The Hire Authority

By The Drum, Administrator

May 14, 2002 | 4 min read

It is a disappointing fact that when candidates apply for a new job they successfully win an interview and then fail at the interview stage. In particular, jobs in marketing often require good presentation skills, a presentation commonly being part of the interview process. Candidates frequently do not present themselves well, failing to do their homework before the interview.

If you are applying for new jobs then careful planning for the interview can make the difference between success and failure. Prepare well before the presentation and research the company. Use as many resources as possible to find out company information such as company literature, website, current advertising campaigns and other marketing activity. Always practice your talk beforehand with someone who can give you constructive criticism as an unprepared presentation will be obvious to the interviewers and is unprofessional.

The practical points are sometimes easy to forget. Establish what presenting facilities are available before the interview so you can find out whether you need to take your own laptop or use an in-house computer. Always ask if you can have ten minutes to set up your presentation before you start as you do not want this to eat into your interview time. It is also a) not very interesting for the interviewers and b) it can be difficult to make small talk while you are plugging in equipment under a desk. This extra time gives you a chance to familiarise yourself with the equipment and layout of the room.

If possible use Powerpoint as this is the most professional, and most commonly used, presentation package. Try to include some relevant images to liven up your presentation but do not overdo it as this can distract from the content. It is always a good idea to take a hardcopy of the presentation in the event of a technical failure and take copies for the interviewers to hand out for reference. Technology can let you down at that all important moment.

If you are asked for a fifteen minute presentation keep to that timescale. None of the interviewers want to listen to you talking for half an hour and this shows that you cannot keep to a brief. Think carefully about the structure of the presentation including an introduction, main body copy and a summary or recommendations. Try to include some brainstorming suggestions as the company will appreciate a candidate with creative ideas. However, be prepared to support your recommendations with hard facts or a realistic approach based on previous experience. Suggesting a campaign suited to consumer marketing may not suit business-to-business marketing and will show your lack of knowledge.

Something that candidates often forget is the culture of the recruiting company. If you are being interviewed by a financial services business then the staff will probably dress formally, and so should you. Similarly, if you are being interviewed by an agency, then the dress code will be more relaxed but you should still be smart for an interview. You can let your personal image show through as agencies are more informal, but you should maybe think twice about the nose ring. If you do not like to dress like this for work then you may be going for the wrong job. Company culture can have a big effect on your work so consider this when dressing to impress.

Above all, remember you are marketing yourself so think about your appearance, manner and how you project your voice. This is your chance to sell yourself and your experience, so think about how the interviewers will perceive you. Look at the job description and think carefully about what the company wants from a candidate in terms of competencies, skills and experience. Remember to be confident, but not overly confident, as this can come across as arrogance. As best you can let your personality shine through.

Often candidates forget the most obvious points when reaching the crucial stage in the recruitment process so hopefully these tips will help pave your way to a new job. If you need more guidance with your career in marketing contact Marketingworks and we will be happy to help.

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