Print portfolio to an interview?

I’m interested to know what some of you pros who are in a hiring position think about this, but anyone can give feedback, so please feel free.

I do have an online portfolio, but should I bring in print pieces as well? Would that make a good impression or make me look outdated? I’ve been in the business for 17 years and remember when I had to carry a book to the interview. It was a pain, but necessary. I also have a laptop, but I don’t know about bringing that in since the HM has already seen my online portfolio. For some interviews in the past, I had a PDF on my laptop showing some “extra” things that weren’t online, but I might not do that anymore — it was too much. It was just fluff and not my best work. I DO have some good print pieces though. What do you think?

I am not in a hiring position and have not interviewed or been interviewed in a long time. So this is just my opinion. If you’re going for a print position, I’d say you should bring print samples. It’s one thing to see a screen shot of a print sample. It’ something else to see a physical sample that reinforces your knowledge of print production and that you can get files from your computer, through prepress, and turned into a nice printed piece.

Thanks! Yes, I forgot to mention that this will be primarily a print position.

I think you need to assume they’ve already looked at your online portfolio before you arrive at the interview. I mean, that was likely one of the main reasons they’re interested in the first place. You can’t be sure of that, though.

So with that being the case, you still need to impress them at the interview, and that goes a bit beyond just small talk, answering their questions and reminding them of what they might (or might not) have seen online.

Yes, by all means take some printed samples to the presentation. Show them what some of these things look like in person. Show them some new things that aren’t in your online portfolio. It doesn’t have to be a traditional portfolio all nicely organized in a portfolio case, but definitely show them things to surprise and impress them. This is an in-person interview, so you need to do in-person things. Bring your laptop just in case — you might not need it, but you likely won’t know until you get there.

Think of it this way, this is a presentation and your job is to entertain and impress the audience. Put yourself in their position: would you want to sit across the table and just ask questions to a stranger for a half hour or would you want that person to surprise you with new, interesting and engaging things?

Good point! Thanks! So do you think it wouldn’t be a big deal if I showed with some of the same pieces that are on my website? I want to bring in something, but I DON’T want to bring in mediocre print pieces, or filler. I have some other good prints, but not many.

I think you should take in whatever you feel will be best when shown in person. I wouldn’t take in mediocre work just for the sake of showing them something new because, if you do, that’s what they’ll judge you on.

Like every online portfolio, there are just some things that seem a whole lot more impressive in person. Physically thumbing through a brochure, touching the paper, seeing how it flows and getting the entire effect depends, quite often, on seeing and handling the real thing.

So even if a few of those things are already online, bring some in anyway and explain things about them that weren’t evident online. Tell them the story behind them, how they came about, why you made the decisions you made, how you made it work and how successful it turned out to be in solving the problem.

Play it by ear once you get there, but be prepared with things you might need — laptop, leave-behinds, things they haven’t seen, things that are better when seen in person, interesting and insightful stories about these things. You likely won’t need it all, but you’ll be prepared if it seems the interviewers are interested in going there.

For what it’s worth, I interview job applicants quite often. Good luck!

Good advice. Thank you much!

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