As if jobseekers didn’t feel as if they were jumping through enough hoops before being considered for a role, many employers are now including an interview presentation in their hiring process. These are more common when applying for senior positions and those applying for roles in sales, education and marketing are more likely to come face-to-face with this hurdle. A presentation can be a daunting prospect for many, but by following these tips, you can feel confident about giving an impressive performance that will see you sailing into the next round.
When you find out you’re required to perform a presentation in your interview it can be tempting to let fear get the better of you and simply ignore this task. However, this isn’t going to help you impress on the day therefore you’re not giving yourself the best shot possible of achieving the job. You’ll be given plenty of notice about your presentation so take advantage of this by spending a considerable amount of time planning your performance. This can include brainstorming ideas, making notes/cue cards, creating a PowerPoint slideshow and practising your presentation. A great way to test how well you know your presentation and find out what you need to work on is to perform it in front of a friend or family member. You’ll be able to assess how well you come across, including your tone and the projection of your voice. Taking the time to prepare will help calm your nerves and feel confident so you can shine on the day.
There’s nothing more off-putting than watching a presentation where the speaker rambles on with no real idea where they’re going with their points and then it just ends abruptly when they’ve run out of things to say. The best way to keep your interviewer engaged is to have a clear structure to your performance: introduce your topic, make your main points (3/4 at most) and explain your thoughts, then round it up with a succinct summary. It will help you to feel more confident if you know exactly where you’re going with your presentation as it prevents you from losing your train of thought and the interviewer’s interest. Also, ensure your presentation is within the time limit set for you; if this isn’t stated try not to let it run over ten minutes.
Engage your audience.
You need to capture the attention of your interviewer by making sure your presentation is visually attractive as well as informative. It’s not just about the information you present, but how you do so. For instance, use hand-outs to provide further information and avoid a text-heavy presentation. Furthermore, concentrate on your body language ensuring it’s open but not distracting. Maintaining eye contact is also important as it helps you to appear confident and allows you to connect with each interviewer, as well as make sure they remain engaged.
Brace yourself for questions.
The questions your interviewer asks once you’ve completed your presentation can not only give you an idea of how well your presentation was received, but also gives you a chance to elaborate and prove your knowledge via your responses. If you cannot answer the question on the spot or don’t understand, don’t be afraid to say you will provide the answer as soon as you can and attach it to your follow up email. As well as preparing yourself for questions about your presentation, make sure you’re also ready for typical interview questions about your suitability to the role - the presentation will not be replacing this part of the process.
So next time you’re asked to provide a presentation in your interview, don’t panic! Make sure you have these aspects covered and just do your best. Communication is an important quality in most roles so if you can use this presentation to show off your skills, you will have a better chance of reaching the next stage and achieving the job on offer.
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