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I have been asked to give a presentation in my second interview – what are they expecting?

In the latest in our series of articles on careers Hays Civil & Structural director Greg Lettington sets out how to handle the second interview.

Q

I have been asked to give a presentation in my second interview - I am worried - what are they expecting?

A

“Having to stand up and talk in front of complete strangers can fill even the most experienced public speaker with dread. Presentations can be employed as part of the interview process to test your ability to communicate clearly and effectively, getting in good practice of this will hold you in good stead throughout your career, as having the ability to share and communicate information effectively, becomes increasingly important. Presentations are becoming common practice in the current climate, as employers take the extra time to hire the best candidate possible.

Presentations will usually come at either the second or third stage, by which point you will have met your prospective employer and will probably be competing against only a handful of other applicants. A presentation is useful to employers wanting to assess your communication skills.

The type of presentation you give will depend on the type of role you have applied for. You may be asked to present a conventional presentation to showcase your knowledge on the industry. If you have applied for a role at director level you will most likely be asked to prepare and present a business plan, demonstrating how you aim to generate revenue for the company.

As long as you prepare in advance and ensure a timely and effective delivery, you should have few problems. Think about the order in which you want to make your points. As with CVs and covering letters, the structure of your presentation is key, but unlike the former, you have got to deal with a time constraint. For example, the employer may already have indicated the time limitations; going beyond this will show that you are unable to stick to deadlines.

Establish the method you want to use at the outset. Bear in mind that your options might be limited, so make sure that you have checked what resources are available to you in advance.  Have a ‘Plan B’ and arrive at the location early to check all is in working order. While whiteboards and flipcharts are the simplest way to convey information, they have limited space - visibility might be an issue as they divert you away from your audience. PowerPoint slides are another popular means of presenting information, but don’t overload with so much information that you aren’t providing any additional insight.

The main aim is to inform, so you need to focus on the purpose of your presentation. Have you presented your facts in an easy-to-read format? Have you used imagery where necessary, for example graphs or tables? If you overdo it with a long list of points or copy, you are likely to lose the interest of your audience.

Finally, make eye contact and try to build rapport with one or two members of the interview panel. Enjoy the experience and remember to smile – you are one step closer to securing that perfect job.”

For further information on Hays Civil & Structural visit www.hays.com/engineering

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