage. It stinks. It really does. However, I have found that there are a few things I need to carry in my car just in case I get an interview and just in case something goes awry on the way to said interview. I call it my Interview Survival Kit, and it includes safeguards against everything from food drips to stinky shoes.


Yes, Febreze makes it first on the list. This product is important especially if you are a smoker. Try to get the Febreze enhanced with Downy if you can because it has a clean, just out of the dryer smell. Park at a gas station or parking lot down the street from your interview and spray your clothes with the Febreze. We all have scents which we get used to - anything from cigarette smoke to the smell of our pets - that others pick up on immediately. Febreze works wonders to help hide these smells. I won't advise putting perfume or cologne in the kit because too much of this is overwhelming and should not be used in the same manner as this Febreze suggestion. Always park down the street from your potential employer for all these methods because you never know if someone is looking out the window at you. You need to act professional from the time you pull into the parking lot until the time you pull out.

Hair Accessories

You look great, but you want a hair brush, hair spray and maybe some hair gel in your kit. You want to check your hair before getting to the interview for any flyaways or pieces needing to be tamed. Guys are going to want a small hair kit as well, even if it's just a comb. I've had the air conditioning in my car mess up my hair before an interview, so even if you have the windows up, double check your hair before you get out of your car.

Small Hand Mirror

Most cars have mirrors in the visors, but you really want a bigger mirror to get a better look at yourself. Pull the mirror out and place it on the dash to give yourself a once over before going inside. As you know, the employer is going to begin "judging" you right away so make sure you don't give them anything to judge based on your appearance.

Lip Gloss

Ladies, do your makeup at home then leave it there. Take only your lip gloss. You don't want to overdo the makeup, and since you are probably pretty nervous, you might overdo the eyes and cheeks during your final check before entering the building. You don't want to do this. Do your makeup at home then leave it there. Apply light lip gloss, which tends to wear off quickly, before entering the building.

Toothpicks and Dental Floss

Check those teeth! You want to appear friendly and open, which means you will need to smile! Open your mouth and make sure your teeth are clean. Use the toothpick to remove visible debris. Grab the dental floss next - bad breath germs will hide between the teeth, so you want to make sure you clean these out. You've probably taken care of your teeth at home already, but it doesn't hurt to use the dental floss for a quick swipe through if you feel like you have offensive mouth odors.

Gum, Listerine Strips or Mints

Put these in your survival kit and USE THEM IN THE CAR! Never ever ever go to a job interview with something in your mouth, especially not a Listerine strip. These strips are very strong and will overwhelm your potential employer with their smell. Use the gum, mints or strips in the car on the way to the interview, then take the items out of your mouth or finish consumption before going inside. You want fresh breath but you want to create a great impression as well, and chewing gum just isn't going to do that for you.


You'll need the tissues to dispose of the gum or touch up your look in the mirror. You'll need to wipe down any makeup smudges, clean up any hair gel drips or wipe away any flaws which can be removed with a tissue. Blow your nose, especially during allergy season. Check your face in the mirror to make sure there is no chance of anything dripping from your nose (this is why you blow it). Clean your face and wipe sweat away from your neck with the tissues.

Dryer Sheets

These definitely go in the kit because they work great for any last minute static cling. Is your skirt sticking, or are those pant legs stuck on the socks? Rub the dryer sheet on the problem area and the dryer sheet will do what it needs to do just long enough to get you through the interview. They are also handy if you're out of Febreze or to smooth down your hair. They are a must have in your interview kit.

Shout Wipes

Have you seen these little miracles yet? They are wipes with Shout in them and they work right away. If you're on your way to an interview and you accidentally drop food on your outfit, grab a wipe and rub rub rub. The stain will almost come out completely, especially if you apply it right away. These are great in an emergency and help you look your absolute best for the interview.

Safety Pins

Don't stock only one or two safety pins. Stock a full box of them in your kit. You will have no wardrobe malfunctions for your interview! The safety pins are invaluable for anything that might go wrong - from a forgotten tie clip to a broken bra strap. Clothing is unpredictable so you need to be prepared for everything. Use the pins to pin down a disagreeable top, hold a tie in place, pin a stubborn pant leg in its place, or for any other clothing need you encounter.

Hair Scissors

This is more for the guys, who can sometimes have unsightly nose hairs which need to be trimmed. I don't suggest giving yourself a haircut right before an interview by any means. Use the scissors to clip nose hairs and make sure your appearance is absolutely top notch. Of course, you should ideally do this trimming at home, but the scissors are in an emergency kit, so they are there for interview emergencies.

For Further Help With Interviews....


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    • beckieland profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca Mayglothling 

      5 years ago from Binghamton NY

      Sigh... me too. I can't get anything anywhere. It sure is smelly!

    • Askme profile image


      5 years ago

      Excellent! Great advice even for a "seasoned" interviewee like myself. Yes....I'm on the job hunt as well. Seems like I've been on the hunt for a long time now. Voted up and useful.


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