FAQ: What Is a Work Sample? (Plus What To Include in One)

If the position you’re applying for is competitive, you might need to submit more than just your resume. Many employers ask for work samples from applicants so they can evaluate your work’s quality. After all, according to Finances Online, over 80% of hiring managers view experience as being crucial to your application. A work sample can demonstrate the breadth of your experience and provide you with an additional chance to impress the hiring team.

How to Provide Work Samples that Get You Hired for a Business Analyst Job

Why do employers request work samples?

An employer might ask you to submit a work sample to highlight your skills and working manner. Your work sample can be used by employers to judge your capacity to produce finished goods and the nature of your work. The employer can decide if you’re a good fit for their role and set yourself apart from other candidates by looking at your work sample. Possessing a body of published or noteworthy work can attest to your skill and experience in creating materials that are in demand.

What is a work sample?

During the hiring process, candidates for positions must provide work samples to interviewers and hiring managers. To determine whether a candidate is a good fit for the organization and the position, the interviewer or hiring manager assesses the work sample in accordance with predetermined criteria. A work sample may give the applicant the chance to determine whether the position fits with their sense of style, skills, and values.

What are the types of work samples?

Typical work sample types for various roles are listed below:


A portfolio is a tool you can use to show prospective employers a selection of your best work. It includes examples that highlight your abilities, works, completed products, and experience. To give hiring managers information and a summary of your qualifications, you can also include a resume, cover letter, and letters of recommendation in your portfolio. The contents of a portfolio can also vary across occupations. The following are some typical items in portfolios for a variety of roles:

Performance test

A performance test is an examination where a potential employer or interviewer gives the candidate a sample work assignment to complete. Understanding a company’s expectations, style, and working methods is necessary before taking performance tests. Your employer gives you guidelines, resources, and a deadline to complete your performance test and demonstrate your proficiency with the duties assigned to your role.

Which occupations use a work sample?

Work samples are frequently used during the interview and hiring processes for creative or artistic jobs. To demonstrate their abilities and qualifications to prospective employers, writers, photographers, media specialists, designers, and artists produce work samples. In these professions, employees and employers may have different production methods and styles, and a candidate’s work sample can help both parties determine whether their values and styles are compatible.

Business occupations and administrative roles may also use work samples. If you’re applying for an administrative position, you could bring a sample of a work report or other common paperwork to the interview. Work samples from a sales report, a mock sales pitch, or a report of increased productivity during your time as a manager may be required for business roles like sales or management.

What should you include in a work sample?

Depending on the type of job you’re applying for and the type of sample you’re providing, a work sample’s contents may change. Here is a list of what to include for various work sample types:

Portfolio contents

Typically, a portfolio work sample consists of a few previously created or published products. Choose examples for your portfolio that demonstrate your level of expertise and capacity to carry out your desired role. Updating your portfolio can help you keep the hiring manager’s interest and guarantee an accurate representation of your abilities. Make sure to only submit the number of pieces requested by a job posting or an interviewer, and choose those that best demonstrate your abilities.

Performance assessment contents

Usually, a company’s performance evaluation offers a set of rules and guidelines. Try to closely adhere to these guidelines and incorporate all necessary components into your final project. Additionally, you can alter the work sample to reflect the values, tone, and organizational style of the organization to which you are applying. Making an effort to meet requirements could demonstrate to the hiring manager that you are aware of how the company operates and that you have the flexibility to work in their manner.

Tips for providing work samples

Here are some pointers you can use to make sure your work samples accurately represent your skills:


What is a work sample example?

A work sample is something that candidates are asked to bring to a job interview, such as an example of their writing or editing. The hiring manager reviews these samples to see what kind of work the applicant is capable of producing, and this evaluation becomes a part of the selection process as a whole.

How do you give a work sample?

When you need to produce a work sample, keep these tips in mind:
  1. Confirm that you can meet the requirements. The hiring manager might use the work sample to assess you if you’re applying for a senior position.
  2. Follow the instructions. Before you start writing or creating, read the directions carefully.
  3. Add a personal touch.

What are good work samples?

Photographs of your paintings, illustrations, sculptures, etc. Copies of articles from blogs, newspapers, and journals, as well as grant applications, reports, and marketing strategies, etc. Hobbies, sports, scouting, hunting, fishing, crafts, volunteer work, and other interests are additional sources of work samples.

What is a work sample test?

Candidates are required to complete tasks or activities during work sample tests that closely resemble the duties of employees. For instance, candidates for the position of Administrative Assistant might be required to accurately file a mountain of paperwork or to accurately transcribe an internal memo using a word processor.

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