Further to your application for the above post, I am pleased to advise you that we would like to progress you to the next stage. I am therefore now writing to invite you to attend for interview on X Y Z. Please report to reception at Head Office. Your formal interview will commence at 14:00 hours.
Great news, you are delighted. You read on..
As a part of the selection process you will be required to prepare and deliver a presentation on BLAH, followed by a 10 minute discussion with the interview panel.
What are your thoughts? If this fills you with fear and dread you are not the only one. Try these top tips to help overcome nerves and give your best performance.
- Break down the title of the presentation.
Generally, employers will give you a broad title to allow candidates to demonstrate their own area of expertise. Remember, potential employees could be coming from different sectors. Think about how the presentation title relates to your experience and the duties and responsibilities of the position you have applied for. Ask yourself – what are they really asking?
- This is not an hour lecture
If you are tempted to push your presentation time to the limit – don’t. If the suggested time is 10 minutes aim for 8. The panel will appreciate your ability to keep to time. If you are the last candidate of the morning you really don’t want to be the one keeping the panel from their lunch. Have a structure and keep to it. I recommend a simple Beginning – Middle – End structure. End confidently, with 2 or 3 memorable points or take home messages.
- Ask yourself – do you need to use PowerPoint?
Think about the purpose of your presentation. If you just want to demonstrate that you can write lots on a slide then why not consider writing a supporting paper to leave with the panel at the end of the interview instead. There are lots of website, youtube videos and blogs on utilising PowerPoint, my favourite is Death by PowerPoint. My top tip is, if you are going to use PowerPoint, slides are for headlines, pictures and key phrases. Anything more and your slides distract from you.
- Make sure your presentation is a presentation of YOU
The presentation is an opportunity for the interview panel to assess your presenting abilities in front of an audience. This gives them the chance to see how you come across to potential stakeholders, clients or customers. Make sure your presentation is representative of your style. Use your usual style, Whether it’s using a metaphor to explain a problem, pictures to give impact or Prezi rather than PowerPoint, then give the panel a flavour of this in the interview. This isn’t the time to change your delivery style. If they like it then you will be a good fit. If they hate it, then perhaps they weren’t the organisation for you.
When you smile – the whole world smiles with you. The same is true for smiling in an interview. Your interview panel will smile back. A smile helps keep you calm, it induces all the right endorphins to help with confidence, posture and general wellbeing. Research shows that just the physical act of smiling to yourself for 10 minutes triggers these organic processes.
Although I have listed this last, it really is the most important. Practise your presentation OUT LOUD. Preferably in front of an audience. LOTS. From the beginning to the end – even if you go wrong. If you don’t have an audience, everyone has a camera on their phone. Film yourself giving your presentation. Do you have a nervous twitch? Do you fiddle with your hair? Do you start off strong and tail off ending with a weak thank you? The more you practise the easier it gets. If you have a habit of twiddling with your watch, take it off and put it on the desk before your presentation. Your interview panel will think it’s about keeping to time and you won’t distract them with your nervous tell. Don’t sabotage your presentation with poor body language. Stand tall, breathe and look your panel in the eye.