During your job search and as a part of your interview process, it’s not uncommon to have to give an interview presentation.
Here at Dynamic, the professionals we help with their job search regularly give interview presentations. And we offer support throughout this process: From helping them to understand what the interviewer is looking for from the presentation, to actually helping with the content of their presentations.
We’re here to help you answer the questions you’ve been wondering like: What exactly is an interview presentation? What should you include? And what to do when your interview presentation doesn’t quite go as planned.
What is an Interview Presentation?
At any stage in your career you may be asked to give an interview presentation. This interview will likely test you on one or more of the skills that are most important to the role.
The interview presentation you are asked to give can vary largely, depending on the role you are applying for and the industry you work in.
For example, a Solutions Architect may have to give an interview presentation that shows their technical ability, but also highlighting communication and presentation skills.
Meanwhile someone earlier in their career at a Network Engineer level, will likely have to give a presentation that focuses purely on their technical ability: Because that is what is most important to the employer when hiring at this level.
But the core approach and things to remember about giving an interview presentation
Why Are You Being Asked to Give an Interview Presentation?
When an employer asks you to give a presentation in your interview, it is typically to gain a greater understanding of your skills or experience. These will be the skills or experience that are most important to the role, and can offer you insight into what will be expected of you in the role.
The questions you are asked in an interview are obviously important, and it’s always a good idea to research the typical interview questions that you are likely to face.
But the interview presentation can be just as, and is likely more important than, the questions you answer: And is typically where many potential candidates are rejected from the interview process.
The interview presentation will also help you to understand whether the job is one that would be right for you. The presentation task will likely be something you will be doing in the role everyday, or something that is of crucial importance. So the interview presentation task can give you more insight into the role than you can get from asking questions in the interview.
The 5 Things Your Job Interview Presentation Needs to Show
Before we get into the practical tips for your interview presentation, there are a few essential things that your presentation must show:
1. That you understood the task and the job you’ll be doing.
All too often we see candidates who have rushed into an interview task, without really taking the time to understand the task or understand what the employer was really looking to see.
Because it’s feedback we hear from the employers we work with all the time. It’s crucial to make sure you understand what the employer wants to see from your task.
2. Your technical experience and expertise.
Pretty obvious, but pretty important. If you’re given a technical task, you need to show that you’re an expert at what you’ve been asked. This can mean going back and doing some revision around this area, to refresh your memory and prepare yourself for any questions you might face.
3. That you can handle yourself in a high-pressure situation.
Being cool under pressure is an essential skill and is an attractive quality in almost every job. Conversely, while someone may be great on paper, if they can’t articulate themselves or crumble under pressure, that can be a huge red flag to employers.
4. You can communicate well with clients and colleagues.
Communication is key, especially in a position where you’ll be working closely with clients or colleagues. And if you can’t articulate yourself effectively in a presentation setting, employers will be hesitant to put you in a role where you will be presenting to clients.
5. That you really want the job.
If you’re in the interview, then it’s fairly obvious that you want the job you’re interviewing for. But one of the things that employers will look for is who really wants the job.
Putting in the effort, preparing for any questions they may have and rehearsing your presentation, will show the interviewer that you’re serious about the opportunity.
13 Interview Presentation Tips and Steps to Success
These 13 tips will outline the steps you need to take when creating, presenting and what you need to do after your interview presentation.
1. Understand your audience and what they are looking for
The most important tip we can give is to understand what your audience, the interviewer, is looking for from your presentation.
If you’re interviewing for an IT Account Manager position and asked to give a mock pitch to clients, is it the contents of your presentation that really matters? Probably not.
Instead, the interviewers are looking to see that you present yourself well, can communicate effectively, and have a technical understanding of what you’re selling.
2. Keep it nice and short
Nobody wants to sit through a seemingly endless presentation. So try to keep the presentation you give nice and short: As concise as it needs to be.
If you’re really not sure about the length of the presentation, you can always ask the interviewer about how long they would like the interview presentation to be.
If you haven’t been given an outline for how long your presentation should take, you might be tempted to put in as much useful information as you can, to show off your knowledge and skills. But we advise having only the necessary information you need to complete the task at hand or answer the questions that you need to.
3. Have a structure for your presentation
Imperative to having a streamlined and professional interview presentation, is having a solid structure. Whatever the subject of your presentation, you should have an introduction, the main points you want to address, and a conclusion.
4. Use images and graphs, not just text
Make your presentation more engaging by including images, graphs, diagrams and maybe even a video if you’re feeling a bit creative.
This prevents your presentation from becoming monotonous, and can help to break up slides of text after text or large sets of data.
5. Don’t try to fit too much information on each slide
It can be tempting to try and use up all the real estate on your presentation slides, cramming them with information.
But we advise having slides with just the key points that you want to explore, or a graph that will support what you say.
Keeping the majority of the information off the slides gives you more to talk about, stops everyone from sitting and reading the slides in silence, and will keep the interviewers attention on you.
6. Try to match the branding of the business
Something we advise that doesn’t take too much effort, is mirroring the branding of the business you’re applying for a role at.
What we mean by this, is to say you’re applying for a job at BT. Going on the BT website and downloading some pamphlet or e-book from their website and matching the logos and overall colour scheme that they use.
It’s not the most important thing in the world, as it won’t save your interview presentation if everything else goes wrong. But it does show you’re putting in the extra effort to impress the interviewer.
7. Double check for any mistakes
And in opposition to this, is making sure that there are no mistakes in your presentation. Because having simple errors or spelling mistakes in your presentation isn’t a great look, and the interviewer will be sure to notice.
So make sure to proofread your presentation. And even better, have someone else double check it for you.
8. Practise presenting to yourself, or to friends/ family
The difference between someone presenting for the first time and someone who has rehearsed is absolutely noticeable to a hiring manager. So we strongly advise taking the time to practise your interview presentation beforehand.
Not only will this help you appear more natural when you present, it will also help you to know if your presentation is too long and needs to be cut down.
9. Be confident when presenting
Not everyone is a natural born public speaker. But exuding confidence in your presentation is essential. Which means:
- Taking your time and not rushing through your presentation.
- Speaking confidently and clearly.
- Asking whether you’ve been clear with what you’ve said so far.
- Even your body language.
Because if you struggle to present confidently and can’t articulate yourself properly, then the employer won’t be confident that you will be confident in front of customers or clients.
10. Be confident with your body language
When you present, the interviewer will be aware of your body language and what it says about you: So it’s important that you are aware of it too, and you’re in control of it. This can involve making eye contact, using appropriate and positive hand gestures, having a good posture, and smiling.
These are just a few tips, but for more information on how to convey confidence with body language throughout the interview, read our guide on interview body language here.
11. Don’t go overboard on time, and leave time for questions
We’ve mentioned the length of your presentation earlier, but it’s important that you don’t go over the assigned time limit.
It shows poor time management, poor communication skills (if you take too long to get to the point), and an employer would likely be more hesitant to put you in front of customers or clients.
You should also aim to leave about 5 minutes of time at the end of your presentation to give the interviewers the opportunity to ask any questions, without going overboard on time.
12. Think what questions you need to expect
Predicting the questions you’re going to face seems like an impossible task. After all, you could be asked about pretty much anything. But in reality, understanding the task and what the interviewer is looking for will help you to have an idea of the kinds of questions you’ll be asked.
For example, if you’re giving an interview presentation that is a mock pitch to clients, then you can attempt to think of some objections that a client would raise about your pitch. Or if you were listening to your presentation, what are the questions you would ask?
13. Thank them for their time, and reiterate your interest in the position
When you’ve finished your presentation and interview, remember to thank the interviewer for their time and say again how interested you are in the position and in joining the company.
When an interviewer is trying to make a decision between a few competitive candidates, being the one who is eager and actively wants the job can be a deciding factor.
What to Do If Your Interview Presentation Doesn’t Go to Plan?
Hopefully your interview presentation goes perfectly and you can skip this section completely. But just in case it doesn’t, here are a few things that could go wrong in your presentation and how to avoid them.
Technical difficulties can be frustrating at the best of times but especially in a high-pressure situation like an interview. And even worse, they can be completely out of your control.
The best thing you can do is to prepare for any eventuality.
Email a copy of your presentation to yourself. Have another copy on a USB memory stick that you bring with you. Print out a few copies to hand out as a backup. Try to cover all bases where possible.
You are asked a question you don’t know the answer to
While you can try to predict the questions you’ll be asked, it’s unlikely you’ll get them all. And you may even be asked a question to which you simply don’t have the answer.
So instead of trying to come up with an answer on the spot, it’s best to pause and ask for a minute to consider. Or if you’re truly stumped, be upfront and say you don’t have an answer at that time but will revisit at the end of the interview, or at a later date.
While it would be an ideal situation to have an answer to every question, asking for time to revisit shows confidence and self-awareness.
Your audience seem disinterested or not engaged
Interview presentations are necessarily the most exciting things in the world. Especially if an interviewer has conducted multiple of the same interview.
So don’t be disheartened if the interviewers don’t seem the most engaged. And if they do, you can always ask the interviewers if everything you have said makes sense so far or if they have any questions about anything you’ve discussed up to that point.
This also helps to stop your interview presentation turning into a lecture and gives yourself a pause to collect your thoughts and take a break.
You’re going overboard on time
Before you go in, you should have a good idea of how long your presentation will last. Even so, you can find yourself going overboard on time when in the interview.
It’s important to be aware of how much time you have left and if you’re going to go overboard on time.
But you can prepare for this beforehand. Before you go into the interview, try to think of areas that you can trim or cut from your presentation just in case. That you would like to include if you have the time, but aren’t 100% necessary to keep in, or that you can summarise quickly if you need to.
5 Ways How Working With a Recruitment Agency Can Help Your Interview Presentation
Interview presentations can be incredibly stressful, and the whole interview process is hardly a barrel of laughs. But working with a recruitment agency can be helpful for a number of reasons:
- Recruiters often have insight into exactly what the interviewer is looking for, giving you an edge over the competition.
- Recruiters have seen hundreds of interview tasks and presentations, and can give you individually tailored advice.
- It gives you someone to rehearse with, or give you feedback on your presentation.
- And the recruiter may also know where previous candidates for the job have gone wrong in their presentations, telling you how to avoid these mistakes.
- All of which can give you a big confidence boost, knowing that you have a recruitment professional in your corner to support you