Being asked to make a presentation during job interviews has become more common as hiring companies seek to assess candidates’ ability to make presentations as part of their selection process.
Most of the time, employers are asking you to present so that they can assess your communication and persuasion skills, rather than actual content, but be forewarned, that doesn’t mean you should slack off on the content. Follow these 10 tips to make sure that you are well prepared to stand out from competitors during your job interview presentations.
1. Seize the opportunity
Make sure that you understand what’s being requested and that your presentation accomplishes its objectives. For example, if you’re applying for a sales position, the employer will want to see if you are believable, likable and capable of winning new prospects, keeping existing customers and building support with internal stakeholders.
2. Know your audience
The more information that you have about your audience, the more you can make your presentation relevant. If you are presenting to a human resources manager, a people-focused presentation may be appropriate, while presenting to IT managers may necessitate a more technically slanted presentation.
3. Mindmap your ideas
Your presentation should comprise three main sections: 1) An introduction, 2) A clear articulation of your argument / theory / viewpoint, and 3) a summary. Create a Mindmap to focus your presentation. Start with the core idea that you want to convey as the center point in the middle of the page, and branch out your ideas from there. Once you have mapped out your ideas, put them into a logical order in your presentation.
4. Don’t over-rely on PowerPoint
We’ve all been subject to boring PowerPoint presentations where presenters put way too much text on each slide and then read every word on every slide. Instead, keep wording to a minimum and use large images to convey your point when possible. Know your presentation inside out so that it flows effortlessly. Consider funky alternatives to Powerpoint, like Prezi, a cloud-based platform that allows presenters to present from a browser, desktop, or mobile device.
5. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse.
Once you’re happy with your presentation, give yourself plenty of time to practice presenting it. Avoid using notes. Instead, use a keyword or two on each slide to prompt a more free flowing presentation.
Take time to breath when orating, and give all decision makers in the room an equal amount of eye contact.
Time yourself during practice sessions and make necessary adjustments to ensure it lasts no longer than the allotted time. Use a watch placed on the podium in front of you to keep you on track.
7. Pre-empt questions
You won’t be able to pre-empt all questions, but identify which questions that you are most likely to be asked and have a game plan for how you will answer. Take your time when answering, don’t argue and keep to the point. If you’re not sure what a question means, ask for it to be expanded.
8. Relax and smile
If you’ve done all the above, making a job interview presentation shouldn’t be too tricky, but nerves will inevitably play a part on the day itself. Slow your breathing, don’t rush your words, look at people and smile. Remember that you must be engaging to be convincing.
And finally, practice delivering your presentation out loud, not just in your head. Consider recording it on video so that you can review it and improve weaker sections.