10 Tips to Ace Your PPT Interview

10 Tips to Ace Your PPT Interview

What Is an Interview Presentation?

Over recent years, it has become increasingly common practice for potential employers to request candidates to present some type of presentation as part of the interview process.

This may be a presentation on a specific subject that is given by the recruiter.

Alternatively, candidates can be asked to prepare for a ‘blind’ presentation, which means they won’t be informed of their topic until the day of their interview.

Presentations are a useful way for potential employers to assess a variety of skills.

They can be used to identify strengths relating to the specific role you are applying for and inform employers of any potential weaknesses.

They will be able to consider how well you can combine verbal communication skills alongside other skills, such as how well you are able to engage with your audience and your ability to understand and interpret a brief.

Why a PowerPoint Interview Presentation?

Some companies may request that interview candidates deliver their presentations using PowerPoint.

This enables them to consider additional skills alongside those shown in a typical verbal presentation.

Typically, they will be looking at how well you are able to use the technology to deliver a visually engaging presentation that is informative and memorable.

Other reasons for a company to request a PowerPoint presentation include:

It’s a Well-known Software Option

PowerPoint has been used to create presentations in schools and workplaces for decades.

Most of us will have come across it at some point, and the majority of us will have had to create a presentation using PowerPoint at some stage of our lives.

For individuals who are less familiar, there are also plenty of tutorials and videos on the internet which teach how to build presentations from the simplest options to the most technologically advanced.

All of this makes it an accessible option for most people as even entry-level individuals should be able to put together a basic presentation.

It's Compatible With Other Office Software Options

Even if you don’t have Microsoft PowerPoint yourself, the software is usually compatible with other options.

This means that you should be able to save your presentation in a format, so you will be able to use it within Microsoft software.

Note: If you are doing this, then you should always double-check that the features of your presentation work properly with the new software before beginning your presentation, as some features may not translate across properly.

Will You Need To Use These Skills in the Role You Have Applied For?

Many office-based jobs will require employees to hold skills such as proficiency in PowerPoint. This is because there may be times when they are required to provide presentations during their career.

When an employer asks for presentations to be given, they are usually looking to test two things:

  • How well you are able to give a presentation
  • How well you are able to use the technology

If the role you have applied for is one which is likely to require Powerpoint usage in the future, then you will want to make sure that your presentation is as good as it possibly can be.

This is to highlight the experience that you have with the software as well as your presentation-giving abilities.

10 PowerPoint Presentation Tips

Research the Company and Role

This is good advice for any interview process, whether you are required to submit a presentation or not.

You should always research the company you are applying to work for and the role you are hoping to be given.

This will give you valuable insight regarding the values of the company and the type of responsibilities that you are likely to have while they employ you.

It can also help to guide the way that you put together your presentation, tailoring it more specifically for the role and the individual company.

You may also be able to include slogans or values from your potential employer so that the presentation is geared more towards their approach to business.

Make Sure You Understand the Brief

It can be tempting to give the brief a quick read before getting started on your presentation, especially if it is a blind presentation and you have very limited time before your interview.

However, it is vital to read through the brief thoroughly and make sure that you completely understand what is needed from you during your presentation.

Companies will often place keywords and facts within the brief, which should be noted and referenced during your presentation. It may also give you information regarding any time limits you need to adhere to.

Failing to thoroughly read the brief can lead to mistakes that could have been easily avoided.

Decide on Your Key Messages

Use your brief to help you decide what the key message should be for your presentation.

Are you hoping to instill a call-to-action that requires your audience to react in some way? What information do you want the audience to take away with them?

Once you have decided this, you can start creating your presentation around the messages which you want to portray.

Edit Your Text to the Minimum Effective Amount

Nobody wants to look at PowerPoint slides that are full of text and difficult to read.

Ideally, you should reduce each slide to a series of short bullet points or sentences. This will enable your audience to understand the points that you are making without a lot of effort.

Be careful, though – it can be tempting to narrow the text down too far. You need to make sure that your points are still easy to understand.

10 Tips to Ace Your PPT Interview
10 Tips to Ace Your PPT Interview

Keep the Aesthetic Clear

Choose an aesthetic and stick to it.

It might be tempting to use a different color palette with each sheet of your PowerPoint. Perhaps you think that it will make each point stand out more. But, in reality, this can look rather unprofessional.

Once you have chosen your aesthetic, you should make sure that you use this the whole way through your presentation. This helps to give it a cohesive look, which looks more thought-out and less rushed.

Email Your Presentation and Keep It on a USB Stick

You can never be too cautious, and it would be a disaster if something happened on the day of your interview which meant that your USB didn’t work properly.

You should always have a backup copy of your presentation. This is why it’s a good idea to send it to yourself via email, as well as keep a copy on your USB.

Practice Giving Your Presentation With a Timer

Many presentations will be timed. Even if it isn’t timed, it’s a good idea to try and complete your presentation within about ten minutes.

This means that you are able to leave time for questions afterward and reduce the risk of losing the attention of your audience.

To ensure that you are able to complete your presentation within a time limit, it’s a good idea to practice it with a timer.

This can help you see any areas that may need to be shortened. It can also help you to see if your presentation is too short and needs additional input.

Practice Presenting in Front of Family and Friends

It can be nerve-wracking to give a presentation in front of an audience, especially if you aren’t used to public speaking.

Asking family members and friends to stand in for your audience can help to build your confidence before you have to present your PowerPoint for real.

Presenting in front of friends and family members can also be a useful tool for streamlining and polishing your PowerPoint.

They will be able to give you feedback regarding anything they didn’t understand, the areas they thought worked particularly well and anything that could be improved.

Arrive Early

It’s a good idea to arrive early for an interview. This shows that you are keen and able to be punctual. But, when it comes to giving a presentation, it’s even more important to arrive early.

Being early for your presentation will give you an opportunity to set up your PowerPoint in the room that you will be presenting in. It will also give you an opportunity to become familiar with the exact technology that you will be using.

There may be a projector that you are unfamiliar with, so learning how it works will enable you to provide a smoother presentation experience.

Being early will also allow you a chance to run through your presentation and your notes. This will ensure that you know what needs to be said at each moment and ensure that you feel confident about your bullet points or script.

Exercise To Help Reduce Nerves

If you are someone who suffers from interview-related anxiety, then it can be a good idea to take time for exercise.

This can help lower your stress levels and release endorphins, meaning that you can feel more confident before attending your interview.

You don’t have to choose a particularly exertive form of exercise for it to be effective.

Many people find that activities such as yoga help them to achieve the same level of relaxation as they would from running.

10 Minute Presentation Template

When considering how to put your presentation together, there are a few things to consider.

Many PowerPoint presentations will follow a similar template, with sections added or taken out as required.

Introduction

In your introduction, you should highlight what you aim to achieve with your presentation, as well as the key points you plan on making.

About You

This section may not always be required and can sometimes be included in your introduction.

Talk about any specialist skills that you have which relate to the role you are applying for, as well as any experience or knowledge you have which would be relevant.

About the Company

Use this section to highlight areas where your visions and objectives correlate well with those of the company you are applying for.

Answer the Brief

This should take up the bulk of your presentation time. You should make sure to answer the objective of the brief in a clear and concise manner.

Conclusion

Finish your presentation by summarizing your key points and forming a conclusion that brings your thoughts together in an easy-to-understand way.

Questions

It’s a good idea to leave time for the interviewers to ask questions. This will enable them to evaluate your understanding of the materials included within your presentation.

Frequently Asked Questions

PowerPoint offers a software choice that is relatively easy to use and combines a number of different features to create a professional-looking presentation even if you aren’t the most technologically-minded individual. It is also usually transferable across different platforms.

This is what makes it such a good choice for those looking to create a visual presentation for their interviews.

There are a number of alternative software options if you don’t want to use PowerPoint for your presentation, such as Keynote, Google Slides and Prezi.

However, you should always check whether your potential employer has specified PowerPoint as the designated software option for your interview.

If the employer specifically states to use PowerPoint, then this is the best software to use. Otherwise, you won’t be fulfilling the brief.

It depends on which form of PowerPoint you are using, but it’s possible to build a presentation for free.

It can be expensive to take out a Microsoft Office subscription, especially if you are not likely to need to use it very often.

Luckily, there are options that mean you can access Microsoft PowerPoint for free.

If you have a Microsoft account, you can use the web version of PowerPoint. It is free to sign up to Microsoft online, and you will automatically have access to all of the online office suites.

This will enable you to create presentations and save them on your OneDrive. You can also download them onto USB sticks or email them to yourself or others.

Final Thoughts

There are a number of reasons why a potential employer may ask for you to provide a PowerPoint presentation as part of your interview.

With more and more employers requesting presentations, it is likely that this will be something you face during the recruitment process at some point in your career.

When you are asked to create a PowerPoint presentation, the most important thing you can do is be sure that you understand the brief. Failing to do this will lead to potentially disastrous mistakes which could have been avoided.

Remember, if you lack confidence in building PowerPoint presentations, then it is best to keep things as simple as possible.

The bells and whistles might be nice and can be used to show off, but a clear, concise message is more likely to catch the recruiters’ attention.

An attention-grabbing presentation, which tells the viewer what they need to know, is more likely to help you progress through to the next interview stages.


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