Your job interview presentation can make the difference between you and all of the other candidates that are walking in the door.
I remember hiring people when I led an advanced technology department, and many people looked great on paper. They all had the qualifications we were looking for, but we always conducted interviews and watched how the candidate presented themselves.
In fact, that’s the main part of the presentation that hiring managers are looking for — how the candidate present themselves as opposed to the material.
And those who do that the best are the ones that companies love to hire!
So, let’s say that you’re applying for a position, and you have to give a presentation during your job interview. What do I do?
Well, first of all, don’t sweat it! You are telling these people about you, and you’re the expert on you.
OK, onto the next part — the first and most important part of your job interview presentation is to know what you want to achieve as a result.
Now, before you start screaming, “I know what I want. I want the job!…” — that’s not what I’m talking about (but I completely understand…)
What I mean is that you know what you want your audience to get out of your presentation. Do you want them to think you’re a nice person? Do you want them to think that you’re smart? Do you want them to think you’re comfortable in your own skin (we’ll return to this one later…)?
Once you know what your desired outcome is, it sets the roadmap for putting your presentation together. Everything in your presentation – your title, your slides, your outline, etc. – is geared directly toward this desired response.
Second, if you have 10 minutes for your presentation, then you should have no more than 5-7 charts, including the title slide. You don’t have a lot of time, so focus on the important point of your presentation.
Good time management of your presentation is a reflection of your ability to manage your time in other, job-related matters. Your audience’s time is valuable, so honor that value by making sure your presentation stays within your time allotment.
Lastly, be confident. Now, what do I mean by being confident? Well, you want your audience to think that you are confident in your own skin — that you know who you are, know what you know, and also what you don’t know.
There are people who try to act confident, and when they get asked a question, they are so afraid that the audience will think that they aren’t up for the job that they try to make up an answer. For lack of a better word, they try to BS their way through the interview.
Whatever you do, don’t try to make things up on the fly and try to fool your audience into giving you a job this way. First of all, your audience isn’t dumb, and they can smell baloney when it’s put in front of them. Secondly, even if you get the job, you’ll get found out soon enough.
As Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” Don’t try to get your job this way…
If you get asked a question that you don’t understand, just say, “I don’t understand your question. Could you repeat it?” If you aren’t sure what the answer is, just say, “I don’t know the answer at this point.” Be honest, and confident about your honesty. People will respect this more than you know.
Once you know that you are giving a presentation for your job interview, take some deep breaths, take some time, and follow some simple steps. When you do this, you’ll be in a good state and ready to present yourself to your new employers.
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