If you’ve been asked to prepare a presentation for a job interview, you’re not alone. An increasing amount of employers are asking applicants to deliver a PowerPoint presentation explaining why they should be hired.
We can certainly understand why. With increasing competition for jobs, business owners and managers want to ensure they are hiring the right person. Setting a presentation task for a job interview gives them the chance to see if the hopeful can perform under pressure and communicate clearly.
Being asked to prepare a presentation for your job interview needn’t be a cause for worry. Look at it this way: if you do a great job, it’ll help you stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of securing the position.
Here’s our advice for completely nailing that job interview presentation.
Do your research
Regardless of the presentation, any interview candidate is attempting to show a potential employer how they would fit into the role and do it better than anyone else. So start there. Make sure you understand the ins and outs of what the position demands. Just as you would when creating a CV or Resume, jot down how your own experience and skills would be applied.
Research the wider organisation. Check out the company website and find details about the team structure. How big is the business and who reports to whom? Not only will this increase your general knowledge, but it will also give you an insight into who might be present at your interview.
Structuring a job interview presentation is important. Your message, which will universally be ‘why you should hire me’, needs to be clear and easily communicated. Your research might have produced lots of talking points, but you should remember that everything you say and present needs to keep the narrative moving toward you being the best for the job.
A good way to start thinking about the structure of your presentation is to layout the slides of the PowerPoint deck. The number of slides will depend on how long you’ve been given to speak, but typically employers ask for between ten to 15 minutes.
These are the slides your presentation needs:
- A title slide
This can be something as simple as the name of the presentation, your own name, or an impactful image. It will be the first thing that appears on screen when you fire up PowerPoint. You won’t have started talking when this slide appears, so it merely needs to be relevant to you and what you’re about to speak about.
- An introduction slide
Your name, what it is you do (if you have a professional speciality) and an image of your beaming face. If you dread using photos of yourself remember this: the employer might look back over the presentation once you’ve left. Being able to put a face to a name will help in their decision making.
- A bio slide or personal statement
Describe yourself. What do you do well, and what are you planning on achieving in the future?
- Your career path
Lay out your career history. You only need to mention what you did and where, as you’ll be expanding on your career highlights in your speech.
- Your education path
If you have some noteworthy education highlights – ones relevant to the role you’re going for – list them here. As with the previous slide just headings will do, allowing you to talk around them.
- A quote
Like a professional reference you might show at a traditional job interview, you can include a slide featuring a quote that bigs you up. This could be from a past employer, a previous client, or someone you’ve worked with. Again, the quote is enough, letting you expand on it yourself.
- Skills/Experience slide
Sum up all the above career and education slides with a list of your core skills and useful experience. Tailor this list accurately to the job specifications you already have, to hit home just how perfect you are for the role.
- Case studies
With a few case studies slides you can prove everything you’ve mentioned so far. On each slide detail a project you successfully tackled or a problem you overcame.
- Ideas/what you’ll bring to the role
Now focus on the future. After showing what you have done, tell the interviewer what you will do if they hire you. This slide could simply be a title, allowing you to go into detail in your speech, or include a few key points relevant to the role.
- 90 day plan
As most new jobs have a probation period of three months, show them what they’ll get from you in that time. Pick things out from the job description and explain how you’ll tackle them. This slide should hammer home that you’re an individual who, if they get the job, will hit the ground running.
- Closing statement
Your final slide with content should sum up the whole presentation. Use it to convey your enthusiasm for the role and your keenness to join their organisation.
- The end slide
Like the title slide at the start, this final slide might be on screen for a while in the background while the employers talk to you. Use it to say thanks, but also to ask for any questions, which will undoubtedly come. Also, be sure to include your contact details somewhere on this slide, and maybe also another image of yourself.
The important thing to stress here is that the PowerPoint job interview presentation is not the most important thing. It should exists as a professional and engaging backdrop to what YOU are saying and how YOU are portraying yourself. Therefore the above structure guide should first and foremost be used to create a script.
Anyone used to giving a presentation will probably have their own way of creating a script; from bullet point memory aides, to full verbatim, word for word documents. For a job interview presentation we’d recommend the latter.
Getting absolutely everything out on paper will help you identify the important points to pull out and feature in the presentation deck. A script will also help you memorise what you need to say, and if you rehearse it enough (more on that below) you’ll feel more confident.
The PowerPoint deck
The job you’re interviewing for might be far removed from any creative industry, but the aesthetics of the slide deck are still hugely important. An accountancy hopeful might wonder why their PowerPoint design skills will be appraised by the interviewer, and although it will eventually have nothing to do with your role, it will have an impact on how you are perceived.
Carefully considered design shows just that: you’ve considered the presentation beyond the words on the screen. An engaging presentation will draw them in and contribute to the notion afterwards that you were impressive. That’ll help.
However, nailing a job interview presentation design is no walk in the park. If you’ve decided to tackle that extremely important task yourself, your future employer can unknowingly help. Look at their website for ideas of colours and fonts. If they see something in your presentation that they have already considered a decent design choice (as they most probably made that choice), you’ll win points.
Take into account the design of the site, too. Are they an organisation who favour clean white space with minimal text and images? If so, don’t copy it, but rather be inspired by it.
We’ve written many times about the importance of practising any presentation, and your job interview should be no exception. There could be a lot riding on it going well, which will understandably increase your nerves and apprehension.
There are many ways you can combat that fear. The most practical is to simply know your presentation inside out.
If you followed our recommendation to write out your script in its entirety, you’ll be able to learn your talk as if you’re remembering the lines to a play. That way you know that you are speaking in the clearest and most appropriate manner – unlike simply winging it and ad-libbing your way through your career history.
Stand up, rehearse out loud, and ask a friend or colleague to sit in on your practice sessions to offer advice and feedback. If you know someone who is already doing the kind of job you’re interviewing for, get them in to watch and pass judgement.
Back it up
Job interview presentations can be delivered in many ways. You might have been asked to bring your own laptop, or to email the PowerPoint file to them first. However you’re presenting, be sure to carry a backup copy with you, ideally on a flash drive.
Doing so will protect you against any kind of technical mishaps that might plague the original file (or your computer). But there is something else you can do with it.
Once your talk is over and you’ve answered their questions (and they’ve answered yours – always have some on stand by), offer them the drive. Tell them there is a copy of the presentation on there should they need to look over it. And obviously because both your contact details and a stunning photo of you is included, you’re making it easier for them to remember you and get in touch.
All that should help you deliver the best possible job interview presentation you can. Follow those tips and you’re sure to make an impact on those potential employers.
For help and support creating powerful and effective PowerPoint presentations, get in touch with us today.