How to prepare for an interview presentation!
By Tim Koekkoek on Aug 02, 2013
During an interview process you might be asked to prepare a presentation as one of the steps in the recruitment process. Below, we want to give you some tips to help you prepare for what might be considered a daunting aspect of a recruitment process.
Main purpose of the presentation
Always keep in mind the main purpose of what the presentation is meant to convey. Generally speaking, an interview presentation is for the company to check if you have the ability to represent and sell the organization (and yourself), to the internal and external stakeholders in the position you are applying for. A presentation is often also part of the recruitment process to check whether you can structure and explain your experience and thoughts in a convincing manner. If you are unsure about the purpose of the presentation, feel free to ask your recruiter for more information.
As with every task you do, preparation is key, so is the case with an interview presentation. It is important to know who your audience is. You have to adapt your presentation to your audience, ensuring that you are presenting the facts which they would want to hear. Furthermore, make sure you practice your presentation beforehand; this will make you more confident in your presenting skills. Also, estimate the length of your presentation as presentations or pitches during the recruitment process are often capped to a certain time limit.
Every presentation should have a beginning, middle and an end. Make sure you give an overview of your presentation and tell the audience what they can expect. Your presentation should have a logical order and a clear message. Always build up to your key message with strong arguments and evidence. When speaking about the topic, make sure you convey your points with conviction. Also be sure you believe the message you bring forward, if you don’t believe it yourself, then the audience definitely won’t!
When you think back on successful presentations you have seen, the presenter was most likely always standing up. So if asked to do a presentation, follow this example and make sure you stand up as well. Standing up when you are doing your presentation shows confidence and control. Another important aspect in the delivery of the presentation is to relax and speak slowly and with enough volume for the audience to hear you. Speaking slowly allows the audience the time to absorb the information you are providing to them.
Using PowerPoint, or an equivalent, makes it very easy to have a visually attractive presentation. Make sure however that you take into account that the visual aids you use are there to support you, not for you to read word for word what is on the slides!
When starting your presentation, it is a good idea to tell your audience that you will deal with any questions they might have at the end of the presentation. This way it doesn’t interrupt your train of thought and the flow of your presentation. Answering questions at the end may give you additional opportunities to further expand on your facts in the topic. Some people might play the “devil’s advocate” role and confront you with opposing opinions, if this is the case, take your time to reiterate your points and remain professional in your response. A good way to deal with this is to start interacting with other members of the audience and ask for their opinions, so it will become a group discussion. This will also shows strong leadership skills, as you are open to discuss and ask for other opinions.