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Successful PowerPoint presentations

28th March 2013

Presentations are often a key component in the final stage of an interview process; a well researched and delivered presentation goes a long way in helping secure the position and convince your prospective employer that you are the best suited candidate for their vacancy.

I have put together some key points on content & delivery:

  1. Design: It is important to not pick a background so dark or distracting that it makes your text difficult to read; if you want to add colour to your slides, pick something subtle. I would recommend formatting the presentation with your prospective employer’s corporate colours or including their logo in the bottom corner of each slide. The rule-of-thumb guide of “no more than one slide per minute of talk-time” will stand you in good stead.
  2. Text: Stick to clearly legible fonts (Times New Roman/Arial) and only add key information onto each slide. Too much text will simply distract the audience – PowerPoint is just a visual aid, a method of drawing attention to and clarifying key points.
  3. Format: It is useful to add an agenda slide, highlighting the key topics that you will be covering. Also, finish the presentation with a summary slide so that the audience remembers your key points and can ask follow-up questions effectively.
  4. Rehearse: A big problem for candidates is the amount of content that they would like to cover within the allotted time. That is why it is so important to practice the presentation before hand with a mock timed-rehearsal. It will give you a clearer indication of how much time to assign to each slide, ensuring the key points are covered and just as importantly – making sure that you don’t speak too quickly or slowly.
  5. Presentation: You are well researched and rehearsed, however, it is essential to ensure that you engage with the audience. When delivering the presentation, it is important to face the audience and maintain periodic eye-contact with each person. If you can, stand to the left of the screen so that the audience can begin the presentation looking at you, read the slide and then revert attention back to you.
  6. Handouts: It is a great memory-aid to leave the interview panel with a handout of your slides (suggest 2 slides per page format) which can be fuller than the actual presentation slide if you wish if you have some valuable points in the speaker notes for example. Be mindful to hand this to the panel at the end of your presentation; giving it to them at the start may encourage the panel to flip through their paper notes rather than be heads-up giving you their full attention.

Remember that interviewers can sit-through many PowerPoint presentations in the course of any one recruitment campaign. They can therefore develop a ‘zero-tolerance’ attitude to any candidate who falls foul of the common PowerPoint pitfalls; hopefully these key points will help you to avoid costly mistakes and to make a memorable impression, for all the right reasons! 


Amy is our Account Manager for Scientific for Scientific Sales Jobs, Scientific Sales Manager Jobs, Laboratory Sales Jobs, Scientific Marketing Manager Jobs, Field Service Engineer Jobs and Applications Specialist Jobs. Whether you’re looking to explore your career options or expand your team contact Amy now to discuss your recruitment aspirations.

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