Professional Portfolio Interview
In a nutshell, the professional portfolio interview is a chance for the candidate to illustrate his expertise on the spot at the request of the employer. For creative types (e.g., photographers, copywriters, graphic artists), this would merely consist of the applicant showing her scrapbook of past work. For other types—sales and marketing professionals, for example—a professional portfolio means something quite different.
For many professional positions, job candidates will be asked to do more than just talk about their strengths, weaknesses, and experiences; they'll be asked to prove them on the spot as well. In an interview for a sales position, the interviewer may hand the candidate an everyday item like a pen or pencil and tell the candidate, “Sell this!” Someone looking for a marketing position may be asked to devise an ad campaign—on the spot—for something as simple as a cardboard box. A professional editor may be asked to read a brief manuscript and make recommendations.
An unsuspecting job seeker walked into his interview only to find that he had been invited for a marathon interview. This consisted of an hour-long interview with a hiring manager, as well as an interview with a different member of the company every hour until lunch. Lunch included a meal and yet another interview. The moral? Find out before the interview whom you will be speaking with and how long the interview is expected to last.
The point is that these interviews can happen at any time, and you should always be prepared to showcase your skills to an interviewer. Also, keep in mind that you must be very careful not to boast or exaggerate your skills to an employer. One complaint about the traditional interview is that the candidates’ success stories can rarely be checked for accuracy or veracity. But in the portfolio interview, if you claim that you can type 150 words per minute, you'd better be prepared to prove it!