How to prepare for your interview presentation

There are job interviews that include a second round where you are asked to make a presentation. This gives an opportunity for the employer to assess the abilities and skills of a candidate. Conducting a presentation, on the other hand, reflects on your knowledge, articulation, confidence, and public speaking skills. It also shows if you can remain calm under pressure.

A well-structured and delivered presentation can help you shine in an interview and  secure that dream job.

Read on to learn these important interview presentation tips.

1. Your topic and your audience

When you are asked to give a presentation for an interview, you can ask the hiring manager for more important details to guide you on, such as the amount of time you will have, what devices or technology you can have access to, and most importantly: who you are presenting to. It is essential to have absolute clarity over the topic, and in knowing the level of expertise and knowledge of your audience. Your content will be different for your colleagues, the bosses, or the potential clients of the company. Having clarity over these factors will help you decide how you’d pitch your presentation and tone yourself.

2. Interview preparation

Once you have decided on the key message and purpose of your presentation, start building a structure for the narrative. A clear structure will help you to stay on track and also help your audience to follow you. The components of a well-structured presentation are to have a compelling introduction, a body of arguments, and a brief but easy-to-remember conclusion.

Use your presentation skills as an opportunity to impress your audience. Don’t be afraid to showcase some relevant skills you have — offer ideas and innovative insights on how you would handle the project for the organization. The key is to connect your experience with the topic to make it engaging.

3. Have backups

No matter how exceptionally good you are at public speaking, you still need the aid of softwares like PowerPoint to help you execute a good presentation. It is advisable to make the presentation more engaging, so highlight the key points in every slide and build on them.

Use graphics- videos, images, statistics, charts etc. to make your presentation more visually informative — remember that you need to capture the audience’s attention in a small amount of time. The idea is to treat these slides like a sign and follow them to reach the destination with ease.

You can also offer handouts to the members to help them stay on track and advise them to ask questions for concerns that may arise during the presentation. In these handouts, write only what you want your audience to remember.

4. Practise several times

Once you have organized and written your presentation, just keep on rehearsing. Ask for help from other people (family, friends etc.) and practise in front of them. Ask them for feedback and encourage them to ask questions to avoid room for errors. Incorporate those feedback and make the necessary edits for the final version of your presentation.

If you are on your own, try recording yourself on camera as you practise. You will be able to watch your body language and notice observable signs of nervousness like fidgeting, frowning, and using repetitive language like “um,” “like,” “and,” among many others. Make sure to work on them before the presentation day. The point of practising is not memorizing a job interview presentation but becoming familiar with it. Practise so that you don’t have to look at your notes constantly, and be comfortable with interruptions – like questions asked or comments made by your audience.

Familiarize yourself on how to use the projector, the visual screen, and remote control beforehand. This will help in avoiding awkward pauses during the presentation. Practising will also help you stick to the allotted time. Time yourself while practising, and know where to add more or cut out.

5. Focus on the right delivery

Remember the basics, like dressing professionally, smiling, looking enthusiastic. Speak clearly and establish eye contact with the audience to draw and engage them, and try using open body language to look approachable. Body language is crucial. If you are nervous, or too comfortable, it will show.

Stand instead of sitting while presenting. Instead of standing behind a podium or a desk, come to the front and get closer to the people. Let them see the one who is making the presentation because after all, it is your interview and they want to learn about you and your skills.

As part of our world-class career services, Toronto School of Management (TSoM) offers support to its students in being the best professional they could be, especially during critical moments like preparing for interviews. The institute offers co-op programs that take a hands-on learning approach and help you prepare through all the steps — coursework, preparation for jobs, to work placement. The co-op module ensures students to have relevant industry-specific skills before joining the workforce.