Interviewing with an UNbound portfolio... thoughts?


For a final portfolio I'd obviously prefer a nicely bound book myself, but as I am currently interviewing for a new job while working on my masters' thesis project, I didn't want to bind a portfolio with progress work, and then have to reprint and rebind everything with the final thesis once that's finished in two months.

What's your opinion on showing up to an interview with a loose leaf portfolio, nicely printed and perhaps in a folder or something, but unbound? And thoughts on the "enclosure" - a manila or newsboard folder, perhaps a box? It might even be simpler to slide around and display stuff spread out on a table.

Feb 21, 19 10:12 am
Non Sequitur

I like the idea of spreading a few large sheets around for discussion.

Feb 21, 19 10:24 am
Witty Banter

If you can figure out a way to design a portfolio that feels like a finished product without it being bound together that's fine and could be viewed as creative.  If you show up at an interview shuffling around some loose pages you printed on cheap paper and threw in a folder expect interviewers to be skeptical.

Feb 21, 19 10:26 am

I've never liked portfolios-in-boxes - they're unwieldy in interviews - the box and lid have to go somewhere on the table and invariably the candidate or somebody else ends up crushing it with an elbow, and often the candidate keeps reorganizing the project cards and moving them around, and if there are multiple interviewers then you end up with different people passing the projects around and looking at different ones from each other - it's just kind of messy and the interviews don't flow as well or stay as focused as if you've got one book that everybody is looking at at the same time.  Candidates usually do a better job of leading us through their portfolio when it's a book, and they can control the order and pace of discussion of their work.

Also the cards-in-box-portfolio seems to have hit its peak of popularity around 1994 - I rarely see them these day - so it may kind of date you.  Unless maybe they're making a comeback and I'm not enough on the cusp of trends to know that...

It's so easy these days to get a book bound that even if it's a progress version that you're planning to replace soon, in my opinion it would still be better to have something in a book format.

Feb 21, 19 11:07 am

Why not just use an ipad? Thats what I used on my last two jobs and was hired at both. Honestly I have come to the conclusion employers value your attitude and personality significantly over the portfolio anyway.

Feb 21, 19 11:55 am
Witty Banter

I was assuming the poster didn't want to get a "progress" portfolio printed and bound due to the cost associated. If he or she doesn't already own a tablet this may not be a realistic option. If so, I absolutely agree that would work.


I also used iPads for my last interview. I borrow a couple from family and friends, loaded up my portfolio and then used the Accessibility tools to lock the iPad to the portfolio. I knew the interview was with multiple people so I was able to get enough iPads together for the day and pass them out.


I'd use a show album (not sure how it's called in English) with transparent sleeves where you slide in your printed pages. Especially handy with a portfolio that is still in development, you can reprint only certain pages, reshuffle the order, add and remove pages, etc. One like this:

Feb 21, 19 2:29 pm

Those generally have a bad reputation - students are taught in school that plastic sleeve books are tacky and look lazy. I don't mind them, if they have the non-glare plastic and they're in decent shape (it's distracting if the plastic sleeves are starting to split.) They don't hold up that well if they're getting carried around and thumbed through a lot - but it would be ok if it's a new one and if the firm's not too judgy.


I disagree, the plastic sleeve books are beautiful and are the perfect solution to framing your physical professional portfolio.


The times I pulled it out during interviews actually worked out great for me.


Yeah, they are wonderful, there's a reason 5 year olds use them to store their crayon scribbles. Prospective employers will be in awe of their functionality when you whip it out .


I've got nothing but compliments and job offers when whippin' it out

it is probably safe to assume the person interviewing you is going to look at the content not the format because they are professional and know what they are looking for. I've seen many formats and as long as its done nicely I am unconcerned by the way its packaged. Bad graphic design and bad design is more noticeable.

Feb 22, 19 6:32 pm

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