How to Prepare a PowerPoint Presentation for a Job Interview

by Heidi Cardenas

    The modern job market is competitive, and employers want to hire the best candidates. There are many selection methods employers can use during recruiting, including asking candidates to give presentations with a Powerpoint slideshow. A candidate presentation lets the employer evaluate public speaking skills, confidence and communications abilities. The most effective Powerpoint presentation for a job interview is positive, structured, rehearsed and refined with feedback.

    Stay Positive

    When you are interviewing for a job and have to prepare a presentation, make sure all of your content is positive. Avoid focusing on negative aspects of your subject. For example, if you are asked to give a presentation about why you want to work for Acme Widget Corporation, focus on your career preparation and what you could do for the company, your admiration of senior management, and what you know about the industry and the products. Don’t include any discussion of bad press the company has received or any controversies, any negatives in the industry or how the competition stole Acme's biggest customer.

    Structure

    Structure your job interview presentation so your message and information are organized and easily understood. An effective structure includes an interesting and entertaining -- but professional -- introduction. The body of the presentation should focus on three key points, and you need a dynamic conclusion that summarizes what you said, why you said it, and thanks the audience. Create a dynamic introduction that conveys who you are, the topic of your presentation and what you are trying to achieve. Focus on three main points you want to make in your presentation to keep your message clear and uncluttered. Conclude with a brief summary of your topic, a warm thank-you, and include a call to action asking for the job.

    Rehearse

    Rehearse your presentation with the Powerpoint slideshow until you are totally comfortable with the material. Memorize your content, if possible, so your presentation is smooth and confident. Avoid reading from notes, pay attention to timing, and stay professional.

    Get Feedback

    Give your presentation to a few people such as friends, associates or a job coach to get feedback. Use their comments, critiques and suggestions to further refine your presentation. If they point out anything important that you might have missed, make those changes.

    Prepare a Backup

    Prepare a backup of your presentation in case you have technical difficulties. For example, if the employer asks you to send your Powerpoint file before the interview, also put it on a flash drive to bring with you in case something goes wrong with the first file. It’s a good idea to be able to present without your Powerpoint slideshow, as well.

    References

    • Knockout Job Interview Presentations; Martin Yate
    • Active Interviewing; Branding, Selling, and Presenting Yourself to Win Your Next Job; Eric Kramer

    About the Author

    Heidi Cardenas specializes in human resources, business and personal finance, small-business advice, home and garden and home improvement. Her professional background includes human resources and business administration, technical writing and corporate communications. She has studied horticulture and business administration, and enjoys guest blogging for publications including Herb Companion Magazine, Natural Home Living Magazine, and Mother Earth Living.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images