Leaving a portfolio behind after an interview... Yes or No?

I have just finished my degree in product design and i am sending off my CV to prospective companies/agencies in order to find an internship or fulltime job.
But my question is, once i start going to interviews with my portfolio (im thinking in a4 format) should i leave a copy of it behind if the company asks?
Ive heard stories of people doing this in the past, not getting the job but then finding out that the company has recently released a design that looks very ‘similar’ to ones from the students portfolio. basically i dont want my work to be stolen.

What are your thoughts?

If they want you to leave it behind, bring a non-disclosure agreement with you stating that they have looked and are in possession of your portfolio, so if they do decide to rip you off you have legal grounds.

But to be honest, I wouldn’t leave my work with a company; I’d question as to why they might want to keep it (for reasons other than ripping you off!). If they simply want to be able to put your face to your designs then maybe leave a ‘sample’ portfolio, a highly condensed version, or say to them you’ll send them images in digital format or something.

But also, if they really want to rip off your work, they will, and they’ll do it in a way which isn’t directly tracable back to them; i.e. sell ‘their’ design to a subsidary company to produce.

I don’t know any company that would sign a non-disclosure in this situation, and honestly I think it would give a negitive impression. Also, if you have your portfolio out there showing to people then it would already be considered public knowlage so you’d have a hard time making a case anyway.

While I wouldn’t leave a complete copy of your portfolio, I would have some sort of sample book that you can give them if they ask. Or if they liked certain things and wanted to keep it on file then tell them you’ll send it. But make sure you send it to them right after the interview so they don’t forget.

The reality is ideas are a dime a dozen and unless you have something so groundbreaking I wouldn’t worry about people ripping you off (they’ll do it anyway). If you think something is really different then get a patent, and you won’t have to worry about it. Otherwise concentrate on selling your skills as a problem solver and show that you can ALWAYS come up with new ideas. So what if they rip you off, you should be able to come up with a better idea after that anyway.

I agree with this guy.

If someones ideas are that good as to where you do not want others to steal them, then why are you going to work for a company?

Just put the web address of an online portfolio on your resume. It’s easier to control what they see this way and you can do it by remote control.

That’s what I’ve done.

Because i want to gain real world experience (ive been at university for 4yrs) and unfortunately i do not have sufficient funding to realise my own designs at the moment.
Although i am trying to get funding for prototypes and floorspace at the next Milan furniture fair in 2008.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I think the online portfolio and sending select images after the interview are my favorite options.

(sorry for the large text, i have no idea why its done this)

Unfortunately, forget the non-disclosure agreement. There is a recourse for people stealing your idea even if you don’t get an NDA signed. Anyway, it turns people off, and ideas are a dime a dozen.

I’m really writing to promote leaving a mini-portfolio especially if it feels like you’re giving them a gift. This could be as simple as a pamphlet of your work or as complex as a small book bound fairly cheaply at a place like http://www.lulu.com.

I agree with most of the above

leave a mini portfolio.It’s a nice parting gift and they tend to hang around and remind people of you after the interview.

I would doubt anyone would sign a nondisclosure. The chances of a designer having something that original and groundbreaking in a university portfolio are pretty small. If the guys you are interviewing with haven’t seen it, it is probable that it is in development, being patented, or has been shelved by some company somewhere, unless you figured out cold fusion and how to turn algae into plastic.

Have an online portfolio as well, it’s just a good idea.

Don’t leave the only copy of your original portfolio.

Best of luck with the job hunt!

Agree with Yo! In fact, I think I’d be a little put off by a student requiring an NDA for a portfolio. I mean, who do you think you are?? That’s the impression I’d get. This is a small profession and the industry is VERY intertwined. Do bad things like steal a design or lie on your resume, and you’re as good as screwed. Maybe not in the immediate future, but you’ll get what’s coming to you.

My suggestion is be really proud of your work, and show it off with enthusiasm!!

I do have a question for DCrackDealer. You mentioned that there is some recourse with NDA’s and patents. Not going into detail here, but I have a VERY interesting and profitable product designed and simply want to sell the rights. I have a provisional patent on it, but I don’t have the cashola to get the full patent. Of course, even if I did get a full patent, it’s not like big companies can’t hire lawyers to figure out ways around it. Waste of money, IMO. The electronic development cost would be around $50K. I already have the quotes, but the companies I want to present this to won’t need to out-source it. Suggestions would be helpful.

Thanks, I just hi-jacked this thread.

you are a student, and likely don’t have much to steal. most of your work is probably already in the public domain if posted on a coroflot portfolio, through a school exhibition, etc.

requesting an NDA is crazy. forget it.

leaving behind a sample of your work is a good idea. you will have something tangible for the employer to review, make notes on, pass around to others, etc. its a good reminder to have it sitting on the desk when everyone else has a link buried somewhere in a file or email.

you dont need to leave a portfolio that has everything you’ve ever done. something more substantial than 1 page, but less than 50 is a good idea. if they want more, they hire you, or call you back for an interview.

best of luck,