So you’ve applied for a new job, you’ve passed the first round of applicant screening and now it’s time to attend the interview. And you’ve been asked to deliver a presentation.
Interview presentations are becoming increasingly popular with hiring managers - for both more senior and entry-level positions. Interview presentations are used to assess whether a candidate can do the job, has strong communication skills and is organised. And the interviewer may even take your presentation as an indication of how committed to and enthusiastic about the role you are.
So how can you make sure you deliver a great interview presentation? Read on to find out…
Understand the task
The first step to preparing and delivering a successful presentation is to make sure you fully understand the task you’ve been set.
Carefully read (and re-read) the brief to make sure you don’t miss anything. If there are any aspects of the brief that you need to clarify, or if you want to make sure you’ve interpreted it correctly, be sure to double check with your recruitment consultant.
Refer back to the job description. Remember that the presentation is a crucial element of the interview - so you will be assessed against the same criteria as you are when answering standard interview questions. The interviewer will be looking for the skills they have asked for in the job vacancy, so be sure to re-familiarise yourself with these and incorporate them into your presentation.
When it comes to preparing your presentation, it’s important that you structure it properly. While the specific ways in which you choose to break up the content will depend on the subject matter, there are a few rules that will apply to any presentation.
Include a contents slide at the beginning, followed by an introduction. This should give a brief overview of what you will cover throughout the rest of the presentation, and any background information that is required ahead of the main content.
Each main content slide should consist of a clear headline and a few succinct bullet points of key information. Also include visual elements wherever appropriate. Think of your presentation slides like a street sign - write enough to communicate the important points, without writing so much that it becomes distracting.
Consider preparing handouts to give to each member of the interview panel. Similarly to the presentation slides, these should include the key information that you want the audience to remember.
Aim to spend up to a couple of minutes talking about each slide, and be mindful of the length of time you have been asked to deliver (so for a 10 minute presentation, you may prepare between 5 and 10 slides).
The interview presentation is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your verbal communication skills.
Speak naturally and avoid reading from a script. Reading straight off the slide or from a script can come over as robotic and prevent your personality from shining through. Instead, be sure to reiterate the key points from each slide and then talk around them in more detail, using a conversational tone. Bring notes or cue cards with you, but just use these as prompts, rather than a script.
Make eye contact. Making eye contact with the interviewer is key in retaining their attention. It will help you appear more confident, make the presentation more comfortable and feel more like an exchange of ideas rather than a monologue.
Practice. One of the most beneficial things you can do ahead of your interview is to practice delivering your presentation. Ideally, present to friends or family members who can assume the role of the interviewer and give feedback. Otherwise, record yourself and watch it back to make sure you sound confident, are discussing each point in an adequate amount of detail and are speaking at a suitable pace.
XCL are a leading recruitment agency based in Huddersfield and Bristol, who specialise in helping skilled candidates find their ideal jobs. Working in the automotive, construction, engineering, production and commercial sectors, we will identify the roles that best align with your skills, experience and career goals.