Hello forum.

So I was impacted recently by a RIF after over five years working on key strategic and tactical initiatives concerning new products, enhancement of existing products, and drastic improvement of key support processes utilizing methodologies such as Six Sigma and Stage-Gate.

Where I am going with this is due to the large-scale impact these initiatives had which I led, is it appropriate to bring a binder with examples of such content? This would be material such as three-year product roadmaps, program plans, market analysis for development of business cases, etc.

I have mixed feelings on bringing these to any interview because it can:

1) Wow them that what I say I've done can truly be presented.
2) Provide clear examples as a leader I can assist a team in thoroughly documenting the mission, direction, and even post-implementation metric tracking to validate effectiveness or need for improvement.

3) That I am revealing details which would leave a potential employer wondering if my judgement is flawed.
4) Leave a potential employer with concerns if I would ever show their plans to others in the event another situation occurred that I was looking for other opportunities.

What's some feedback on this topic, as I definitely see it as a plus and a negative?

jhack's picture

Those negatives are very big ones. Don't bring the binder if it contains anything that is not in the public domain.

Talk about what you did and how you did it. If you need to show the final product, too, then get up to a white board or use a piece of paper and outline/draw what your output was.

It's more imporant that you create in their minds a vision of you "doing the job" than that you show output.

Get the interview series - there's great stuff in there for how to create that vision in their minds.

Good hiring managers want to know HOW you did it.


nickbryla's picture

Thank you John. That makes a lot of sense. I'll make sure to dive into the "Interview" series immediately.


wendii's picture
Admin Role Badge

Hi Nick,

I've occasionally seen candidates present material as evidence done well, but more often I've seen it done really badly. There's an awkward moment when the hiring manager has to wait to see something he doesn't want to, and then pretend to be impressed... it's like someone else's holiday photos!

I would go with having the materials with you, certainly drawing a diagram to illustrate a point, and only getting the materials out if you are asked to.


PS And yes.. get the interviewing series!

nickbryla's picture

Thanks Wendii for the feedback. You've provided yet another example of both the concerns and motivators of this interview tool.

Why I mentioned utilizing Six Sigma and Stage-Gate is because these methodologies with associated tools can be fantastic service delivery enhancers when applied appropriately. Having a body of work during an interview could be a great way of showing at each progressive phase how you identified the right packaging and support, and even if this solution should be implemented or killed due to the business case developed.

The challenge is what you and John pointed out - the material being public knowledge or not, and rehearsing how to effectively apply the content without it being a distraction.

Trickier than some would realize as this discussion digs deeper.


jhack's picture

One other consideration: when someone shows an artifact, the interviewer doesn't know who actually created it. You could be taking credit for another teammember's work.

Cynical, maybe, but you don't want to leave any doubts about your ability to do the job. If you can describe how you created it, that is much more convincing.


lazerus's picture

Job interviews for graphic artists often include time for the artist's portfolio, but that is a pretty specific situation, but similar in a way to what you are asking. However, the artist does NOT show the portfolio until asked, usually after the behavioral part of the interview.

I would make an accomplishment out of the work you did with StageGate and 6sigma. The actual results you achieved, measurable, in a period of time.

Your work at the previous company might not be applicable at the next job. You have to be able to distill your knowledge into an accomplishment for someone who may know NOTHING about your position.

Get the interview series. Run, don't walk.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

NEVER. Period.

Sorry about the RIF.



nickbryla's picture

Thank you all for the very sensible suggestions and feedback. I'm clear now on how to approach this without tripping over a landmine of my own making.

Have a super day!

HMac's picture

Nick: Here's one more consideration to add to the "negative" side of the equation: why would you want to shift the focus away from you and onto something written? I can feel the energy drain out of the interview all the way from here...I'm sure some fellow members can tell about scenarios where it would make logical sense to "show proof" or provide a written example. But undeniably, you're using precious minutes of the interview time to shift the interviewer's focus AWAY from you (from your enthusiasm, your energy, your physical and facial signals of interest, all the things that help show you're different WHERE IT COUNTS).
Don't do it: it just interrupts the flow of communication.