Portfolio Interview

Attendee preparing for a Portfolio InterviewThe professional portfolio interview is being utilized by more and more companies as an alternative to the traditional interview format. The idea behind an interview is to allow you the applicant to demonstrate the skills and qualifications you possess that make you an ideal candidate for the position. Traditionally the way to show your skills is by providing past employment records as well as demonstrating your ability to communicate and interact well with others.

The portfolio method is a relatively new strategy that requires the candidate to not only talk about their abilities but to demonstrate them as well. Artists are familiar with the idea of portfolios and are required to show off various pieces of their work before being granted a commission or gallery showing. The professional portfolio interview works much in the same way as portfolios used by artists by demonstrating your skills and abilities in a more tangible way rather than simply boasting about it.

Employers are finding that the portfolio interview method is enhancing their ability in making an employment decision by being able to examine and review actual work completed by the potential employee.

Many employees are even finding this method preferable to the traditional interview route. Before these candidates may have been subjected to several rather rigorous interviews lasting anywhere from 15 minute intervals to hour long marathon sessions. With a portfolio interview, however, candidates are able to display their abilities and skills on the spot often times with enough talent to impress the employer right then and there. Of course the possibility of a professional portfolio interview does have its drawbacks especially for those that may be taken by surprise by the strategy.

For those candidates that choose to exaggerate their abilities will soon find themselves coming up short when the employers ask them to demonstrate their legendary marketing skills or design sensibilities. So it is important to be boastful of your capabilities without lying about them outright.

How to Prepare

While you may not know for certain if you are walking into a portfolio interview there are a few steps you can take to make sure that you are prepared just in case. The first is to be honest about what you are able to produce. If you claim to be able to sell anything you should be prepared to do just that. You may find yourself forced to sell used bubble gum in order to get the job.

For those applicants seeking a position that deals with people you may be asked to participate in a role play situation where you must simulate a variety of situations.

If you have examples of past work bring them with you to the interview. That way when asked about past experiences or your capabilities you will be able to offer those examples. This is helpful for marketing campaign positions and even advertisement professionals who have physical representations of their abilities.

The entire idea behind this type of interview is to demonstrate your skill on the spot. How you handle the pressure and what you produce is all part of the interview process. You should be prepared for a portfolio process as well as the more traditional interview process when you agree to meet with the interviewer.

By demonstrating what you are capable of achieving on the spot and under pressure the interviewer will be able to ascertain your strengths as well as your weaknesses. If you are able to produce during this type of interview you will surely be granted additional interviews.

It is important to take time to prepare no matter how confident you are in your abilities.

Adapted From The Everything Job Interview Book, 2nd Edition by Joy Darlington and Nancy Schuman, Copyright © 2008, 2001 by F W Media, Inc., published by Adams Media, a division of F W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.


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