How To Build An Interview Presentation [Video]

Andrew Betson, Director of Production Operations & IT at Swrve, share his tips on how you can build the perfect presentation for an interview process.

What Is An Interview Presentation?

To get the most from doing a presentation, it is important to understand why you are being asked to give a talk. Those responsible for hiring have many tools available to them to see if you are the right fit for the job. A presentation can give them great insights into the type of worker you are.

At Swrve, the interview presentation is the culmination of the entire hiring workflow. Over the past 6 years or so, Swrve has hired approximately 30 engineers and about the same number in a variety of other roles. Every single one of those people had to do a short 5 to 10-minute presentation.

The normal format of these days is that an interviewee is brought in to learn all about the company and the role. The very last thing they do that day is a presentation to everyone in the office.

While the talk is not the only factor that decides who lands the job, you have to remember that it will be your last opportunity to make an impression. It will be the thing that you are most remembered for.

Andrew Betson explains,

‘’We want to give people the opportunity to show themselves, show their skill set and show their achievements. Ultimately, we want to see if people can communicate in a business environment; that they can take a topic and communicate the important pieces of it to the team. It’s important that one can get the information across and paint a picture for people. 

It’s not about being the most confident person or have the flashiest interview presentation. It’s just an opportunity, as an individual, to have everyone’s attention and communicate those important points.

How Does An Interview Presentation Work?

At Swrve, they tend to give them guidelines before ever stepping through the door. For example, if it’s an engineering job, they will try and keep it relevant to the role. It’s preferably about something they worked on, a technology they’ve worked with or a project they have done. This is as much about seeing if you can follow a brief as it is to test how well you know a topic.  

If you pick a technology that you like but may not have worked with, this can leave you open to questions that you cannot answer.

A limit of 5 to 10 minutes is set. The team at Swrve want people to get in and give a concise message. Anybody that’s in the office on the day is invited to attend and watch it. It’s an open floor and it’s open to questions from everyone. Remember, if you cannot explain a complex idea in a sentence or two then you don’t really understand it.

What Are The Dos And Don’ts For Any Presentation?

If you are given a presentation to do, you have to take it seriously. It’s very important to be prepared and you shouldn’t do the presentation off the cuff. It doesn’t matter how good you are in terms of presenting or how much knowledge you have if you are not prepared it just shows a lack of organisation.

If you’re told that the talk is to be 5 to 10 minutes, you need to create slides and have them with you. You need to have practised it and timed it just to make sure that you are meeting the brief of the task you’ve been given.

You need to be careful not to have too many slides. People are not there to look at 100 slides in 10 minutes. It’s normally one slide for every 1 to 2 minutes depending on the topic.

The slides are not there for the audience to sit and read every word or for you to read from it. You should never really read your own presentation and you should never expect your audience to read reams of a presentation either. 

Focus on the highlights with bullet points and use these points to help you talk about the topic. More importantly, use diagrams to illustrate your message and demonstrate what you’re trying to get across. Slides are an aid to your presentation, it’s not your presentation. It’s a classic mistake to just read bullet points or longer pieces of text from the slides.

What You Can Achieve.

An interview presentation is an opportunity to have people’s undivided attention. It an opportunity to sell yourself so you should be looking to show off your achievements. Even if it’s a simple project you did at home, you are still showing off your home learning, the fact that you started a project, planned it and executed it. Show the summary of your learnings.

You want to show off your ability to research a problem and come up with a solution. The goal should be to demonstrate that not only can you make decisions but also show why you made those decisions. Maybe why you didn’t go in another direction.

The presentation is going to be the last thing that you do on that day and it’s going to be the lasting memory.

Make the effort and show that you’ve made the effort.

Key Points For Any Interview Presentation:

  • Opportunity to sell yourself. Don’t waste it.
  • Follow the brief.
  • Talk about a topic you actually understand, not just like.
  • Stick to the time limit.
  • Have one slide for every 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Use bullet points to show highlights only.
  • Don’t read from the slides and don’t expect the audience to read lots either.
  • Use diagrams where possible to demonstrate a point or clarify a topic.
  • Show what you achieved, not what you did.
  • Make a lasting impression.

Check out Swrve to learn more about what they do.

If you have any questions, we are always happy to help. Just drop us a line at garry@stelfox.com

Want to learn more? Check out these FREE resources to get yourself interview ready.

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