Most interview presentation
mistakes are related to poor planning
Have you ever been asked to make a presentation to a prospective employer? If so, ensuring your content is engaging, relevant and delivered to a professional standard is crucial – but also difficult and nerve-wracking. It can also make the difference between a job offer and rejection.
To help you get the edge and calm the nerves, here are our top tips for navigating your way through an interview presentation.
The most common mistakes
Surprisingly, the most common errors frequently have nothing to do with delivery. Instead, most of them are related to poor planning:
- Failure to follow the brief
Read the question carefully and ensure you answer it. It sounds simple, but the top mistake across the board is candidates not doing what they’ve been asked to do. It’s a good idea to clarify the brief prior to the interview if you’re unsure or the question is unclear.
- Overcomplicating the task
If your prospective employer has asked you not to use PowerPoint, don’t use it. Perhaps they want to hear you speak without the aid of a screen; perhaps the supporting technology is not available. Either way, think of different approaches to the task and demonstrate your communication skills in a more creative, unique way.
- Lack of preparation
Careful preparation is essential. If you think about the last time you were inspired by a presenter, the chances are they took days or weeks to prepare. Very few people can deliver truly engaging presentations spontaneously, so take your time, know your subject, and just glance at the script rather than read from it.
- Too much information
You will most likely be set a strict timescale for delivering your presentation. Practise as much as you can prior to the interview to ensure you cover off all your key points within the allotted time. If you’re using PowerPoint, use no more than three to five key bullet points on each slide: you want them to be looking at you, not your slides.
- Talking too quickly
Due to nerves, many people will speak too quickly at the start of a presentation. Remember that your pace and speed need to be natural, similar to a conversation you would have with a colleague. Practice makes perfect, so get in front of the mirror, set your timer, take a deep breath, and go.
What are they looking for?
A prospective employer is interested in how well you communicate and engage on a personal level. They will also want to hear your opinions and assess your strengths and expertise against criteria such as creativity and project management skills.
7 top tips for delivering a great presentation
Your next interview could well include a presentation as part of the assessment. Here is our best advice on how to make the most of your time in the spotlight:
- Rehearse and finalise your presentation, then cut it by a further 20 per cent to ensure it’s concise.
- Avoid putting a lot of text on a slide: less is more.
- Limit yourself to three to five succinct bullet points per slide so attention stays on you.
- Make eye contact with your audience, it’s a crucial way to connect and show confidence.
- Be aware of your body language, particularly the way you stand and move your hands.
- The end of your presentation will be what they remember, so craft your summary well.
- Anticipate the questions that will be asked and prepare your answers.