Nailing an Interview Presentation


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It used to be you would apply for a job, get a call about an interview, and then know within a week or two if you landed it. The output wasn’t much on your part. You had to pick out the right clothes and put your best foot forward at the actual interview, but from there – you either had it or you didn’t. Today, the interview process can be much more extensive than that. There are rounds, and various people to meet. You might start with a phone screening, followed up by an in person interview with HR, then interviews with varying levels of leadership, all the way to the top. This entire process can take weeks, or months, and with an increasing rate of frequency (for executive leadership positions, especially), it also includes you making a presentation at some point. That’s right. A presentation for a job you don’t even have yet. But don’t look at this as a reason to freak out. The beauty of a interview presentation is that you have plenty of time to prepare, and if you use that prep time well – you can absolutely spin this into a way to shine.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Make sure you have all the details up front. Ask about the topic you will be presenting on, the preferred length of your presentation, and who you will be presenting to – supervisors you need to sell on an idea, or colleagues you need to explain a product to. These are details that could absolutely affect how you structure your presentation, and preparing yourself up front is the best way to ensure you create something that truly shines. Also be sure to ask what technology will be available to you during the presentation and if there are any further specifications the hiring team would like you to adhere to.

Stick to a Defined Structure

You may be a confident public speaker, but this is not one of those times when you should plan on winging it. Instead, create a presentation that has a defined flow, and then plan on sticking to that. Type out most of what you want to say as well. While you will want to avoid reading from notes the entire time, having it written from the start gives you plenty of time to practice and memorize – while also allowing you to ensure you are remaining within the time limits given by the hiring team.

Know Your Tools

PowerPoint is far from the only game in presentations nowadays, but it is important that no matter what program you choose – you know how to operate it and are confident you can shine within its confines. Still, don’t make the mistake of relying entirely on your presentation tools to do the work for you. Remember, they are just tools – you should remain the focal point. Make eye contact and strive to be engaging. Your audience should be paying far more attention to you than your slides.

Prepare for Follow Up Questions

Follow up questions are standard for most presentations anyway, but this is especially true for interview presentations – where you are being compared to other candidates in relation to a specific job opening. Don’t allow yourself to be thrown by these questions, and try to consider what may be asked ahead of time, so that you can prepare answers early on. The key is to know your content, though. As long as you take the time to truly research the topic you are presenting on, you should be prepared when it comes time for questions.

Practice and Then Practice Some More

The number one way to ensure you nail your interview presentation is to practice far beyond what you might think should be necessary. Use friends and family members as your guinea pigs, and rely on them to point out holes in your presentation. Practice in front of your mirror in the morning. Practice your “stage presence”, paying attention to how often you move and what you do with your hands at various points in the presentation. Utilize your tools again and again, and keep practicing until the entire thing seems like second nature to you. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be – and that will show on the day of your interview presentation!

About Kylie Hammond
Executive Search Consultant, Head-Hunter, HR Consultant, Executive Career Coach, Expert Resume Writer & Executive Talent Agent.

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