Creative Leave-Behinds for Interviews

Posted by Tessa Wegert on February 23, 2016

You’ve put in countless hours polishing your resume and researching the company that’s in your sights. But in spite of your preparations, you’re left with a nagging question: will the hiring manager remember you once you walk out the door?

To stay top of mind, a growing number of job seekers are turning to leave-behinds—custom objects that leave a lasting, post-interview impression. Leave-behinds are particularly useful for creative types like designers and writers, since they provide a second opportunity to showcase the breadth of their imagination. Competition for creative positions is fierce. When you arrive at an interview armed with a clever leave-behind, you give yourself an edge.

Business Cards

By far the most common of leave-behinds, personal business cards are a quick and easy way to ensure you won’t be forgotten. Custom-design cards that reflect your style, along with your specialization.

There’s no limit to what you can do to stand out, from slim and mini cards to square sizes, gold foil, even fold-out flaps. Aside from your contact information and social media accounts, consider including a summary—the kind of branding statement you’d put on your LinkedIn or Twitter profile. Fast Company recommends adding this to your resume, but leaving it behind in a more engaging format makes it even easier for the hiring manager to keep your value proposition on hand.

Reimagined Portfolios

For creative professionals, portfolios are a must—and originality counts for a lot. One approach is to store your digitized portfolio on a USB Flash Drive and transform it into something altogether new. Are you a copywriter looking to highlight your editing prowess? Turn a USB drive into a classic Pink Pearl eraser.

Another way to garner attention and generate company buzz is to customize the device to fit the position you’re vying for. For example, if you’re hoping to land a graphic design position with a company whose products are made for kids, wrap your thumb drive in LEGO.


If you want to get really creative, reconfigure your portfolio as a fan deck, flip book, or mini magazine. One job seeker reimagined hers as a passport, leaving it behind at interviews for potential employers to find and explore.

Passfolio from Macri Miruna on Vimeo


References are an integral part of the hiring process. To further spotlight your strengths, why not take a cue from the world of online reviews and compile a packet of testimonials? Think of these as the human equivalent of a product recommendation, and ask former colleagues and employers to write a few words about working with you. Hiring managers eager to learn more about your work style and how well you collaborate with others are sure to appreciate the added insight that testimonials can provide.


A custom art piece is another way to show companies what you can do. If you’re a writer, create a word cloud comprised of your top strengths. Graphic artists can style a poster around their personal logo. One freelance designer from Germany created a flowchart for potential clients to emphasize all the ways that she’s equipped to help them. The end result is sleek enough to deserve a place of honor on an office wall.


Personalized Products

Most candidates use leave-behinds to underscore their abilities, but another strategy is to offer an item that the hiring manager can really use. With personalization options now available for all manner of products, you can have your name stamped onto everything from K-Cups to pens and tins of gummy bears. Think of your name as a brand, and draw inspiration from wedding favors and event swag. Just be sure to choose objects that are appropriate for an office environment.

Before you create your leave-behind, consider these takeaways:

Put your skills on display.

Remember, leave-behinds are about who you are and what you can bring to a business. Make sure yours reflects your skill set.

Be unique.

These days, hiring managers look beyond the resume to gauge how you’ll fit into the company culture. Let your personality shine through.

Don’t go too far.

You want to stand out, but resist the urge to glitter bomb your target. Restraint is key. Leave-behinds aren’t about grandstanding, but putting your creativity on parade.

Make a lasting impressing with creative leave-behind after your interview.

At Paladin, we can help coordinate that next job interview for you. Prepare your creative leave-behinds today and apply online.

Check out our available jobs here >>

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