Job interviews are already stressful, but being asked to do a presentation in front of the hiring panel can take your anxiety to the next level. While this request is more commonly asked of candidates interviewing for senior and executive positions, don’t be surprised if your next potential employer wants to use this interview process to assess your skills.
So, what can you do to ace the presentation and secure the job? Fortunately, there are no shortage of ways to deliver a succinct and compelling business plan that showcases your knowledge, professionalism and communication talents. Here we provide quick tips that help you prepare for the big day and leave an unforgettable first impression.
1. Establish the brief
Candidates asked to present during an interview should get some time to plan their speech around a specific brief. However, if the person conducting the interview hasn’t provided all the essential details, confirm how the process will be completed, including the topic, time constraints, available multimedia devices and the attendees.
It’s important to realise that following the brief is part of the assessment process, so if you’re asked to stick to a 10-minute time limit, make sure you don’t overshoot or fall well below. Once you’ve determined what the interview involves, start planning a presentation that amazes the audience and positions you as the ideal candidate for the job.
2. Create a structure
Creating a presentation with a logical structure makes it easier to get your ideas across. Rather than shifting sporadically from one concept to the next, a thoughtful framework communicates your ideas clearly and intuitively.
Naturally, the best place to start is an introduction. Start by establishing the stakes and highlight how your solution delivers a tangible difference. Then, build a narrative that includes personal anecdotes and insightful statistics. This should capture how your experience and talents support the organisation’s goals.
3. Enhance visual aids
Your presentation visuals shouldn’t be one that your interviewers can simply read off from. They need to support what you’re saying so that the focus remains on you. This means toning down on wordy slides and leveraging more visuals to explain your points.
If you’re describing some insightful research that captures the crux of your argument, showing a graph of this data on-screen can highlight why it matters to your conclusion. You could even create visual comparisons of products or statistics to establish your point in a more intuitive way. Making use of transitions can also elevate your storytelling.
Meanwhile, you can produce these same slides as printed documents to hand out to the audience ahead of your presentation.
4. Rehearse your presentation
It sounds simple, but not enough people spend adequate time actually practising their presentation. Your idea might outshine that of other interview candidates, but if you don’t hit the mark with your delivery, there’s a good chance the hiring panel won’t fully appreciate the significance of your speech.
You need to stay within the allocated time limit, so practise how fast you need to talk to get through your entire presentation. If you’re racing to reach the end in time, refocus your speech on only the most essential parts. Practise with friends or family members to strike the perfect balance, and seek their feedback on where you can improve.
5. Prepare to adapt
While you must practise your presentation to deliver a commanding presence, the hiring panel might attempt to throw you off your rhythm. When creating your presentation, anticipate where people might raise questions. This can help you prepare responses that show you’ve considered the argument from every angle.
Get your friends or family to interject during your practice sessions with provocative questions. By learning how to keep your composure, answer questions and get back on track, you will come across as a high-level communicator.
6. Nail the small details
After you’ve finished creating your presentation, work on perfecting the minor details. Although we’ve already covered the need to speak at a carefully considered pace, you should also remember to make eye contact and use open body language to convey a confident mindset.
The more prepared you are, the smoother your presentation will be. On the day of the job interview, arrive early to set up your presentation. Bring spare batteries for remotes, check if your tech tools work as intended and give yourself time for a final review.
By preparing for your interview presentation with ample time and effort, you are sure to give a memorable presentation that highlights your best skillsets.