Job interview presentations could have one slightly anxious, but with these great tips you are on-track to getting employed.

So, you’ve received the email. You know the one:

“Further to your application for the above post, I am pleased to advise you that we would like to progress you to the next stage.

I am therefore now writing to invite you to attend an interview on X Y Z.

Please report to Reception at Head Office. Your formal interview will commence at 14:00 hours.”

But here’s the catch…

“As a part of the selection process you will be required to prepare and deliver a presentation on BLAH followed by a 10 minute discussion with the Interview Panel.”

What are your thoughts?

If this fills you with fear and dread you are not the only one. Try these top tips to help overcome nerves and give your best performance.

How to make good job interview presentations:

#1 Break down the title of the presentation

Generally, employers will give you a broad title to allow candidates to demonstrate their own area of expertise.

Remember, potential employees could be coming from different sectors.

Think about how the presentation title relates to your experience and the duties and responsibilities of the position you have applied for.

Ask yourself – what are they really asking?

#2 This is not an hour lecture

If you are tempted to push your presentation time to the limit – don’t.

If the suggested time is 10 minutes aim for 8.

The panel will appreciate your ability to keep to time.

If you are the last candidate of the morning you really don’t want to be the one keeping the panel from their lunch.

Have a structure and keep to it.

I recommend a simple Beginning – Middle – End structure.

End confidently, with 2 or 3 memorable points or take home messages.

#3 Ask yourself – do you need to use PowerPoint?

Think about the purpose of your presentation.

If you just want to demonstrate that you can write lots on a slide then why not consider writing a supporting paper to leave with the panel at the end of the interview instead.

There are lots of rules and suggested ways of utilising PowerPoint, but my favourite is ‘Death by PowerPoint‘.

If you are going to use PowerPoint, this is my rule of thumb when creating slides:

  • Headlines
  • Pictures and
  • Key phrases.

Anything more and your slides distract from you.

A post shared by Stylish Academic (@stylish_academic) on #4 Make sure your presentation is a presentation of YOU

The presentation is an opportunity for the interview panel to assess your presenting abilities in front of an audience.

This gives them the chance to see how you come across to potential stakeholders, clients or customers.

Make sure your presentation is representative of your style.

Use your usual style, whether it’s using a metaphor to explain a problem, pictures to give impact or Prezi rather than PowerPoint, then give the panel a flavour of this in the interview.

This isn’t the time to change your delivery style.

If they like it then you will be a good fit.

If they hate it, then perhaps they weren’t the organisation for you.

#4 Smile

When you smile – the whole world smiles with you.

The same is true for smiling in an interview.

Your interview panel will smile back.

A smile helps keep you calm, it induces all the right endorphins to help with confidence, posture and general well-being.

Research shows that just the physical act of smiling to yourself for 10 minutes triggers these organic processes.

A post shared by Stylish Academic (@stylish_academic) on #6 Practise

Although I have listed this last, it really is the most important.

Practise your presentation OUT LOUD

Preferably in front of an audience. LOTS. From the beginning to the end – even if you go wrong.

If you don’t have an audience, everyone has a camera on their phone.

Film yourself giving your presentation.

Do you have a nervous twitch?

Can’t help fiddling with your hair?

Do you start off strong and tail off ending with a weak “thank you”.

The more you practise the easier it gets.

If you have a habit of twiddling with your watch – take it off and put it on the desk before your presentation.

Your interview panel will think it’s about keeping to time and you won’t distract them with your nervous tell.

Don’t sabotage your presentation with poor body language.

Stand tall, breathe and look your panel in the eye.

Good Luck!


Katy Mahoney Researcher Coach Stylish AcademicMy name is Katy, and I work with researchers so they feel more positive about the direction of their work and more confident that they will be able to achieve success.
If you…
  • Feel stuck in your research or overwhelmed by what you are expected to do
  • Would like someone other than your supervisor or PI to talk to about the challenges you face conducting your research whilst juggling other projects and priorities
  • Would like to be listened to by someone who understands what it’s like to work in academia
Book your free coaching session today:contact me here.

You may also like to read:

How to get employed after your PhD – Jennifer Polk (From PhD to Life)

8 academic writing tips in GIFs – Katy (Researcher Coaching)