Tackling Tricky Questions

Here are some tips for responding to common questions that might trip you up during a portfolio review:

Q: What would you have done differently with this piece?
Never disparage a former employer or client. Instead, demonstrate tact and diplomacy. Discuss what you might have done with a bigger budget or more time, for instance.

Q: What do you think of our current materials?
Don't harshly critique the work or give hollow praise. Show that you're observant by commenting on the strengths and weaknesses of each piece. Suggest how you would improve the collateral to better meet business needs.

Q: Why should I hire you?
Succinctly describe how your talents will benefit the client while showing enthusiasm for the firm and the type of work. If it seems appropriate, suggest that the employer hire you on a trial or freelance basis.

Q: Which piece are you most proud of?
Keep in mind that employers may be more interested in why you're pleased with the sample than in the work itself, since your answer reveals the things that inspire or motivate you.

Q: What was your role in this piece?
Resist the temptation to exaggerate your contributions. If your role in a project was minimal, it should not be included in your book. If the piece was a group effort, explain how the team worked together and use the opportunity to highlight your communication and collaboration skills.