With the changing, digitalizing, and socializing world companies seek employees with good communication and social skills. It’s often more important than the number of technical skills of an employee because technical skills can always be improved. Still, the number one thing corporates ask to challenge the social communication skills of employees is to give a presentation. This article will be introducing some tips to ace a job interview presentation.
Interview Presentation Checklist
Before preparing a presentation for a job interview let’s go over what are the things your HR specialist or audience will be keeping an eye on during your presentation. Remember the whole idea of asking for a presentation is to evaluate your professional and communication skills. Here are some skills they will evaluate:
- Communication Skills: Are you verbal or are you reading fully?
- Ability to Engage: Are you an outgoing person and can you entertain your audience when you need to?
- Your sector knowledge: Are you confident while talking technical details?
- Ability to understand a task: Did you understand what kind of a presentation you should do and did you go off-topic frequently?
- Stress Management: How do you perform under stress?
- Creativity: Can you get creative and make reference to your knowledge when you are unprepared for a question?
Some companies ask for a technical presentation and some give freedom to the candidates to get creative. This often brings a lot of anxiety and pressure to those who are not so experienced in giving presentations or for the fresh graduates. Before picking your topic reach out to the HR specialist and ask who will listen to the presentation in order to set the content. If the audience doesn’t specialize on the topic this might be a boring and tense 15 minutes. Here are some suggestions:
- Talk about one of your projects
- New technology on your niche
- A process you helped to improve
Ice Breaker Self Introduction
Before starting the presentation you should introduce yourself. That’s a cliche but a very valid cliche. Start by introducing yourself, major, accomplishments, and a few of the high points of your life but always make sure to smile and make a funny point. For example, a sentence like “I graduated from Standford with two majors but my favorite accomplishment is that I have finally given my dog a potty training”. Starting a technical and stressful presentation with such an ice-breaker will soften your mood too.
Don’t forget that they already have your resume and you don’t have to re-read them. It will be boring. Instead of talking about all of your projects or accomplishments mention one big.
Tell a Compelling Story
The one who can tell a good story is always the one who makes the impact. To stand out and be remembered make sure to learn about storytelling. Don’t tell a story about fairytales absolutely but starting with a past experience or stating a problem with your life experience is a perfect way to engage with your audience. For example, if you’re presenting a developing project you recently finished you can start with “During my college years I craved for a good sandwich during finals week. After midnight cafes on the campus were off and I couldn’t find a friend who has ingredients I like. So I decided on a social platform for sandwich lovers in the dorm.”
Use 80/20 Engagement Rule
This rule is a safe rule. Yes, being interactiıve and funny is important however they did not ask for a comedian. It’s important to keep the energy high but also it’s more important to prove you are the right candidate. So make sure 20% of the time ask questions, make a funny joke and engage. Prepare aids slides for more detailed questions. Learn your topic from bottom to top and take slide notes during practicing. Ask your friends to listen to your presentation and ask dummy questions to be prepared for every possible question.
Use Simple Slides
Simplicity or minimalism is not only a lifestyle trend. It’s also a tool to bring attention to you and make your story straight forward. Remember that this is a one-shot presentation where you should be the one that will take attention not the content inside or the design. Make sure to use a consistent layout with consistent colors. Try no design tools like Decktopus while preparing your slides to reduce time loss and to use ready to go templates.
Practice to Make Your Delivery Perfect
There are a few elements of a presentation delivery where the specialist will look for. Here are general rules of thumb every presenter should know, if not it’s a bad sign.
- Voice: You don’t need to be loud but make sure you are not a shy candidate. Use your voice wisely to appear more confident. Use a high-low and a fast-slow voice when you are trying to make a point.
- Eyes: Always make eye contact and never turn your back on the audience. It shows confidence.
- Smile: Smiling aids you to appear positive throughout the presentation.
- Body Language: Moving too much gives away your stress. Instead of walking and swinging have a pointer or a pen on your hand and use it to mess around when you are stressed out.
Don’t overdo the design of the presentation but make sure it’s not messy. Use a professional font throughout the presentation and use professional color palettes. Graphs and professional photos stand out but avoid videos and animations that might work slowly and add extra pressure on you. Use quotes and references to give a small break in your presentation and impress the audience. To impress quotes always a good choice. Thanks to all of those visual aids are available in tools like Decktopus so you don’t lose time and effort while preparing.
How To Nail Online Job Interviews?
Since the start of the pandemic, a great number of job interviews have moved from face-to-face to an online format. While most of the tips we offer in this post are relevant both for offline and online presentations, there are some additional aspects to consider in the case of remote interviews. These are tips from Maris Tepers – the CEO of IT recruitment agency MateHR.
#1 Test software and equipment before the interview
Many online meetings get off to a bad start due to trivial technological hurdles. To avoid that, make sure you are 100% familiar with the apps and equipment you’ll be using during your presentation. This is especially important if you are interviewing for a technical position – you don’t want to appear as a novice in anything tech.
It’s not enough to check if your camera and audio are working on another app – make sure you make a test call with someone using the exact same video conferencing software where the interview will take place.
Here’s a checklist of what should be tested before your presentation:
- Your internet connection (have a backup plan, e.g. your smartphone’s hotspot in case there’s an interruption)
- Your webcam and microphone
- The process of sharing your screen
- How your presentation looks on the particular video conferencing app
- Make sure your device is fully charged
NB! If you aren’t sure about what platform will be used for the video interview, feel free to ask for this information from your interviewer or the recruitment agency you’re working with.
#2 Set up the space around you
We all know it’s important to dress well and look representable when you’re doing a job interview presentation. However, in the case of online interviews, one can forget that not only your looks but also the space around you adds to the impression about you as a person and a potential employee.
Some tips to consider for making the environment around you look professional and pleasant:
- Good lighting: natural light is the best option, but avoid having a window behind your back.
- A neutral background: it’s great when the background isn’t simply plain white, but has some inconspicuous elements, e.g., a bookshelf (an orderly one), house plants, a painting, etc.).
- No intruders: if there are other people around, ask them not to enter the shot during your presentation. If they absolutely have to, make sure they cross quickly and are also dressed in a presentable way.
- No background noise: if you can, choose to do the presentation from a quiet place where you can control all ambient noises.
#3 Pay more attention to pauses and confirmation sounds
Overall, you should try to act as naturally as possible during online interviews – just like you would face-to-face. For example, always show that you are engaged – smile, nod, and maintain eye contact. Don’t forget to look directly into the web camera, instead of your screen, which is especially important if your setup has several screens.
However, remote communication has a slight delay which should be taken into account. Interaction with your audience won’t happen just as naturally and smoothly as it would in a real-life setting where people see each other’s facial expressions, body language, and can add a quick ice-breaker phrase to the conversation.
Make slightly longer pauses after each slide or topic of your presentation – in case someone wants to ask or add something. Add small confirmational and transitional words and phrases to make your presentation more engaging. It’s also a good idea to ask if anyone has any questions once in a while. In addition, make sure that your gestures and body language are well visible on the camera.
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