Careful preparation, attention to detail, and rehearsing your delivery will help you deliver a confident interview presentation.
When recruiting for certain roles employers sometimes ask candidates to deliver a presentation at their second interview. The purpose of this exercise is to test candidates’ ability to apply their skills and knowledge in a scenario relevant to the role they are applying for. The presentation also demonstrates candidates’ confidence, ability to communicate and ability to influence others. How candidates prepare and deliver their presentation therefore helps employers to choose between candidates with similar experience and skills.
Common mistakes when preparing for an interview presentation
Good candidates sometimes eliminate themselves at a second interview by failing to understand the importance of preparing a strong presentation. Common mistakes include:
Failing to pay enough attention to the brief
Failing to do enough research and/or sloppy preparation
Failing to manage time (e.g. trying to cover too much in a five-minute presentation)
Failing to rehearse
Failing to have a fall back plan in case things go wrong on the day
So, how should you prepare for your interview presentation?
The following seven-step approach will help you to prepare and deliver a strong, confident presentation.
Understand the task: Pay attention to the brief that you are given for the presentation. What are you being asked to do and what is the employer hoping to learn from your presentation? How long should the presentation be? Are there requirements regarding the format? Taking time to understand the brief will help you prepare a relevant presentation and avoid unnecessary research.
Understand the audience: Learn as much as you can about the company and the people who will be present at your presentation. Read the company website and social media pages and remember that the recruitment agency will have a lot of insight so talk to them!
Understand your strengths: Review the job description. What skills are needed for the role you have applied for? Can you demonstrate these skills in your presentation? How can you use your presentation to make your strengths stand out over the likely strengths of other candidates?
Understand the importance of structure: Organise your presentation so that it has a logical flow with a strong opening, clear and relevant points throughout the main body and a strong ending.
Keep visuals simple: Less is more when it comes to visual aids and handouts. Make sure that your slides are relevant. Pay attention to spelling and grammar. Don’t use too much text and don’t read your slides aloud.
Focus on delivery: When you have drafted your presentation, allow plenty of time to practice delivering it aloud as this will help to highlight weak areas. Revise and rehearse again until you are happy with the content. Seek feedback by asking a friend to listen and encourage them to ask questions. This will help you prepare responses for questions you may be asked on the day. Pay attention to timing. If you have been asked for a five-minute presentation, make sure you will not run over. Decide what you will wear on the day so that you will feel confident, comfortable and relaxed when you deliver your presentation.
Have a Plan B: If there is a power cut or the interview has to move to a different meeting room, the technology you expected to use might not be available. Have a fall back plan so that you will not be affected by unexpected hitches. A good tip is to bring a summary and/or printouts of your presentation which you can hand out to your interviewers on the day if necessary.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
As with most things in life, careful preparation is the best way to achieve a good outcome. Your interview presentation will be competing against those of other strong candidates so the better you prepare, the stronger your chances of successfully negotiating this stage of the recruitment process.
Finally, remember that as a leading specialist in the IT sector, Eolas Recruitment has an excellent network of contacts, so when you are looking for your first management role, the chances are our specialist recruiters will be able to find interesting opportunities for you. To find out more about our services and how we can help you, please get in touch.