Most of us have been or will be called for a job interview, and more so, we might be invited to make a job interview presentation in front of a panel. How to impress the people interviewing us? What are the Dos and Don’ts for Job Interview presentations?
Those are some questions that arise when one is invited to a job interview, especially if it involves a presentation.
Job interview presentations add to the worries of confronting people we have to impress to guarantee the spot they offer. We have to convince them we are the right choice. How do we do it, though? We might think we are doing the right thing when we are doing less than they expect.
We can call ourselves lucky; we have the best resources any generation has ever had. If we dedicate some of our time and dive into some research, we get the necessary tips to help us overcome most of our worries. In your particular case, you just found an article with several tips on how to ace a job interview presentation.
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First, let’s look at 10 dos of a job interview presentation.
10 Dos for Job Interview Presentations
Here’s a list of the top ten things you can do for a successful Job Interview Presentation.
- Adequate Research
- Planning an engaging Structure
- Writing and Rehearsing your Speech
- Dress Accordingly
- Show up on Time
- Focus on the key Message
- Keep it Conversational
- Manage your Presentation Time
- Listen and Respond Accordingly
- Prepare Questions for the Interviewers
Let’s Dive in!
1. Adequate Research
The first step to standing out in a job interview presentation is to do your research.
“Proper preparation prevents poor performance.”
Researching will allow you to know what you are saying and doing; there are many resources available to help with adequate research.
- For getting to know the company: The company website, talking to their former employees or current, with their customers, etc.
- Learning more about the topic: Browse the Internet, top referenced books or research available, look back at your previous projects, and experience for good references and examples.
Learn also about the audience. Before your presentation, you must have a good knowledge of your panel members. Who are they? What are their interests, professional background, or experience?
Doing research will avoid being seen as a waste of the interviewers’ time, as they are confident that you will provide information worth their time.
2. Plan an engaging Structure
A structure for your presentation will guarantee a cue for you to follow. Otherwise, you might stumble on words trying to say things that come to you at the moment.
It is advised that you put the right sequence of information in the right slides, making it easy to follow up and know what’s next in the sequence.
A structure is also part of the presentation and the interview since the audience will notice your organization and preparation skills.
3. Writing and Rehearsing your Speech
Practice before the actual presentation so you can be used to conveying the information gathered, not to know everything but to know what each point covers.
Doing it in front of people is a good idea that makes it more real and challenging. Those people can also provide feedback and allow improvements.
Rehearsing will help with build confidence, reducing the anxiety to talk in front of the panel, and realize some bits of information that can be left out or added.
4. Dress accordingly
When researching the company, you should find information about its culture, which can give insight into the dress code. If that information is unavailable, it is always a good idea to go with a formal outfit.
Too formal is better than too casual.
The way you dress for an interview will make an impact on the first impression. It shows how serious you are about the interview and the position.
5. Show up on time
Another key to an excellent first impression is punctuality.
Showing up 10 minutes prior to the interview is a good idea and prevents the interviewers’ judgment from the moment you show up. So get informed about the date and time of the interview and double-check it to avoid mistakes.
Showing up early, even 30 mins earlier, will also allow you to setup the presentation deck, projector, notebook, and all the tech stuff and test it before the presentation.
Why else you should arrive earlier? You may meet and chat with some of the panel interviewers and that will help reduce the anxiety and allow for a more conversational presentation.
6. Focus on the message
When delivering a presentation, you do not want to let the audience wondering what the point of your presentation is. So keep it clear, focus on the key message you want to convey.
The research will help with this, as you should transmit that you are leading your audience to something important. Information gathered from research, in this case, should be rich in factual data to back up what you say.
As mentioned in by SkillsYouNeed‘s on the top presentation tips:
“Your presentation needs to be built around what your audience is going to get out of the presentation.”
7. Keep it conversational
Keeping a conversational tone will ensure you stress less over the presentation. Although it is a job interview presentation, it does not have to be all serious. That way, it also makes it easy for the audience to connect and engage with you.
Staying cool and smiling can be contagious. If the audience starts smiling too, that’s more points for you.
Another key aspect here is just to not be so monotone and formal that your audience disconnects and starts sleeping, that’s definitely not what we want.
8. Time your speech
Provided there are other candidates; the interviewers can set the time for the presentation.
If that is not the case, they still expect you not to take too long; the rehearsing will help with that. The more you memorize essential points to cover, the less time will be spent on it.
9. Listen and respond accordingly
When asked a question about you or the presentation, listen carefully. Answer what is asked and don’t go around with it. Use your knowledge and experience to answer accordingly, remembering that the interviewers notice your actions and reactions.
Active listening or the ability to listen to understand is key here. Although you need to respond accordingly, the key here is clearly understanding the question and giving a thoughtful answer, and not some “copy-paste” type answer from what you read online.
10. Prepare questions for the interviewers
You will be interviewed indeed, though preparing some questions will show your interest and that you did your homework and researched the company. It will allow you to know more too, about the company and the role.
Before we go into the ten things to avoid during a job interview presentation, I would like to share with you the youtube video titled Interview Tips: Ace Interview Presentation by Cassandra Thompson, a career expert who shares insightful tips on resume building, interviewing, career development and so on.
Now let’s look at 10 things you definitely want to avoid in a job interview presentation.
10 Don’ts for Job Interview Presentations
Here’s a list of the top ten things to avoid for ensuring a successful Job interview presentation.
- Do not put Everything on a Single Slide
- Do not Read unless Interpreting a Dashboard, etc.
- Do not use Fancy Slides
- Do not Mix Complex colors and Fonts
- Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Effective Body Language
- Do Not Rush
- Do Not Forget Situational Awareness
- Do Not use Low-Quality Pictures
- Do Not Waste time Checking Equipment (in case of failures)
- Do Not End your Presentation Abruptly
1. Do not put everything on a Single Slide
Filling a slide with tons of text will show a lack of structure and organization skills. It will also be distracting, as the audience will be trying to read from the slide and forget you are there.
That is really not a good move. Instead, put essential information only and starter sentences to give you an idea of what is next.
Former Apple employee Guy Kawasaki suggests the 10-20-30 rule for slideshows, which is:
- Slideshows should contain no more than 10 slides;
- Last no more than 20 minutes; and
- Use a font size of no less than 30 points.
2. Do not Read, unless interpreting a Dashboard, etc.
Slides are a good way to help in a presentation; they allow you to show visuals. It is a great way of complementing information. It should not make the presentation though; it is there to back you up. You are the one telling the story, so avoid reading everything from it.
Besides, if you are not presenting to a panel of illiterate individuals, which I bet you are not, then what’s the point of exhibiting your reading skills when the audience can do so, and they called you to present, and not to read stuff?
3. Do not use fancy slides
Slides can be simple and transmit the information needed. Fancy slides can also be a distraction as transitions and animations may steal the attention of the audience.
The interviewers need to be amazed by the data and your ability to present it. That is why they are investing their time in you.
Use pictures, dashboards, tables, charts, bullets, small videos, etc. stuff that can add to what you are converting through your verbal presentation.
4. Do not mix complex colors and fonts
There are more legible and recommended fonts like “Arial and Times New Roman.” When it comes to colors, the ones that are not too bright will be a good option; they will not obfuscate the eyes of the audience.
A dark background and light text are simple and appropriate.
5. Do not forget body language
“It has been estimated that more than three-quarters of communication is non-verbal.”
Meaning, how you express yourself with your body is as important as how you do it with words. Using hand gestures that harmonize with what you are saying makes it easy to transmit the message.
Do not forget to take body language into account when rehearsing. Also, avoiding eye contact depicts fear, lack of confidence, and lack of sincerity, the very last impression you want to make.
6. Do not rush
Your focus should be on delivering the information, not get to the end of the presentation.
Make some pauses after questions especially; give the interviewers some time to think about it before you proceed with your presentation.
Rushing will make them notice that you are nervous or give that impression if it’s not the case. That should not be the case in the first place, since you rehearsed.
7. Do not forget Situational Awareness
In some stages of an interview, circumstances may lead one to forget for a moment that it is an interview.
While delivering the presentation, remember you are in an interview. And keep selling your strengths and experiences, as you want to convince you are suitable for the job.
AVOID deviating from the main topic of discussion and rambling, or getting too casual, as that may compromise your chances of landing that job.
8. Do not use low-quality pictures
Using slides to show visuals, when using pictures, they should be of good quality. Low-quality photographs or those that appear as soon as searched on the internet and probably used a dozen times are not good ideas.
There are many sites available that can provide high-quality images for specific presentations.
Some of the top free stock photos, royalty-free photo sites are Pixabay.com, Pexels.com, Unsplash.com. You can use them to get high-quality photos.
9. Do not waste time checking equipment
That is one of the reasons why you want to be there before the scheduled time. Arriving early will allow you to check your equipment before the actual presentation starts.
Checking for equipment in the middle of the presentation would kill the mood. Get there on time (before it), and check that everything works.
If it suddenly stops, then continue with the presentation, and only ask to really stop and work on it if the materials presented are critical for the message to be understood. A way to reduce that risk is printing handouts that the audience can use to follow your presentation.
10. Do Not End Your Presentation Abruptly
Finish your presentation with a quote or question that will make the interviewers remember you.
Ending the presentation with just a summary of what you said is not enough. Try to make it memorable; the quote or question can be related to the company’s vision and mission and will end it strongly.
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10 Dos and Don’ts for Job Interview Presentations Infographics
To Wrap Up
In conclusion, giving a presentation can be very challenging. Perhaps to most of us, the bright side is that it is a skill that people can learn. Being a student or working in a company will provide the opportunity to deliver a presentation, sooner or later.
You have to find out how to deliver it, the way it should be done. That can be done with the help of internet articles, a speaking coach, or simply friends that are good at it and you think can pass you their techniques.
Do some research, rehearse, learn about your audience, and nail your next interview presentation.
References and Further Reading
Robert Walters Group. 7 Tips for a Stand-Out Interview Presentation.
Felicity Barber, The Muse. 7 Tips to Help you Nail that Interview Presentation