Interview presentations are an opportunity for a prospective employer to gauge your communication, public speaking, and critical thinking skills during the job interview process. Sounds daunting? But with these 5 tips in mind, you will be better prepared to ace your next interview presentation.
Interview presentations are an opportunity for a prospective employer to gauge your communication, public speaking, and critical thinking skills during the job interview process. Interview presentations are also an opportunity to gauge your industry knowledge as well as your understanding of a specific topic.
As a career and interview coach, I am noticing a recent trend in companies leveraging interview presentations to both assess talent and provide additional stakeholders across the organization an opportunity to be involved in the interview process. Yet, job seekers frequently feel unprepared to deliver effective interview presentations, particularly with the increased use of Zoom and other video conferencing services.
So how do you prepare for an interview presentation? What goes into a winning interview presentation? How do you deliver the best virtual interview presentation possible?
Here are five steps to prepare for and effectively deliver your next interview presentation:
While this seems like a no-brainer, you want to begin by carefully reading the interview presentation instructions. As a tech career coach, one of the biggest mistakes I see job seekers make is not carefully following the interview guidelines. You want to avoid getting dinged for lacking attention to detail or skipping over a critical component of the interview presentation guidelines. This is especially important when interviewing with larger corporations as they often maintain a rigorous interview rubric and require you to address certain points during your interview presentation.
Your presentation is an opportunity for your prospective colleagues to understand what it will be like to work with you. Subsequently, really take time to understand your target audience, as a presentation to the C-suite or the board of directors is much different than a presentation to prospective direct reports. If your target audience is ambiguous, do not be afraid to ask the recruiter or hiring manager probing questions to gain further clarity.
After you gain a clear understanding of your target audience, it is time to craft an outline to guide your interview presentation. Given the limited time you will have with your audience, you want to ensure your interview presentation covers all of items outlined in the instructions as well as your own key points. Start by asking yourself these questions:
§ Why am I delivering this interview presentation?
§ What main points do I want to get across during my time with the audience?
§ How can I strategically set myself apart from other job candidates?
§ What are my biggest strengths, and how will this presentation enhance them?
§ Where can I inject my fabulousness throughout the interview presentation?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you are ready to develop an interview presentation outline that is simple and easy to follow. I typically advise my interview coaching clients to begin with an intro of who they are, followed by the three to five main points of their presentation. Then, conclude with a quick, high-impact recap. Finally, if the interviewer has not already outlined a dedicated time for Q&A, you want to be sure to leave time at the end of the presentation for questions from the panel.
Your slides should complement and enhance your presentation content. I remind my interview coaching clients that people learn through different methods, so it is helpful for content to be both spoken and visual, without being overly repetitive. However, you do not want people to be reading off your slides. Rather, you want your slides to communicate your ideas visually and further engage the panel in your interview presentation.
Prioritize quality over quantity when adding text to your slides to avoid attendees reading your slides instead of listening to you present. Consider incorporating photos and other visuals throughout your slides, when appropriate, to nimbly engage your audience. You can also stand out from other interviewers by incorporating the company logo, fonts, and colors into your presentation; you can often find the company’s style guide online.
Now, it is time to practice delivering your presentation. However, you do not want to come off as overly rehearsed. You can circumvent this by writing down short bullet points for each slide rather than a verbatim script. Also, I advise my interview coaching clients to record their presentation delivery, then watch it back to get a sense of how they come across. In the age of virtual interview presentations, you want to be particularly cognizant of your nonverbal communication and body language.
Once you feel comfortable with your presentation delivery, consider practicing with a trusted friend, mentor, or interview coach. Ask them for honest feedback about where you excel and where you can improve, both in terms of your delivery and your presentation content.
You will want to anticipate questions from your audience as you prepare for your interview presentation. Be prepared to speak to everything you present during your presentation. This includes the strategy and reasoning behind each of your decisions as well as lessons learned. As you answer interview attendee questions, keep in mind that a variety of cross-functional and cross-organizational stakeholders may be in your interview presentation.
Recognize that you cannot prepare for every question you may be asked during your interview presentation. Subsequently, do not fret if you do not have the answer to every question that comes your way. Instead, focus on sharing what you do have the answer to while also highlighting your fabulousness.
With these tips in mind, you will be better prepared to ace your next interview presentation. You’ve got this!