Presentation Job Interviews - 7 Common Mistakes to Avoid!

By: Martin Starkey

So… you have had the call to say the next stage of the job interview will be a presentation!

Before you go and deliver what could be the most important presentation of your life, let us take you through some common mistakes that candidates make when giving that all important presentation for the job of their dreams and give you some tips on overcoming them.

Not Putting the 'Why' Before the 'What'

Not knowing WHAT message you want to get across is a serious faux par. But before you even start to prepare, think WHY do I want my audience to listen to me? This will give you focus on your message and will make sure WHAT you tell them is relevant.

Poor Preparation

Nancy Pelosi the first female Speaker of the United States House of Representatives was once quoted as saying ‘organise don't agonise’. Not preparing is almost a 100% guarantee that failure is imminent. Poor preparation leads to nerves, tension, under confidence and will give the impression you are not the right person for the job.

Low Level Research

Make sure you have researched your topic thoroughly. Find out essential information about the company and build in how your skills can complement this into your presentation. If required have some relevant facts and figures to illustrate this at your fingertips – this can enhance your credibility and show impressive levels of preparation.

Admiring Your Footwear?

Don't spend the time looking at the floor. Look at the audience and make sure you look at every one of them. Looking down is a submissive gesture that says ‘I am not a threat, please do not hurt me’. Hardly the confident impression you want to give. Looking at a person acknowledges them and shows that you are interested in them.

No Strictly Please!

Ideally legs should be planted to the floor shoulder width apart. Dancing around or constantly shifting weight from one leg to another will distract away from what you are saying.

Speed Talking

Don’t think that speaking quickly will get it over faster … it won’t! Take your time and don't be afraid to pause. The power of the pause is immense. Ideally you want to be speaking in the region of 140 words per minute, so time yourself and adjust your presentation accordingly.

No Gestures

Keeping your hands in your pockets or behind your back is a sign you are hiding something. Use your hands to gesture and ideally with an open palm facing upwards. *A recent study found that a group of listeners were 84% more likely to take away your message if you delivered it with a palms up gesture.

Stick to the above and that dream job is one step closer to being in the bag. Good Luck!

We hope you found these tips useful, why not visit our Standing Ovation Training website or contact us for your ‘what to wear guide for your job interview’. Or for more information about presentation skills coaching contact

* Study conducted by Allan and Barbara Pease, authors of The Definitive Book of Body Language.

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