Presentation skills are important in the workplace, so you best believe that graduate recruiters may want to test you on it during the hiring process. Essentially, graduate recruiters want to see if you are able to deliver a well-structured, clear and confident presentation. One way that they can examine this is through mock presentations during assessment centres.
In addition to testing your presentation skills, recruiters would also want to observe your process leading up to the presentation. This includes brainstorming and discussions about your presentation content, which demonstrate your ability to generate ideas and work in a team.
If you’re the type who gets extra nervous when it comes to presentations, here’s some good news for you. It is possible to improve your presentation skills through practice and knowing what to expect. Check out our simple yet effective guide on how to best prepare for assessment centre presentations.
Types of Presentations at Assessment Centres
The two types of presentations that you’ll encounter at assessment centres are planned presentations and on-the-spot presentations.
Planned presentations are… well, planned. Before you attend your assessment centre, you’ll be given information about the presentation exercise, and what they expect you to have prepared in advance.
Hence, you’re given time to prepare your presentation materials and talking points – sounds ideal, right? Not so fast! To challenge you, assessors may interject with questions or comments during your prepared presentation or add a last-minute change to your brief.
The point of a planned presentation is to simulate a realistic working scenario where you’re given preparation time to prepare a presentation for, perhaps, a client. The sudden implemented change would− again− simulate a real-world scenario where information might change at the last minute, or the audience does not react the way you expect.
A good preparation tip is to try and anticipate any and all questions your audience may have on the topic you’re presenting and research your answers for those in advance. When dealing with last-minute information, keep calm and focus on exploring how you can work your presentation around that without having to redo everything from scratch.
On-The-Spot presentations are often the tougher one out of the two. Some assessment centres reveal very little about the presentation exercise beforehand so that the preparation process happens only on the day itself.
For example, you’ll be given a handful of topics to choose from, or asked to present on a case study. You’ll be given a brief amount of time to discuss with your teammates, delegate the talking points and present a quick presentation. This is a test of how well you deal with being put on the spot and how it affects your presentation skills.
What Are Recruiters Looking For
Although it’s true that you’ll be judged based on your overall performance at the assessment centre to see whether you’re a good fit for the organisation, your presentation skills also hold some weight.
Recruiters will take into account the overall performance of your group presentation, but they will also score individual candidates against a set of criteria. Each employer will have their own scoring criteria, but some examples you can expect to encounter include:
- Was prior preparation and planning evident?
- Did the candidate come across as confident and convincing?
- Was the audience engaged?
- To what extent were visual aids used effectively?
- What was the standard of oral communication?
- How well were questions addressed?
- If a brief was given prior to the presentation, was the brief question satisfactorily answered?
It’s crucial that you make sure each and every angle of your presentation is polished and thought through – if you’re given time to prepare, that is. If you’re required to do a presentation on the spot, try your best to make your presentation piece enjoyable. That way the recruiters are more likely to notice and remember you and your work.