I have just been asked to give a seminar presentation of my projects to a few people during a job interview.

Has anybody else encountered this and how did you handle it?

asteriskrntt1's picture

I was asked to do it and it was a horrible experience (and I am considered a pretty good presenter).

I was not given a lot of information, even less instruction and told to make a presentation on a product launch to the president of the company. After the presentation, I was criticized for not knowing price points, product switching factors and not presenting market segmentation material. Like I was going to spend 100 hours on this and a few thousand out of pocket acquiring this information. Totally ridiculous.


stephenbooth_uk's picture

[quote="AManagerTool"]Has anybody else encountered this and how did you handle it?[/quote]

Twice, the first was to devise and present a strategy for improving services to students with disabilities in higher education for a university as a first interview and the other was a "Here's where we're looking to go, tell us how you can help us get there." for a charity as a second interview.

I just approached it the same as I would a presentation for a company I already worked for. Obviously there's extra barriers, you don't have access to commercial confidential information (you can always ask and offer to sign an NDA but they may still refuse to give it) and won't know the culture of the organisation as well as you would if you worked there but you can usually acknowledge the facts and work around them.

I didn't get either job but did get a second interview at the university and did get feedback from the charity that my presentation had been one of the better ones but they'd decided to go with an internal applicant.


James Gutherson's picture

If they are more concerned with looking at the content of the presentation than the methods you used to prepare - it sounds like they are after some cheap consultancy - run Forest run.

RichRuh's picture
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Every single interview candidate at my company is asked to give a 30-40 minute presetation.

Candidates get to choose their own topic. They usually range across the board:
- Recap of their resume, highlighting interesting work
- An overview of their last project
- Presentation on a school project (for entry level hires)

To some extent, it doesn't matter what topic they pick (although the candidate who gave a presentation to explain her algorithm for picking a new bicycle didn't make the next round for some reason).

I'm a big fan of the process. I feel it is a good judge of communication skills and enthusiasm. It often generates follow-up questions for the rest of the interview.


cb_bob's picture

I work for a sales organization and my job title is Director of Education. In my field, it is common practice to give a presentation as a part of the interview process.

While interviewing for my current position, I was asked to give a 60 minute presentation to around 200 members of the company's sales force. The company chose the topic. I had to create the entire presentation, the hand-outs as well as work with the staff at the presentation venue (these are all critical components of the job).

The presentation went well and president of the company immediately offered me the position after it was over.

My advice is to communicate with as many people in the organization as possible prior to the event. You should be trying to learn as much as possible about your presentation topic and the audience. I recall speaking with at least 10 people in the organization before I flew out for my interview. The whole process was very stressful, but it also allowed me to demonstrate all of the things that my resume said I was good at.

Not as many people are as good at giving presentations as they are at interviewing. Delivering a great presentation will give you an advantage over the other candidates who aren't as good as you are. If you haven't already listened to the M-T podcasts that address this issue, I would strongly encourage you to invest some time in that area.

Good luck!