Ask the Pros: Are Tablet/Digital Portfolios Acceptable for an Interview?

Ask the Pros: Are Tablet/Digital Portfolios Acceptable for an Interview? To help prepare you for the real world, we're introducing this Ask the Pros series to help answer some of your most frequently asked questions about interviewing, job-hunting and working in the world of magazine art and photo departments.

Got a question you want answered? Send it to us at and we'll put it to our experts! A varying panel of professionals will give you their take, and then it's up to you to put their advice to work.

And if you're a working professional yourself, we'd love to hear your opinion too ... don't hesitate to add it in our comments or email us to be on one of our panels.

Today we're continuing on the portfolio topic ...

QUESTION: Are tablet/digital portfolios acceptable for an interview?

PRO: David Speranza - Design Director, Bicycling

It's ok to get my attention with a web slideshow, but at the interview stage I prefer to see stuff in real size. That's how I review my own work and the work of my staff.

PRO: Caitlin Choi - freelance art director
Yes, I've taken my laptop and done pdf slideshows at interviews. I think now the iPad is ok too, but it depends on your work. You want to be able to see it clearly. And you definitely don't want to use the interviewer's computer to go to your web site.

PRO: Anthony Clarke - freelance tablet designer
Yes, but those who take their portfolio to show digitally on a interview should also be mindful of the presentation. That aesthetic will go further than someone who just places PDFs in their tablet.

PRO: Michael Novak - Art Director, Portland Monthly
Totally. Digital portfolios are often the only thing I see these days. Perfectly acceptable. But prepare a story to go with the presentation. There should be some history to each piece of work, describe your process. That isn't to say that you should drone on. Keep it quick and tight, but provide some reasons for your creative decisions. Everyone wants to hire smart people.

PRO: Isabel Abdai - Art Director, Woman's Day
I'm not a fan. Part of what we do in magazines is still so tactile that I like an actual portfolio/book. Although if it's a tablet position or the role will be designing for the tablet, it makes more sense then.

Thanks to our terrific panel of pros for their great advice! Obviously there's no one right answer, but the more perspectives you have, the more prepared you can be.

Check out our previous Ask the Pros questions below. And email us if you've got a question of your own!

- What's the biggest mistake you often see in recent graduates' and interns' portfolios?
- What do I wear to my interview?
blog comments powered by Disqus