Many jobs will require more than one successful interview in order to be hired and in some cases, at the second interview, you might be asked to perform a presentation.
This is usually to give you an opportunity to show off your communication skills, as well as your overall understanding and knowledge of the company and sector that it operates within.
A presentation could make or break your interview, so be sure to make it informative and entertaining… no one wants to suffer death by PowerPoint!
So whether your presentation consists of a slideshow, flipchart, or a bunch of drawings on napkins, these tips and tricks on planning and conducting a brilliant job interview presentation should help:
1. Know Your Audience.
Getting to know your audience (i.e. the interview panel) is one of the best things you can do before any interview.
You should make an effort, either by asking your recruiter or your contact from the company, to find out exactly who is going to be on the panel, watching your presentation.
Then tailor your presentation to those people.
What will they really want to hear from you? What do they specifically want to know about? Your skills, passions, experience? All of the above?
For example, if a company’s CFO is on the interview panel, it’s a pretty darn good idea to include some financial information in your presentation, or to at least be able to answer some financial questions that a CFO is likely to ask you.
It may seem like common sense, but they’re all there for a reason!
2. Stick to the Message.
Try to focus your presentation on one key idea that holds the entire thing together, running through it as a consistent theme.
It might be an idea, a sentence, or a single word.
Whatever your key idea is, be sure to summarise it in a powerful sentence at the beginning and end of your presentation.
So, for example, if your presentation is about how you’re going to save the company money, your key point should be the main way you’re going to save the company money.
You can include other strategies, ideas and concepts throughout, but you should have one defining message too, that you can keep coming back to.
When coming up with your key message, steer clear of the clichés.
I’m sure the panel has sat through many presentations about “synergy” and “thinking outside the box” before. Be original, and keep things simple.
3. Establish a Structure.
Most solid presentations follow a 3 step structure that has a clear beginning, middle, and end.
- Start your slideshow by outlining your presentation and introducing your ideas.
- Use the middle (core) of the presentation to elaborate on these ideas.
- Then use the ending of your presentation to summarise these ideas again for the panel.
A simple 3 step structure ensures that your presentation is easy to grasp and understand.
Many people have presentations that meander erratically, and this makes your ideas less effective and clear.
4. Begin as You Mean to Go On.
A good introductory speech sets the tone for the rest of your presentation.
If you’re going to be reading from a slideshow or a similar presentation, be sure to give your presentation a short verbal introduction first.
Do try to learn your introductory speech word for word, but don’t sound robotic or unnatural.
It’s a good idea to practice in front of other people or into a mirror, taking note of your body language while trying to smile and keep things as natural as possible.
Verbally addressing the interview panel before you begin your official presentation is a great way to build rapport with the panel and give your presentation some context.
5. Don’t Rush.
Rushing makes you look nervous and eager to get the whole thing over with.
It also makes it harder for the interview panel to fully understand your points and ideas and take them on board.
When you change slides, be sure to let the slide sit on the screen for a few seconds before speaking, as your interviewers will benefit from absorbing the slide’s information and giving it a little time to ‘sink in’.
You want to appear that YOU are in control of the slides, changing them as you feel it appropriate.
You don’t want it to appear like the slides are controlling YOU, pulling you along at a rapid pace.
Look, you probably are eager to finish the presentation, but you don’t want your interviewers to know that!
6. Perform Like an Actor.
Maybe not literally, but you need to take some tips from actors performing on stage.
They are taught to project their voices by facing the audience at all times and standing in positions that may be unnatural in day-to-day life.
So no slouching, don’t cross your legs and don’t fold your arms. It’s absolutely fine to make hand gestures (although don’t go wild).
Then project your voice (without shouting) and look at your interview panel.
Avoid staring at your slides as you speak; this is not very engaging, and may make you harder to hear.
7. Check Your Tech.
If you’re using technical equipment to display your presentation, be sure to test it thoroughly beforehand, ensuring that it works as expected.
Always have a backup copy of your presentation file, whether it is on a memory stick, a CD, an email, or an online cloud drive.
If you are using a flipchart and pens, be sure to have backup pens in case your pens run out of ink.
You want to make sure that you have contingency plans for everything that could go wrong, as a technical error could seriously knock your confidence and throw you off-course.
8. Go Out With a Bang.
Presentations (like many things) should start well and end well, using their middle section for elaboration.
Conclude your presentation with a provocative or memorable statement/quote that is intrinsically related to your presentation and vision.
After you finish, be prepared to answer any questions you receive as fully and as honestly as possible.
Try to avoid lying, and be honest if you do not know the answer to a question.
It is usually better to say “I don’t have the information to answer that question at this time” than to make up an answer and hope for the best… which could end very badly and make you seem untrustworthy.
We hope you enjoyed our tips and tricks for planning and conducting a brilliant job interview presentation!
As with interviews and business in general, always remember that confidence is key.
If you’d like some more tips on interviews and job-seeking in general, feel free to sign up to our blog post today.
Happy job hunting!