How to ace an interview presentation

13 Oct 2016


These days, when you’re invited for an interview it’s increasingly likely that you’ll be asked to prepare a presentation. And the chances are even higher, if the role you’re applying for is client facing. Employers want to see how you come across and how well you can communicate, in front of a room full of strangers.


If you’re not used to giving presentations it’s natural to feel some nervousness, if not full blown anxiety, about the prospect of presenting during your interview, but don’t let it put you off. If you’re prepared and practised, you should be able to deliver a memorable and engaging presentation with ease.


So to help you ace your next job interview and bag that dream job, we’ve put together some useful tips on how to deliver a winning presentation.


Traditional vs modern approaches to presentation


When you’re given the task of preparing and delivering a presentation, it’s tempting to jump straight into it. However, you should take a moment to think about what you’ve been asked to do.


You’ve probably suffered the misfortune of sitting through a dull presentation where the speaker droned on and on until your eyelids became heavy. This would be the worst kind of presentation to deliver at a job interview. Your potential employer is looking for someone who’s dynamic and entertaining. Think of a TED talk you enjoyed – did the presenter speak in a monotone voice and endlessly flick through text heavy slides?


The answer is almost certainly no. The reason? Dull, unengaging presenters don’t usually get to do TED talks.


So how can you ensure you deliver a world-class presentation and avoid sending everyone to sleep? Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule that will ensure your presentation gets you the job. However, if you can create and deliver an interactive and engaging presentation, you’ll be on the right track. 


The best way to ensure your presentation is attention-grabbing is to use software tools that allow you to do more than list facts and figures.


Which software is best for presentations?


Before you begin writing your presentation in full, it’s a good idea to jot down some rough ideas. A good way to do this is with the OneNote app. Once you’ve collected your thoughts you should have a better idea of where you’re headed.


The next thing to do is fire up PowerPoint. If you’ve never used it, you’ll find it’s pretty intuitive and easy to get to grips with. If you’re used to using PowerPoint and you’re looking for that edge to give your presentation some wow factor, Zoom lets you jump to different slides or sections of your presentation on the fly to give you more freedom as you present.


Make sure your presentation looks the part


If you’re struggling to make your slides look the way you want them to, PowerPoint Designer is a new service that can help. However, if you’re not comfortable designing your slides yourself or you want to concentrate on the substance rather than the aesthetic of your slides, you should check out Sway.


As well as taking over the design element for you, Sway also sorts out all the formatting too, so you don’t have to spend ages tweaking your slides to get them just right. What’s more, Sway can help you bring your story to life with videos, images, tweets and interactive content. If you’re going for a marketing job, Sway is the perfect way to show you’re digitally savvy and have your finger on the pulse of new storytelling methods.   


Don’t take any chances


Once your presentation is complete, it’s a good idea to store it in the cloud rather than relying solely on a USB stick. Upload it to OneDrive and you can relax knowing there’s a backup should anything happen to your flash drive.


When you’re looking for a new job, make sure you’re mindful of the content you post on your personal social media accounts. Prospective employers will almost certainly check out your online presence to see what kind of person you are outside of the office.


If you present yourself poorly, it can create a negative impression and dampen your chances of making it to the interview stage. So before you even send off your CV, take a quick scan over your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts to see if there’s anything that could offend, or show you in a bad light to a prospective employer.


If you’ve been asked to give a presentation at your next interview, make sure you check out the complete range of Microsoft Office software to help you plan, prepare and create it. 


Or if you’re looking for more ways to get ahead in your job hunt, check out our handy set of Microsoft Office templates. Packed with CV and cover letter templates for a range of different industries, our Office documents can boost your chances of bagging that dream job.