To raise the bar further, some interviews now require a presentation during the interview. Does this make it more stressful, or is this an opportunity to shine? We discuss how you can use this opportunity to showcase your skills and maximize your time to convince the interviewers of your capabilities.
TIP 1: Know your game
Prepare what you can by knowing as much as possible about the situation surrounding the presentation. The candidate is usually forewarned about the need to make a presentation but the amount of information provided will vary. On some occasions, you may be provided complete information, but this is quite rare. Usually what you do know are the bare requirements (the time limit and the topic/objective) and the rest is up to you. Connect with the person who communicated with you about the interview, and ask a few questions. Here are some key points that are helpful for you to know:
(a) Who are you presenting to?
(b) What is the equipment available?
(c) Will you be presenting at the end, or at the beginning of the interview?
TIP 2: Remember that this is an interview
What some candidates forget, is that at the end of the day, this is still an interview. While the usual structure for a presentation is required, for example a good introduction, body and conclusion, do not forget to weave in examples of your skills and abilities. It should not be a direct selling of yourself (unless that is the topic) but connect your past experiences and your abilities within your presentation and communicate these to the interviewers.
TIP 3: Be mindful of the time
You are still in an interview, and it is not a presentation where you are the keynote speaker. Be respectful of the time allocation, as you do not want to get your interviewers edgy about needing to leave. Most importantly, you need to comfortably get to your conclusion while the interviewers are still focusing on you and not on needing to get to their next meeting.
TIP 4: Practice
Delivery of any presentation is key and reading off the slides is not particularly impressive. Ensure that you have a clear visualization of how your presentation will run, practice how and what you will be saying, and time yourself so that you confidently get to the key messages without feeling rushed.
TIP 5: Be prepared for the unexpected
Be ready to remain unruffled under any circumstances, including technology and equipment failures (or unavailability). Bring along hard copies for the interviewers and yourself, and be ready to proceed with the presentation without the use of any equipment. Bring your own laptop and backup your PowerPoint presentation on to a thumb drive, which provides you with options in the event there is equipment failure. Your ability to handle unexpected situations will be well-recognized.
Doing a presentation during an interview can be a challenge, but with good preparation and confidence, the presentation can also be a moment to shine. At the end of the day, both the interview and the presentation are tests of your communication skills, both of which are skills that can be honed and improved on with sufficient preparation time coupled with the right coaching and techniques.
Written by Siew Ling Hwang, Founder of Discovering Potential
Connect with Siew Ling, via LinkedIn