Sometimes selection panels request candidates give a presentation as part of the recruitment process. Typically, this happens in the final interview rounds and it’s more common in executive-level positions. So, if you are asked to present to a selection panel, where should you begin? Here are my tips to help you prepare and present well.
Consider the brief carefully
To begin with, make sure you have a clear understanding of what the panel is looking for. This can help to focus your presentation. You might also find that knowing you’re on the right track helps with boosting your confidence when presenting.
If you do have questions, don’t be afraid to ask them. On balance, it’s probably better to ask than guess and miss the mark with your presentation. It’s also worth remembering that every presentation is different, so be aware of any assumptions you might be making based on previous presentations you’ve given.
Tailor your presentation
Always be sure to tailor your presentation to the specific employer. This is important in terms of what you say and also any visual materials that you use, such as images or infographics. Tailoring your presentation shows the employer what you know about their organisation. A presentation that’s too generic could leave the employer wondering how well you understand their organisation and the role, or perhaps even whether the presentation was given elsewhere.
So how can you tailor your presentation? Choose images that align with the organisation’s corporate image. You might also use the same font or similar colours. Think about your audience and what keywords or themes they might be looking for. Then prepare your presentation with those things in mind.
Use slides well
If you are going to use a slide deck, the key thing is to use it well. Ideally you want it to enhance your presentation. Visual elements are a good place to start. They could be photographs or other images, charts, infographics or word clouds, to name a few. Any text on slides should be kept to a minimum. Avoid duplicating what you say on the slides if you can. Choosing a large font size is also a good idea. Using a template could be a simple way of helping your presentation look polished.
Choosing the optimal number of slides for your presentation can help too. Typically, two or three is too short, but on the other hand too many could be overwhelming or distracting. So think about what will work best with what you have to say.
Also, it’s worth bringing printed copies of your slides. First, it’s good to have a plan B in case there’s a problem with technology on the day. Secondly, it’s a nice touch for the selection panel members to have something to refer to and take away to help them recall your presentation later.
Rehearse what you’ll say
There’s more than one way to give a great presentation, but rehearsing your delivery can help. Some people prefer writing out the whole presentation word for word. Others like to jot down key topics or talking points. Work to your strengths and choose a style that suits you. What’s important is that you communicate your message clearly and persuasively. Knowing your material is part of that and it’s a great way to achieve a confident and polished presentation.
I hope these suggestions will be useful in preparing if you’re invited to present to a selection panel. If you’d like to keep up to date with insights to help you take your career further, I invite you to subscribe to our newsletter.