How Your Portfolio Will Be Evaluated



Updated October 11, 2023
Land Your Dream Design Job

You’re reading an excerpt of Land Your Dream Design Job, a book by Dan Shilov. Filled with hard-won, personal insights, it is a comprehensive guide to landing a product design role in a startup, agency, or tech company, and covers the entire design interview process from beginning to end, for experienced and aspriring designers. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.

Your portfolio presentation will be evaluated from multiple angles. The criteria here are broader than the design exercise since you’ll be showing work you’ve done as part of a team. Your interviewers will be interested in seeing the following:

  • Problem scope. How complex were the problems you were addressing? This in part determines your seniority—did you lead multiple projects in parallel, with ambiguous goals, across various channels?

  • Collaboration. How did you work with your team? What conflict did you encounter and how was it resolved? Were you able to inspire and bring out the best in your teammates?

  • Adaptability. What approaches did you try? What failed and how did you iterate on the process to keep things moving?

  • Quality. What is the quality bar for your work? How fast and to what degree of quality did you work? Were you able to explore many options, prioritize low-effort solutions, while leading toward a north star design?

  • Outcome. What was the result? What did the customers say? What was the impact on engineering? What metrics shifted?

Aside from the work, you’ll be evaluated on your delivery. Are you able to communicate clearly, present an intriguing story, and keep folks engaged during your hour (this is your time)? In the next section, we’ll cover techniques to make your speech sparkle.

Your Audience

A variety of folks will see your presentation, each with a different focus:

  • Design manager. Craft skills, quality, process, and style.

  • Product manager. Prioritization, business outcomes, impact.

  • You’re reading a preview of an online book. Buy it now for lifetime access to expert knowledge, including future updates.
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