A parakeet. Car parts. A pair of pants and socks. These are some of the strange things ad executives have found in creative portfolios for job candidates, according to a recent survey done by The Creative Group.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company, which provides marketing, advertising, creative and Web professionals to companies on a project basis, regularly surveys ad execs on industry-related topics. This one gleaned the input of 200 officials.

“We’d heard enough from clients about unusual things they’d seen in portfolios—we thought, ‘I wonder if this is something that other ad execs have seen?’ ” said Reesa Staten, director of research for The Creative Group.

It turns out they had. Other items topping the list include freeze-dried foods, framed paintings and even a cardboard figurine of one candidate!

So, will these items ever get a candidate hired? One never knows, but The Creative Group recommends that can-didates make sure attention-seeking portfolios are also professional.