Tackling interview presentations
Asking candidates to deliver an interview presentation shows that your interviewer is looking for proof that you can do the job, that you have strong communication skills, are organised and diligent.
If you take time and effort to prepare a presentation that showcases these skills, you will clearly demonstrate to your potential employer a commitment to the process and enthusiasm for the role.
Remember to double-check the brief before looking at the business objectives of the company and tailor your approach according to the skills required and the company information you have to hand.
The interviewer will want to see evidence during your presentation that you are conscientious in the way you approach tasks and that you have a high attention to detail.
Will you be using your device or one of your potential employers’? Make sure you ascertain this beforehand and know how to use this device. Ask someone to have checked your slide deck (if using one) beforehand to ensure everything works.
‘Interviews can already make you feel quite nervous, but when you are asked to also give a presentation, you can feel even more apprehensive,’ says James Brent, senior business director, Hays Accountancy & Finance. ‘Preparing to answer some tricky questions is par for the course, but presentations are a less familiar territory for most people.
‘At the moment, this could be either presentation in person or via video conference. Both are equally as nerve-racking so don’t be complacent if yours is over video. It is important to establish this skill sooner rather than later as recruiters are now building this interview technique for candidates trying to progress upwards within their career.
‘If you have received your brief for your presentation, ensure you are clear on what is being asked of you from the presentation and how it relates to the role.’
Presenting clearly and in an engaging way is essential, as your interviewer will be assessing your communication skills throughout your interview presentation.
Avoid spending the whole presentation reading from a piece of paper or your slides, and allow yourself to make eye contact and power pose your way through the interview. Recap the key points from each slide and then talk in more detail, keeping the amount of time you have in mind. Practising beforehand enables you to speak more naturally and fluently, but bring cue cards with prompts just in case.
Brent adds: ‘Before your interview, it is recommended to run through your presentation in front of someone else who can provide feedback. Failing that, try recording yourself or simply delivering it in front of a mirror.
‘Judge yourself honestly on confident communication; speaking pace, tone and body language are all important. Critically assess how long it takes you to deliver each point so that you do not over-run. This may cause you to miss out on key points, impacting the quality of your presentation.’
This article was first published in Student Accountant in April 2021