If you’ve been invited to present as part of the interview and selection process during a senior level search, great news, you’re more than likely at the final stages of the process and one of the final few candidates. Have confidence in the fact you have made it this far – embrace the next stage.
Before you begin to prepare, consider the two primary objectives;
This is an opportunity to demonstrate to the audience your knowledge, understanding and experience of a specific topic.
The company want to evaluate your approach, style and effectiveness in this type of environment – remember you are being assessed.
It’s likely you have been asked to present on a specific topic and within a given timeframe…
Before you start:
Consider carefully the topic you are been asked to present on; break down in to sub topics and begin to map out the structure of the presentation.
Ask yourself how the topic fits with the opportunity you are being considered for?
You will usually have been asked to present on a subject that is closely aligned with the specific criteria of the role for which you are being considered, such as; what is your strategy and vision, and how will you lead this. Alternatively, you may be asked to demonstrate how you would approach your first 100 or 180 days.
In either case; think carefully about the insight you’ve had so far, the first stage discussions, briefing documents and information provided by the search firm (where appropriate) should all have provided valuable direction to inform the content you include in your presentation.
Use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding; that you have listened and understood; that you recognise where the pressure points are; what the vision is and how you will contribute to achieving it; how you will provide the answer to the problem; take pressure off others.
Make sure to highlight specific expertise; the presentation is led by you so provide content in a way that aligns your experience and skill set to the requirements. Use examples of earlier success where relevant.
A 15-20-minute presentation might typically consist of around a dozen slides to be used as a backdrop to the conversation and as a guide to talk around your plans and ideas.
Use this as an opportunity; delivering a presentation is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from other candidates.
Show you have done your research and know the market in which the company operate.
Know your audience – research their background and role within the company.
Don’t overrun or switch the audience off with too many jam-packed slides.
Be ready for Q&A’s. You may have addressed many salient points but a presentation in a selection process can often turn into a debate (follow the lead of the audience by whom you are being assessed) and open discussion that provides new insight.
Have a backup with you on a laptop, memory stick or save a copy in a folder accessible remotely.
Take some paper copies (hand them out after you have delivered the presentation, not before).