UX portfolios are a waste of time
JJ Knowles

At last, instead of yet another article asking how to create a portfolio, it’s refreshing to see someone else question their overall utility.

(It’s worth mentioning I’m at this point hoping that I hadn’t asked to see your portfolio when we first met…)

These days I’m put off by companies who request a link to a portfolio as part of the application process.

Having been on the receiving end of a portfolio, it’s a pretty easy thing for people to blag. I mean, their colleagues aren’t there to validate their contribution.

I’ve actually been party to a conversation where person one asked person two for an original file, with the explanation of wanting to include it in his portfolio. This despite the fact that person one had no involvement in the project!

Perhaps more amazing is person two happily gave person one the file. How then can a prospective employer ascertain that the candidate even created the assets shown in the portfolio.

Soft skills are far more important, so rather than be seduced by a portfolio, I’d rather spend time speaking with an individual and understand how well he or she can articulate their ideas. As I speak to them, I place them in front of a tricky stakeholder and picture how they’ll come across. Are they persuasive? Can they defend their ideas well? These are the sorts of things I’m more interested in during an interview.

Stakeholder management is at least 50% of what we do, sometimes more. Alarm bells ring when I meet someone with no interest in sketching ideas but jumps straight to high-def design.

Anyone can pretend to be a good designer, but for me it’s the soft skills that matter more. They can learn the rest along the way, and for the right candidate, I’ll happily help them on that journey.