How to Ace Your Portfolio Review

Best practices and pro tips based on many, many portfolio reviews

Things look and feel a bit different these days — the way we work, where our offices are, and definitely the way we conduct “onsites.” It hasn’t been easy, working through a pandemic, juggling family life, work projects, and everything else in between. First things first, here’s your reminder that in your portfolio review, it’s ok to:

  • Turn your camera off if you want to
  • Have your pets, kids, or partners wandering around in the background
  • Say you need a break

We’re so excited to learn more about you, and most of all, we want you to feel comfortable. With that in mind, here are a few tips to pull off an awesome portfolio review.

How to present

For a smoother presentation of audio/video, present using a tab in Google Meet.

  • Be sure to accept all a/v settings prior to your presentation (i.e., microphone and camera settings).
  • Pro tip: Think about how you want to see panelists. For instance, you can make the Google Meet tab or window small, or use an external display so you can see more faces.

Be sure to manage the clock. Know where you are in your presentation, how many slides you have left, key points you want to get across, etc. There’s nothing worse than losing track of time and having to be cut short in the middle of a presentation.

We expect candidates to be good storytellers, and part of that is being able to read a room (and the clock).

  • Let the panel know whether you prefer for them to interrupt you with questions or hold until the end.
  • Pro tip: Saving 10 to 15 minutes at the end for Q&A feels about right.

The presentation

Before diving into the work, share a bit about yourself. Let us get a sense of the person we’re potentially going to spend the majority of our time with.

  • Pro tip: It’s always fun to learn things about someone that you can't read online or in a resume.

Now it’s time to dive into a couple of projects, ones you’re confident in, have lots of artifacts from, show a breadth of skills, and closely relate to the role you’re applying for.

Walk us through the problem you were solving, your approach, the makeup of the team, any challenges you had (and how you overcame them), your role in all of it, and ultimately, how you measured success or what you learned.

Things we’ll be looking for

  • Is this someone who establishes a clear point of view?
  • Is this someone who knows how to work with cross-functional teams and partners?
  • Does this person have a strong passion and curiosity for their craft?
  • Are they a good communicator?
  • Do they have solid experience, aesthetic, and execution in their discipline?
  • Can they speak to successes and acknowledge areas where they could have done better?
  • Can they make decisions grounded in principle/validation?

Of note

There will be several folks in the room and many of us might be typing — just know that we’re not multitasking but rather taking notes on the presentation. We take interviewing super seriously and want to ensure you get solid feedback quickly.

Lastly, have fun with it. This is as much about you interviewing us, so try and soak it up as an awesome experience and ensure you ask all your burning questions.