What are the most important skills to make a great impression in your next job interview?
Your resume? Of course.
The way you dress? No doubt.
But what else you should never overlook? Your presentation skills.
Interviewers want to know why hiring you can help their company. What value will you add? How will you contribute? How will the company grow? The more you can demonstrate how your commitment and your performance will benefit the company, the more evidence the interviewer will have to justify a decision to hire you.
The need for effective presentation skills isn’t limited to giving speeches or presenting to a room filled with attendees. You can and should use your presentation skills in a job interview.
Think of your interviewer as someone who will listen carefully to every word you say. That interviewer will be listening for evidence of how you will bring value to the organization.
Specifically, interviewers focus on 1) Why should they should listen to you in the first place; 2) Why they should keep listening; 3) What do you want them to remember; and 4) What do you want them to do?
They will seldom explicitly ask you any of these questions. But these questions are foremost in their mind. So answer them proactively. And when you do, tie your answers directly to how you can bring value to the organization and help that organization grow.
Here’s an example of how you can use listener-focused presentation skills during an interview with a fictitious company called “Coffee Klatch”:
You: “You asked why I want to work for Coffee Klatch. I already feel like I’m in the lifeblood of this company because the mission is personal to me – ‘We brew our coffee for warm conversations and sweet memories.’
Some of my earliest memories are of my Mom brewing your coffee and enjoying the aroma and tastes with her closest friends over many years.” Being part of this company will keep those memories alive.
I believe so strongly that my work here will not only add to the bottom line, but also build sweet memories for everyone who lifts a cup of our coffee. That’s why I want to join “The Coffee Klatch Company” and why I hope you will hire me.”
This example is threaded with presentation skills. The answers are personal. The answers are tied to the business. The words speak to the interviewer because they connect the applicant to the company in a meaningful, memorable, and actionable way.
Presentation skills matter during interviews. You can make them matter for you during your interviews by focusing on what your listeners want to hear – how your work and performance can help the company grow and answer their needs; not just your own.
Give them the evidence they need to choose you by telling them 1) Why should they should listen to you in the first place; 2) Why they should keep listening; 3) What you want them to remember; and 4) What you want them to do – “Hire me and here’s why.”