Knowing how to effectively design an interview presentation slide for your next job interview is one more way for you to stand out from the other candidates in today’s competitive job market. But way too often candidates overlook this piece of the hiring process and fail to take advantage of the opportunity to impress an interviewing panel with a great presentation.
Understandably, it can be hard for a non-designer to tackle what is essentially a design project when it comes to creating effective and engaging presentation slides using a software program such as PowerPoint. However, there are some basic and easy-to-follow design guidelines that you can use to progress above the novice level.
8 Interview Presentation Slide Tips
1. Use a consistent design theme throughout your presentation.
The elements you use on every slide can be circles, lines, arrows, or symbols. The color of the elements can vary in color but should be on each slide for continuity. In the following example, a simple line element is used.
2. Create a presentation outline from beginning to end.
This starts with your opening introduction slide that states what you’re going to be speaking on. The following slides will be filled with your key talking points and supporting information. Keep in mind less is more.
3. Design each slide with one major takeaway in mind.
This can be in the form of one single statement used for emphasis on a white or colored background with one word in white and the following words in a contrast color. Too much text on one slide is distracting. A good rule to follow is to use no more than 40 words per slide.
4. Use a key message plus a visual approach as much as possible.
Visuals such as timelines, graphs, flowcharts and funnels, pictures can communicate the major theme of each slide much faster than just words. Think of representing simple concepts with icons, using the same color for every icon for a more professional look.
5. Use scaffolding slides to distinguish the start and end of major sections.
Your first scaffolding slide should be an agenda slide that outlines your presentation. The agenda slide is placed right after your introduction slide. You can then re-introduce your agenda slide to highlight the next topic you’re going to speak on, only this time the agenda slide will have the relevant section title in bold or in a different color. Using scaffolding slides will keep your audience engaged. See examples here.
6. Use text size, fonts, and color to create a visual focal point for every slide.
As each new slide appears, you want your audience to immediately focus on the dominant element on that slide. It can be an important number, a keyword, or your major takeaway headline. Large and bold elements will grab your audience faster than small and light-colored fonts. Aim for high contrast designs and avoid using italics as they become hard to read from far away.
7. Pick fonts that have a stark difference between the bold and regular font faces.
Some good font choices to use are Source Sans Pro, Arvo, Times New Roman, Roboto, Montserrat, and Open Sans.
8. Mix up the layouts of your slides to prevent your audience from getting bored.
This doesn’t mean you have to come up with a new design for every slide but pick 2-4 designs that you can alternate slides with. A vertical image with text on the right can be swapped to show a graphic chart on the right with text on the left, and so on.
Look at these examples that alternate basically the same layout by switching the image from right to left.
Design Key Takeaway
The main thing to remember is to keep your slide designs simple. Slides with too much information become a distraction that prevents your interview panel from engaging with your presentation.