It is extremely common to be asked to prepare a presentation particularly for the second stage of an assessment process. Typically this will be closely related to the job you will be doing if you are successful. Usually you are given the topic in advance but sometimes you will get the brief on the day with preparation time. Where you are given it on the day it is as much about how you cope with working under time pressure and being put on the spot as the presentation. However whichever type you get – many of these tips will apply.
Really common subjects include
- How would you approach the first 3 months in the role?
- What makes a great Account Manager (or BDM etc)?
- We are a potential new customer and this is your first full meeting with us – how would you approach /manage the session (sometimes done as a role play)?
- A SWOT analysis after a specified mystery shop
- Make sure you are answering the question. Put the question on the first page and refer back to it regularly. Common feedback “is great presentation but didn’t answer the question”.
- If you have the brief in advance – get someone you trust to proof read the document. Spelling and grammar mistakes will distract the interviewer and count against you before you start. It will also distract you if you suddenly notice a typo mid flow!
I have seen the company name spelt wrong on page 1 and then again wrong differently on page 2! Really common mistakes include summary misspelt as sumary, their, there and they’re incorrectly used, principal and principle used the wrong way round and almost any other typo you can think of.
- Clear and uncomplicated. Consistency in font size and colour. Don’t over crowd your slides.
- Look at including the client logo and using corporate colours.
- Make it professional – this is not the place for quirky and amusing!
- This process is as much about the delivery as it is about the content. Be confident, engage with the audience, make good eye contact and make sure you are just not reading your slides.
- Do practice out loud in advance – especially if you don’t currently present regularly.
- Typically 5 – 10 minutes but can be longer. Stick to what is specified by the client and always better to be slightly under than over. When your presentation is prepared – practice running through it at the pace you plan to deliver it. Some interviewers will simply stop you at the specified time. Others will let you continue until you stop naturally but if you run over and especially if you bore them – it will count against you!
- Typically PowerPoint but some clients will say use what you are most comfortable with. You may be asked to email it to them in advance or take it on a memory stick or your own laptop. Always worth taking the relevant number of copies as a print out in case of technical failure. We always recommend emailing a copy to us too – so we will have a backup copy we can email to the client if all else fails.
We are always here to help and support you and while we won’t give detailed feedback on the content of a presentation, will happily proof read it and if asked will feedback on look and feel. You can bounce ideas off us and talk through your thoughts. We support candidates giving presentations every week and listen to our clients’ feedback – so are well versed in the common pitfalls as well as the right approach to impress the interviewers.