Interviews - Presentations: A CV Centre Guide
is becoming increasingly common for presentations to be delivered as part
of the recruitment process, enabling employers to assess your talent for
effective organisation, your communication skills, and your ability to
collate and analyse information.
Usually, you will be given a specific topic for the presentation and allowed time in advance to prepare. You will also be given an indication of how long the final presentation should take to deliver and it is extremely important that you adhere to this as you will also be assessed on your ability to follow instructions. Sometimes, an employer may even surprise you on the day of your interview by asking you to deliver a short presentation and, if this is the case, it is important to remain calm. Remember that, as you have not been given the opportunity to prepare, it is most likely that you will only be expected to deliver a presentation on a subject you are already familiar with.
When preparing a presentation, it is important to be aware of your target audience so that you can tailor the content accordingly. This ensures that you address them with relevant information and are consequently better able to hold their attention throughout the presentation.
Once you know the subject and the target audience, you can start to gather the information you need for the presentation. The most effective presentations have proven to be those which utilise visual aids so, as well as researching the information you actually need to talk about, it can be a good idea to obtain pictures, charts or diagrams to be presented as handouts, overhead projections or in the form of computer generated images. Visual aids must be clear, concise, easy to read and understand and of a high quality. Showing a hand scribbled graph is unlikely to have the visual impact of a professionally produced computerised chart.
Practice Makes Perfect
Although it may be ideal to memorise your presentation, don't be afraid to also have cue cards or notes with you, to ensure your presentation is fluent. Employers do not like to see someone simply reading from a script, but equally they do not want someone standing in front of them who is lost for words. If you have been told in advance about your presentation, you should have plenty of time in which to practice. This gives you the chance to iron out any possible glitches and to decide how you will actually present yourself. It is also essential that you time your presentation to make sure it is neither too long nor too short.
When finalising your presentation, make sure that it follows a clear format with an introduction of the topic to be discussed, the main content and a conclusion. A clearly defined structure not only makes the presentation easier to prepare but should also mean it will make more sense to your audience.
When it comes to the actual delivery of the presentation, the key is to try really hard to overcome any nerves. This can lead you to speak too quickly, mumble and even fidget, all of which will give the audience a negative impression. Eye contact with your audience is important throughout the presentation, although this should not be over used as it can be unnerving. Avoid the use of unnatural hand movements but also try to be visually expressive where appropriate. Using a dull, monotonous voice will not impress the audience and can make the topic sound uninteresting. Make sure that any visual aids you are using are only visible at the relevant times. Also, if you have any control over this, make sure your audience is comfortable and that any lighting is adjusted to ensure the maximum visibility of your visual aids.
Questions & Answers
At the conclusion of your presentation, it is always possible that you may be asked questions by the audience. However, as long as you have undertaken your research and preparation properly, you should be able to tackle most, if not all, of the questions put to you without any great difficulty.
Professional Interview Coaching
At The CV Centre, day in day out, we successfully coach our clients to truly excel at interview. This enables us to bring you the very best of what we have learnt - helping you to excel at interview yourself.
When it comes to interviews, people often think, "Well, I'll just turn up and be myself." Which is fine, but it won’t get you the job! You need to plan and prepare for an interview as you are still up against many other applicants and this is your key opportunity to make an impact. Your CV may get your foot in the door but you're on your own in the interview – and sometimes the most able candidate on paper can really shoot themselves in the foot when they actually get to the interview.
On average, there's likely to be at least 5 other candidates being interviewed for the same vacancy. So, everything else being equal, that gives you, at the most, a 20% chance of getting the job. But there's so much you can do to improve your odds of success.
Author: James Innes