How to Master the Dreaded Interview Presentation

Presentations are becoming more and more common as part of the interview process as companies recognise that they are simple way to assess your ability to communicate effectively, your level of expertise in a particular subject and, in short, to see how much you want the job.

A well researched, structured and rehearsed interview presentation will always impress significantly more than one that is rushed, patchy or underprepared; and whilst there is a lot to think about these simple steps will help you put together a presentation that clearly demonstrates your ability and will help you to stand out from the crowd.

1.    Make sure you are clear on what you have to present
Many people take the title of the presentation and rush into PowerPoint’s open arms, instead take some time to make sure you have all the information you need to answer the question that has been put to you. 

2.    Know your audience
Find out how many people you are presenting to, who they are and what your working relationship would be. You may find yourself presenting to a future team member, a stakeholder, to a Regional MD or the CEO so clarify these details and build your presentation with your audience in mind.

3.    Do your research and develop a clear message
Always always always do your research. You may feel confident enough that you are tempted to just plough straight in but take the time to ensure you are completely up to date on the industry, topic or technology. The last thing you want is to be out-shone by someone who did a little more preparation. This will also help you decide on what your key message is going to be.

4.    Choose the right technology, prepare a back-up
Quite often this is PowerPoint but some companies use alternative software so double check before you start putting the presentation together. It also important to know if you need to take a laptop, thumb drive or if you should email the presentation to the company beforehand, and always take a back-up! What if there is a power cut or the projector stops working? BE PREPARED!

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5.    Have a clear structure
Introduction, content, summary. Keep it simple. If you are using PowerPoint (or similar): 
•    Think about your content first and slides last
•    Create a consistent look and feel that does not distract from the message
•    Avoid slides with lots of text
•    Use simple photos that enhance meaning
•    Have a focused message that you want your audience to retain
 
6.    Less Is More
Don’t hide behind slides and bullet points. If you are just reading from the presentation you are not going to impress, the most effective presentations use the slides as prompts or to show illustrations. You are the main part of the presentation!

7.    Rehearse / Manage your Time
Know how long you have (usually around 15 minutes) and whether this needs to include time for Q&A or not and take the time to rehearse. Lots.

You will not impress if your presentation is over in 5 minutes, nor if you are cut off after 20 minutes. Rehearsing will also build your confidence increasing the likelihood that you will wow your audience.

8.    It’s ok to be nervous.
In fact, be a little worried if you are not! Rehearsing will help calm the nerves but you can use that nervous energy to put some spring in your step and passion in your voice. Keep your body language open and stick to your timings and you will smash it!

9.    Talk naturally, Make eye contact.
Doing this will build rapport with your audience and will allow you to see how they are responding to the presentation. 

10.    Answer questions honestly and concisely
Make sure you leave time for the audience to ask questions, try to predict beforehand what they may be and develop answers to them in advance. Be honest, and if you don’t know the answer say so – “Sorry, I’m not sure about that. Let me look into it and I will come back to you later today”.

Hopefully, this has helped and you are now ready to impress at interview and lay claim to that job you are so excited about! For more tips and advice on how to excel in your job search, and for our latest opportunities, follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.