So you’ve done the hard part, thousands applied (well maybe we’re exaggerating a little), they’ve whittled it down to the last few and you’re one of them! You’ve been invited to interview.
A job interview for a new graduate can be nerve-wracking anyway but when you’ve been asked to prepare a presentation, well that’s just down right terrifying. You’ve had plenty of practice throughout your university years but this is the real world now and your future depends on the success of it.
But never fear. Our team of presentation design experts have put together some pointers to ensure you wow the interviewers, whatever industry and role you’ve applied for.
- Say no to nerves!
You’re not alone in this. In fact, some surveys suggest that in the UK we’re more afraid of public speaking than anything else. Even spiders. Presentation anxiety affects us all and is perfectly natural, but it doesn’t need to get in the way of a convincing presentation and a successful interview.
If you tell yourself you’re nervous, then that will be reflected in your behaviour as you present. Instead, consciously focus on how excited you are to share your ideas with your prospective employer. This deliberate enthusiasm will come across as you present, making you a much more engaging speaker.
- What’s the story?
You’ve likely got 10-15 minutes’ tops to get your ideas across so you need to be succinct and impactful. Don’t bore them with lists of facts, instead your presentation should be a story with a beginning, middle and end.
Start with where your prospective employer is at present, then move onto the challenges and finally a solution that highlights you and the skills you will bring to the company. This way you end the presentation with a bright view of the future, with you in it. Every story needs a hero (that’s you, but you got that).
- Dress your slides for success
We’ve all heard the saying “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” That goes without saying. You might have spent the last couple of years working at Fifth but you’re not going to turn up to your graduate job interview in denim shorts, a bandana and beer stained Primark pumps.
Well the same goes for your slides. Endless bullet points and cheesy stock photos. Just no.
Your interviewer wants to watch you present not just read your slides so keep the text on there to a minimum. Your slides should be cues and visual aids to reinforce what you’re saying, not a speech. Use powerful imagery to emphasise your point and SUBTLE animation to help things flow along. Follow the core design principles of contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity. For more information read this post on the rules of PowerPoint design.
- Get the tone right
If you wouldn’t say it in normal conversation don’t say it here. Stay well clear of weird acronyms you’ve learnt and old school clichés. You need to build trust and credibility and you do that by speaking in a personal, conversational way. You’re not delivering a lecture.
- Question time
When reviewing your presentation try and think of questions your interviewers are going to ask and prepare roughly how you will answer them. Don’t leave questions to the end. You should encourage them to ask questions throughout. That way it turns into more of a conversation which will help build trust as mentioned in the previous point.
To sum up
Nerves are perfectly natural but try to remain calm and enjoy it. Follow these 5 tips and you’ll be well on your way to nailing the interview. Good luck!
by James Robinson
James is the Marketing Manager for Buffalo7, the UK’s leading PowerPoint presentation design agency. Buffalo7 have offices in Manchester and London and work with names including UEFA Champions League, Dell, Red Bull, Facebook and the BBC.