When an interviewer asks me to leave my portfolio with him, and then hires someone else, is it gauche for me to ask for the portfolio back? May I offer to swap it for a less-expensive portfolio?
Here's the background: Portfolios, like resumes, are something I customize for each job. So the specifics will differ, but I have two types of portfolios:
- Giveaways: Between 10 and 20 pages of my design work. Basic color laser prints in a thin, black binder. The whole thing costs me about $10.
- "The Prestige" 20 pages of my design work. Continuous-tone prints (dye-sub or silver halide) in an Itoya portfolio book with black leather cover. Costs me about $100.
I bring "the Prestige" to all interviews. Usually, I only bring a giveaway copy if I have reason to believe there will be multiple interviews. A giveaway can also be helpful if more than one person is interviewing me: it speeds up the conversation if we're not passing one book up and down a conference table.
At an interview on Tuesday, I delighted my interviewer by closing. He told me I was a top-tier candidate, he'd have an answer for me by Friday, and "Would you mind if I held onto your portfolio?" For a fraction of a second, I thought about offering to FedEx him a giveaway copy, but I was a top-tier candidate who wanted to stay top-tier, so I smiled and handed him my $100 portfolio.
I learned on Friday that I didn't get the job. The interviewer was effusive in his praise of me and said he'd mention me to other people who might be hiring. Maybe that's just something you say. Now this company that turned me down has my $100 portfolio. Is that just the cost of doing business? Should I offer/request to swap it for a cheaper portfolio?