You have just been asked to come in for a job interview and you are ecstatic……Then, they tell you that you need to give a short presentation as part of the interview and your heart sinks.
Don’t despair, in fact be grateful they told you about the presentation in advance. There are companies who ask candidates to give a presentation during the interview with only about 15 minutes to prepare.
A presentation is actually a great opportunity to showcase a wide variety of your skills. This becomes obvious when you consider what the interviewer is actually trying to understand by asking you to prepare a presentation. Yes, they want to know if you have presentation skills but they are also looking to see if you have:
A broad knowledge base and new ideas
Good organisational skills
Clear verbal and written communication skills
To pass the test you must create a relevant and intelligent presentation with a clear and cohesive flow of information, and then you must present it with confidence.
1. Who Are You Presenting To?
The first thing you must do is understand who you are presenting to. As soon as possible, contact the interviewer or recruiter and ask them:
The names of the people who will be your audience
Confirm their role/title
Look up everyone on LinkedIn or stalk them on all social media and learn what you can about them. See if you can identify any common ground, mutual friends or similar interests that could be helpful.
Confirm the requirements of the presentation e.g How long, formal or technical presentation, topic etc…
Check the job description for clues about required knowledge and skills
Investigate the company and brand to understand what challenges they face and what ideas you could contribute
2. Prepare And Practise
Once you are clear what you are presenting and to whom, then you need to put together the actual presentation.
“A good presentation should be like a miniskirt… As short as possible to catch everyone’s attention, And just long enough to cover what you need to cover. ” – Winston Churchill
When thinking about the presentation structure remember:
The rule of 3 – Strong introduction, main body where you make your points and summary wrap up of what you said
Open strong by asking a question or stating a fact
Predict what questions they will ask and have answers prepared
3. Present With Confidence
Even the most brilliant presentation can fall flat if the actual presenter is dull. In order to present effectively, you need to make sure you:
Practice over and over at home, make sure you practice out loud
Record yourself and watch it to see where you can improve
Control your body language, don’t fidget and pause where appropriate
Walk the room, don’t stand in one spot
Engage the audience wherever possible by referring to people and their roles if appropriate, asking for their thoughts etc…
4. Helpful Presentation Tips & Tools
To create a visually impactful presentation, you need some effective tools to work with. Think about the following:
Powerpoint or Prezi
Simple visuals with few words otherwise it will be death by powerpoint
Not to many transitions
Use bullet points to articulate your arguments
Once your presentation is ready, print enough copies for everyone who will be attending plus a few spares. Place a copy on a USB to take with you, and if you can, email a copy to a small device like an iPad and take that with you too in case any issues arise with your other copy.