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Preparing for an interview presentation: Our top tips

Written by Andrew Arkley

Preparing for an interview presentation

 

Preparing for an interview presentation can be a daunting prospect.

On the one hand, it’s a great chance to showcase your skills - since you’ll be given a brief ahead of time, an interview presentation is the stage you can prepare for most effectively and really take the reins on. 

On the other hand, presenting can be stressful, doubly so alongside the high stakes of an interview.

So how do you effectively prepare for an interview presentation? Read on for our comprehensive guide full of useful interview presentation tips.

What are interviewers assessing?

Before you begin preparing your interview presentation, it’s important to know what the interview panel will be assessing you on. Regardless of topic, chances are they’re looking for the following from you:

-          Exceptional verbal communication

-          Suitability for the position

-          Awareness of the industry and the company

-          The ability to work to a brief

Keep these things in mind when preparing for an interview presentation so you don’t veer off track.

Preparing for an interview presentation: the content

Research extensively

Never begin preparing your interview presentation without extensive research.

If you’ve been given a specific topic to present on, read around it as much as you can. Even if your research doesn’t make it into the presentation itself, knowing your subject extensively will help your confidence.

Research your audience as well. The interview panel may be made up of people with wide-ranging areas of expertise, so you’ll want the language and content of your presentation to be accessible for them all. You can ask the recruiter who to expect on the panel and do your own detective work through LinkedIn and the company website.  

Have a clear message

You simply won’t have time to say everything you want to say in a 5-10 minute presentation. It’s a real skill to be able to distill a great deal of information into a short period, while ensuring that your audience can follow along and understand it all. 

Cutting a complex idea down to a couple of lines will make your interview presentation more accessible. Then, use the bulk of your presentation to add depth.

Having a clear message in mind also gives you something to call back to throughout your presentation. This will make it easier to digest and will help keep your audience engaged.

Get the structure right

Laying out a clear structure will help you prepare for your interview presentation. Include:

1.      A short introduction outlining what you will be talking about. Remember to introduce your message as early as possible.

2.      The majority of your interview presentation should be devoted to developing and discussing your topic. This is your chance to really show off the breadth and depth of your research.

3.      Conclude by summarising your main points. Call back to your introductory message and demonstrate how you’ve explored the topic with a brief conclusion.  

Remember to emphasise and return to your main message throughout the interview presentation.

Prepare for questions

Open your interview presentation by letting your audience know you’ll take questions at the end. That way they won’t interrupt the flow of your presentation.

The interview panel are likely to ask you to elaborate on certain sections of your presentation so ensure that you know your content inside and out.

Of course, on the day, the panel may ask you a question that you don’t know the answer to. Don’t be too put off - it’s totally acceptable and appreciated to admit that you don’t know but that you can get back to them at a later date. This will show you’re honest and (provided you do follow up after the interview) diligent.

Use visual aids

The employer will specify if there will be a projector available on the day - if so, take advantage of this when preparing for an interview presentation and create visual aids to accompany your talk. 

Be sure not to overdo it with slides - nobody wants to watch 60 slides crammed with information. Your PowerPoint should be a visual accompaniment to emphasise key points, not a transcript of your presentation.

It’s best to lean towards short, snappy text if necessary and images where possible on slides. Depending on the topic, these could be graphs, charts or visually striking pictures.

It should also go without saying but, don’t use overly flashy effects or edits. Zoom transitions on PowerPoint will only look amateurish!

If your interview presentation doesn’t allow technology, bring in something to hand out covering the visual portion of your presentation.

It’s important that your visual aids don’t dominate your presentation, but rather enhance what you’re saying.

Practice makes perfect

Spending your time preparing for an interview presentation will be worthless if you don’t practise it extensively. Practise performing your interview presentation as frequently as possible before the real thing. However, try not to develop a set script but rather make sure you know what you want to say for each key point. This is because nerves on the day may prevent you from remembering a word-for-word script and your delivery may not sound very natural.

Even better, call on friends or colleagues you trust and who know about the topic, as they may ask questions you’d not considered and offer genuinely useful critiques.

Practising your interview presentation ahead of time is important too for ensuring that you’ve nailed your time management. If your presentation is much shorter than the time you’ve been given, it may seem superficial; too long and you’ll come across poorly organised.

Preparing for an interview presentation: summary

When preparing for an interview presentation, the key word really is preparation. Take time researching, structuring and writing to plan out exactly what you’re going to do.

We hope our interview presentation tips have helped you out. For a CV that will help get you to the interview presentation stage, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our CV writers today.

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