Presentations are an increasingly common feature of the interview process.
Employers may ask you to prepare a short presentation on a chosen topic, or let you pick your own, to gauge your strengths in areas such as creativity, organisation, project management or communication skills.
Below are some quick tips to help you shine in an interview presentation and land that dream job.
A clear structure helps ensure your presentation stands out from other applicants. Think hard about the areas the interviewer wants you to cover and make sure the presentation flows naturally between each of these topics.
Here's an example of an easy-to-follow presentation structure:
- Basic opening – provide a brief overview of what the presentation is about
- Explain – elaborate on the points you wish to convey, using bullet points or numbered slides to highlight each area
- Summarise – offer a concise summary of the presentation
Think outside the box
PowerPoint, used by companies and individuals around the world, is the most widely recognised presentation tool. Indeed, some employers will specifically require you to demonstrate your PowerPoint skills.
If the company does not clarify this, however, consider using other formats to highlight your creativity and technical skills.
Prezi is a unique way to create presentations in a non-linear 3D format, allowing you to zoom in and out of different bullet points as you present.
Haiku Deck is another useful option if you're looking to inject some imagination into your presentation, offering access to an extensive image library.
For something simple and effective, Google Presentations is another good alternative to PowerPoint.
Less is more
Keep your presentation concise to give time for follow-up questions. Restrict yourself to 4-5 slides for a 5 minute presentation or 7-8 for a 10 minute presentation.
Avoid text heavy slides. If your presentation requires more detail, this can be provided in a supporting hard copy handout.
Rehearse your presentation
Rehearsing is essential to feeling confident on the day. Work through everything you want to say, reminding yourself to take breaths and maintain good eye contact throughout. Familiarise yourself closely with the contents of the entire presentation to minimise nerves on the day.
Manage your time
Make sure your presentation fills the amount of time you have been given. Too short and it may appear you haven't put in enough effort; too long and you risk criticism of your organisational abilities. To get it right, run through several timed rehearsals of your finished presentation.
Even if you give the best possible presentation, most interviewers will still want to ask questions. Don’t be discouraged by this: it is not meant to reflect badly on you. In fact, this is your chance to impress the interviewer further.
Try and prepare yourself for questions, making sure your answers are honest and concise.
Rehearsing is essential to feeling confident on the day. Work through everything you want to say, reminding yourself to take breaths and maintain good eye contact throughout.
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