It’s not unusual to be asked to give a presentation for an interview and you may also be asked to prepare PowerPoint slides and give a “PowerPoint Presentation” as part of your job interview.
Before proceeding, you need to establish what exactly you are being asked to do. Is it to do a presentation accompanied by PowerPoint slides, or is it to create a PowerPoint presentation so the interviewer can establish how proficient you are at using PowerPoint. If you do not know, contact the interviewer to find out which it is.
Giving a presentation with PowerPoint Slides for a Job Interview
Here is a simple checklist template that will help you give a good presentation:
- First identify the purpose of the presentation. Is it to share and interpret data? Are you presenting an idea? Are you proposing a controversial change?
- Kick off with a question: Why are we spending so much on materials? Would home-working increase productivity?
- Answer the question with around three or four supporting answers
- Use a quotation somewhere
- Include some statistics and where they come from
- Reference an industry resource
- Offer an argument against the question
- Shoot down the counterargument
- Restate key points
- Good last line – answer the question
For a presentation like this you don’t need a lot of slides and it is important to avoid ‘Death by PowerPoint’ by giving a presentation with endless slides and reading from them in a monotonous drone. Yawn!
Your audience can read faster than you can speak. So, if your slide lists five bullets, we have already got it before you have started speaking about number one.
If you must include slides with all the information, do not reveal the content until after you have presented them.
NEVER read from PowerPoint slides. The only time you refer to a slide is if it is data or an image and you are presenting an analysis of the slide content.
Read from notes—The more you practise, the less you will need them, but they are useful.
Presented at a measured pace by:
- Counting up to four to yourself before each new para
- Counting to two after each full-stop (unless there is a new para and see above)
- Highlighting the words on your notes that you want to stress.
You need to give your audience time for the words to sink in, so speak slightly slower than you think you should.
Whatever you prepare, make sure you can support it and have sources.
Creating a PowerPoint presentation
Interviewers may be requiring you to demonstrate your ability to create PowerPoint slides rather than being a great presenter. If this is the case—and you’ll know because you will have asked before preparing for the job interview presentation—you need to tastefully demonstrate you PowerPoint skills.
Include the following:
- Title Slide – try and make the title a question
- One type of transition from slide to slide, do not have more than one
- Consistent font styles
- A bulleted list that appears one bullet at a time
- A graph or chart
- An image
- An end slide that answers the question on the opening slide
Do not include long passages of text, summarise everything and keep it succinct. Remember that it is better to use an image than words.
And that’s it. If you take the advice here, you’ll be sure to give the best PowerPoint presentation for a job interview whether it is a presentation or preparation of a slide deck.