What to bring to an interview besides portfolio?

evilfansanfran's picture

I'm young so don't have too many printed examples.

What do you normally bring to interviews besides your book, a optimistic attitude, and resume?

Alaskan's picture

A beer.

jasonc's picture

references? You probably don't have (m)any professional ones, but perhaps you could get them from your professors.

Jason C

Si_Daniels's picture

A paper bag, a Swiss Army knife and a change of underwear.

Sulekha Rajkumar's picture

A big bright smile! Or a very cool scowl. I've never known the expression in between to work.

aluminum's picture

Bring a pen and notepad. Take notes.

A leave-behind is nice, too. I typically print out my portfolio as color laser prints so I don't mind (as much) leaving it there if they like. I also bring a handful of business cards.

riccard0's picture

Bribes? ;-)

Frode Bo Helland's picture

If I someday get to hire a designer, I'd love a walk-through of a project explaining the whole process from bried to product. But then again they might be very busy people.

blank's picture

Bring your sketchbook. The best interviewers don’t waste time looking at a portfolio; they ask to see your sketchbook and will spend a good hour flipping through it and asking about it. Any jackass can fake a good design portfolio, but a sketchbook can’t be faked!

marcox's picture

Bring a knowledge of what the company does, who their big clients/competitors are, and some questions that show you're aware of and interested in issues beyond "where would my desk be?"

oprion's picture

A flask of brandy to celebrate and or drown your sorrow after the fact.

Joe Pemberton's picture

Wear a suit.

Seriously. They'll be surprised, and you will be over dressed, but they will remember you. (If your book stinks then your impression will not matter at all.)

ihoff's picture

This is all good advice:
• sketchbook
• leave behind
• smile
• knowledge of the company, and specifically the person interviewing you
• questions specific to the job
• oodles of enthusiasm.

And, if you're nervous beforehand, find an empty corridor, or street, and run for a minute. Will put a nice flush in your cheeks, get the blood pumping to your brain, and the nerves out.

Good luck! And let us know how you get on.

JuanMadrigal's picture

Joe, A suit for a junior position? I actually don't think so. I had this conversation with a lot of art/creative director friends and we all agreed that a suit sets a weird message. Unless you are fashion driven and you wear suits (and good ones) most of the time, then it is OK. When I have interviewed junior designers, I want to see who they really are, what's their style and what stuff they like. Be clean and a little bit more "dressed" than normal but be yourself.

My advice is: if you don't have enough works to show on your portfolio or you're not happy with the few projects from school or work, just make your own projects and be serious about it. Research a lot about the company you're having the interview and if you know who's interviewing you, research more...

And yeah, bring a positive attitude and ask for feedback.

elzosmid's picture

Something to leave behind. Not just your business card but for instance a little book that you made especially for such occasions.

Chris Dean's picture

One of my first professors at NSCAD University, c. 1993, Tony Mann (scroll down a bit to see Anthony Mann), told us a story of one of his old colleagues. He went to an interview with not much of a portfolio at all. Instead of showing them what he had done, he gathered examples of what he wanted to do. He got the job.

5star's picture

Duct tape.

JamesM's picture

Regarding clothing, you probably want to dress at the same level of formality as other folks in the company. Most companies have a relaxed dress code these days, but some are more formal, especially if they're meeting with a client.

If the interview is important to you, swing by the company at a time when people are coming or going (lunchtime, for instance) and observe how folks are dressed.

Quincunx's picture

Also consider bringing some physical copies of some of your work. I.e. if you have designed a few beautiful books, I often think it's better to bring them with you, instead of only showing them as a photo in your portfolio, so that the person you are interviewing with can interact with the book (feel the paper, see the binding, etc.).

dezcom's picture

Walk a mile in your prospective employer's shoes. If you were hiring someone for the kind of position you seek, what would you like to see or be impressed by? One of the greatest skills needed to do design work is the ability to "see" the clients problem. This is something you will never find in a pull-down menu. Role-play out how an interview might go. Read everything you can find out about the company. Do your homework. What would impress me is if someone could demonstrate their problem-solving skills. You are hired to solve problems, not just to flash your glitz.

ggalileo's picture

What about "no phone calls please" or "Do not contact us by telephone". Really, after a week of not hearing what should one do? Just an email? Is that all I can do?

oldnick's picture

A little humility never hurts, either. Assuredly, you want to stress your strong suits but, if you are presented with a question to which you do not have an answer, DON'T try to fake it. Admitting ignorance--humankind's natural condition--is better than trying to BS your way through it. "I don't know, but I'm a quick learner" goes a lot farther with prospective employers than a fusillade of BS...

fredo's picture

Bring your personality.
From my point of view it's a matter of how you'd fit into a group of people, what you would add to the mix.

AdamC's picture

Bring your resume, but that's a given. Bring some references, and bring your best outfit.

Bendy's picture

>What about "no phone calls please" or "Do not contact us by telephone". Really, after a week of not hearing what should one do? Just an email? Is that all I can do?

Hm, in my experience these things always take longer than anyone expects. Employers in small businesses especially don't realise what an important decision recruiting someone is, until they're actually trying to decide. So I'd wait another few days and if there's still no news then my approach would be a quick, polite call.

JamesM's picture

>What about "no phone calls please"

That phrase often just refers to people making initial inquiries by phone, like calling and asking "Are you guys hiring?"

But if you think it also applies to follow-up calls after an interview, you might want to follow up with an email instead of a call.

Chrisshaul's picture

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