How to... plan an interview presentation
Presentations can be a favoured interview method by recruiters, and is something candidates need to be prepared for when applying for jobs in the industry. Many employers use presentations to see how creative and confident you are whilst also gaining an insight into how you might fit into their organisation. This can be a tough and daunting interview technique which requires a high amount of preparation. Many factors may lower your performance such as nerves, a lack of focus or not being well prepared. Take note of these tips to help you best deliver your interview presentation.
Although it can be difficult to control nerves, you can reduce the negative effects this may have on your performance by planning the presentation thoroughly. Make sure you have good background knowledge of the recruiter and tailor the presentation to the needs of the organisation. Structure the core message you want to get across and plan what other arguments will then branch off this. By simplifying the format to include a strong opening, a central argument and an ending, this will help you remain focused and not drift away from the main topic which you’re addressing. Use the end of the presentation to summarise your message and leave a lasting impression with the interviewer.
Try to memorise your presentation. Have notes to guide you and to act as a backup, but make sure you rehearse the speech enough to not solely rely on them. This gives you more flexibility throughout the presentation to keep your head up and make eye contact with the interviewer, giving a much better impression than if you’re buried in your notes.
Practice makes perfect, so deliver your presentation to friends and family. They will often pick up on mistakes you may have missed, give you suggestions as to what else you could include and highlight ways to improve your delivery. This will make you more confident when it comes to the real interview situation.
Take your time. Speak clearly, confidently and at a steady pace so that the interviewer can follow your argument easily. Speaking too quickly will show your nerves, make the presentation rushed and increase your chances of making a mistake. Project your voice and don’t speak in monotone as this will bore the recruiter and give the impression you’re not interested. Pause after each important point to control your speed, collect your thoughts and allow the interviewer to absorb your message.
Even with lots of practice we’re all prone to mistakes. If you have a slip up don’t apologise too much or dwell on it. Briefly acknowledge the mistake and then move on to avoid getting distracted and letting your nerves get the best of you.
After making your final point, remember to hold your head high and finish confidently with a smile.
After the interview has finished, take time to reflect on how the presentation went and what you could do better next time. Although presentations can be daunting initially, if you take the time to prepare and analyse what you have learnt, your confidence and performance will subsequently improve.
Date published: 12 February 2013