Making a presentation during job interview

Q. I have to give a presentation as part of my interview for a sales role and I have never done this before. What can I do to make sure that I come across well? 

The word presentation creates fear in a lot of people’s minds but you should treat this as an opportunity to give yourself more ‘control’ in the interview. The biggest advantage of doing a presentation is that you are in the driving seat and you are able to convey the message that you want to portray to the panel. To create an impressive presentation, research and preparation are absolutely vital.

Three main areas to consider are:

  • Brevity and Clarity
  • Benefit
  • Body Language

Brevity is very important in any presentation. Do not overload your slides with congested information. Slides need to consist of bullet points, acting a reference guide rather than being full sentences. Be clear in your points and speak clearly (this all sounds simple but when you have an audience, simple suggestions like this can become quite difficult to do).

Benefit includes adding value to the company. How can your suggestions make a difference to the company? This is where your research and preparation will be most apparent. There is very little point doing a presentation on your hobbies and interests if this is clearly a sales interview.

Develop a plan with the company on how you tend to approach the new position with suggestions on market penetration and existing customer expansion. Try and find out about their main competitors. Adding value will bring attention, and demonstrate to the interviewer that you have done your research.

Body language is being monitored specifically when doing a presentation. You are being judged not just on your content but on the way you present the information.

Body language is under-rated and can distort the way that a person interprets the information. In particular for a sales role, the company will be visualising you in front of their customers.  We often feel that we ‘come across in a certain way’. Rehearse the presentation beforehand and get constructive feedback on how you come across.

Always go back to the reason why you are attending the interview, or in this case doing the presentation. Keeping it relevant will keep you on track.

David Peoples, who has trained more than 8,000 IBM salespeople, says “the single most important thing you can do for sweaty palms is rehearse. The second most important thing you can do for sweaty palms is rehearse. Guess what the third thing is?”

Q. I am going for a promotion as an assistant manager within the hotel that I am working in. If I get the job I will be supervising people that I have worked with for the last 10 years. Any tips?


A. Promotion is a tricky process and can be a difficult transition especially if you have worked with your colleagues for a long time, as you have.

It may take time for your peers to adjust to the fact that they are reporting to you and this can cause conflict at times.

Gaining and earning respect is important, and rather than making a radical change in your dealings with staff, let your colleagues know that you have a job to do. Rather than being overboard on being authoritative, be more assertive in your style and your new role.

In interview, this is an excellent area to address as the employer will be aware of it anyway. Tackling particular issues that may arise shows the employer that you have thought this through in advance.

Remember that being a manager differs from being a good worker. You need to be able to delegate and communicate effectively with people. You also need to be aware that your relationship with your previous peers will change and that professionalism and preferential treatment will not be tolerated.

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