Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Preparing for a presentation as part of your interview

Last week I spoke about panel interviews and to continue in this vein, this week my topic is preparing for a presentation as part of the interview process.

More and more companies are doing these kinds of interviews. The employer is likely looking for your selling style. They would like to know if you are the type of sales person that will rehash the product features or are you listening for needs and linking it back to what you have to offer and providing a benefit to the customer. Likely they will also be looking for your investigative skills. Most companies give the candidate time to research and the information that you gather as part of the presentation will be key.

This gives the employer a glimpse of what you will look like to a customer as well. Does the candidate perform under pressure? Is this the person that I want representing us?

These kinds of interviews are likely at the end of the interview process and although you performed well prior, this one could be a deal breaker.

It will be very important for the candidate presenting to stick to the guidelines and be mindful of the time. Ask about how much time you have and stick to it. I had 2 senior manager candidates go through this process 6 months ago and both did very well and both got the job (different jobs, same company). My client told me that what set them apart from the others was it was evident that they spent the time necessary doing the research and put their personal touch and some humour into the process. If humour is not a natural for you, don’t do it. My client and both candidates had a good sense of humour so that worked. Err on the side of caution.

This should go without saying but practice it with a trusted loved one. Have someone else read it over. I had a candidate misspell the company name and it really ticked off the Vice President during the presentation. This kind of lack of attention to detail could blow it for you.

Your energy and enthusiasm will be very important. If your audience is not with you, change pace. It is very important to be able to read your “customer” who in this case is your potential next employer.

And last but not least, prepare for Murphy’s law. Bring back up copies in case the projector fails. Leave home earlier or better yet; if you’re like me and directionally challenged; drive the route the night before.

And as I said in my last post-SMILE!

Happy selling

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