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Why You Should Ask Candidates To Present During An Interview

Interview itineraries are often tight on time and present scheduling challenges in order to sync up schedules of everyone who is participating in the interview. However, some time should be set aside for the candidate to give a presentation in order to make the best hiring decision.

You should ask candidates to present during an interview because your team will be able to assess many skills during a presentation that are not conducive to assessment during formal interview sessions.

  • Clearly, presentation and communication skills will be assessed by having the candidate present a topic including their ability to engage an audience. The style and delivery of the presentation can showcase a candidate’s creativity.
  • You’ll also see how the candidate manages stress.
  • By paying attention to how much the candidate relies on notes/slides, answers questions, and presentation flow, it will be easy to determine their level of preparation for the presentation.
  • You can see how the candidate handles distractions if they arise, fields questions (confidence in answering and admitting uncertainty), conduct of nonverbal body language (positive, open stance or closed-off, uninviting), and many other interpersonal skills not directly related to the content of the presentation.
  • You may consider evaluating marketing, persuasiveness, and leadership skills through the presentation depending on the topic assigned or the position the candidate is applying for. Perhaps their future job will require these skills in order to be successful.
  • Finally, if given some freedom with their topic, you can evaluate how savvy the candidate is by their topic selection. Did they select a topic that might pique their audience’s interest?

An interview presentation could be 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour in length depending on time available in the interview schedule and what topic you will request to be discussed. (It may be best to reserve hour-long presentations for those positions that will have an educational component.)

What should the candidate present?

For a shorter presentation, an “about me” presentation allows the interviewers to get to know the candidate while showcasing their presentation skills and ability to be concise. The candidate’s beliefs, values, and priorities may shine through when you ask candidates to present during an interview. If you schedule this early in the day this could save time during the interview sessions and also put the candidate at ease.

Another bite-sized topic could be a presentation about a current trend in healthcare or having the candidate present the reasons why they are a good fit for this position. For a trending topic, this will showcase the ability to stay current with changes that can impact their profession and how this might apply to the organization. If asking a candidate to promote themselves via a presentation format, this will demonstrate marketing skills and potential fit for the position.

For a longer presentation, topics could include their short and long-term goals and alignment with this position, a vision of where they see the profession or the company in 5-10 years, or a completely unrelated topic.

Whether or not you can fit in a presentation within your interview structure, there are many compelling reasons why you should ask candidates to present during an interview. In order to maintain consistency, your team may also consider developing a rubric for evaluation with agreed upon criteria as well as a rating scale to make the presentation evaluation more robust.

Why You Should Ask Candidates To Present During An Interview
Jackie Boyle

Jackie is a full-time pharmacist and career coach at TheHappyPharmD, where she helps pharmacists live life by design. She loves her family, changing the world and the profession of pharmacy.