Tip: Your secret weapon at the interview – work examples


Work examples: a laminated process map and a project portfolio status report

Interviews are always stressful, you don’t know if you can answer the questions sufficiently, what the person is like and if you can get the job.

Many people feel they have little control over the interview, having fears and just hoping to “get it done” with as quickly as possible.

A really good tip in order to influence the conversation, feel more confident and to improve your interview chances dramatically, is to bring some of your work examples to the interview. It might sound strange – but it really does the trick.

For example, if you are a Project Manager, print out a project plan (or report or schedule) and bring it to the meeting. During the interview, you can talk about your project management experience and back this up by showing those examples.

Your work examples should be related to the advertised role. It could be an extract from a training course you’ve developed, a marketing plan you have written, a process diagram you’ve worked on, a requirements management plan you wrote – really anything. Just make sure you apply the following:

  1. Examples needs to be related to the advertised role
  2. Make sure you don’t bring 100s of pages. A couple of pages generally will do, extracts are fine
  3. Remove or cross out any confidential data
  4. Make sure the font is not too small – you interview partner need to be able to see and read some of the information during the interview
  5. Diagrams / tables work well
  6. Print it out in color
  7. Have a small, new folder which you can use to present your examples in
  8. Treat this as your “work portfolio folder” – which you can decide to leave behind

Advantages for you:

It will calm your nerves during the interview, because you can talk from your experience. If you get stuck – just look at your portfolio folder and continue. You take control of the conversation and can demonstrate your abilities and skills. Plus – you will stand from the crowd as not many candidates will bring examples.

Advantages for your interview partner:

He or she can see that you have done a similar role before and have the required work experience, which they need to fill the role. This will give them confidence when they need to decide on a candidate for a role.

What do you think about this tip? Do you think this will help you in your interview? Please let me know.

Tip: Your secret weapon at the interview – work examples was last modified: October 28th, 2013 by sandra

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7 Responses to Tip: Your secret weapon at the interview – work examples

  1. Mike October 28, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Hey Sandra, I never thought about this, but I believe it will work. I will try it out at my next interview and let you know how it goes…thank you for sharing..

    • sandra October 29, 2013 at 7:54 am #

      Hi Mike, it really works – just try it and see how you go.

  2. Faisal December 2, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    Hi, I did this trick few years back but unfortunately results were 50 – 50. There were few interviewer who made their faces like they had swallow the gecko, and there were few that really appreciate it.
    So guys even if you see someone making a face just try to be calm and keep smile on your face and continue with explanation your layouts until they return your folder back.

    Hope this helps…

    • sandra December 3, 2013 at 8:50 am #

      Hi Faisal, you are right – sometimes the problems are with the person interviewing you…

      • Faisal December 3, 2013 at 6:50 pm #


        What I have learned in the past is… how good or bad interview goes JUST DON’T lose your emotions and confidence… And hope for the best next time.

        Sandra… Thanks again for this topic… 🙂

  3. silitok March 25, 2017 at 10:42 am #

    Very interesting! I actually got my first internship by impressing the hiring manager with a work example. This was not planned, I just happened to have a print out in my agenda of how I managed my university deliverables and grades with a very nice and colorful excel spreadsheet that included formulas to automate certain entries. I never though of doing the same now that I’m a professional with almost a decade of experience. Great tip!

    • sandra September 2, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

      Congratulation and thank you so much for posting this!! It’s really making my day!!

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