A reader writes:
A recent applicant brought a PowerPoint deck to an interview that basically walked through a presentation of her resume, information about herself, and why we should hire her. She referred to it as a “take-away presentation” and said her professors in college advised her to create one for each interview. The only thing was: it was kind of sloppy, used bad clip art, and graphics from the company that were stretched or incorrectly colored, and actually made a worse impression on me than not having one at all.
I’d never heard of it, and I don’t know if I’m a fan or not. Is this a new thing that’s going to get me or another interviewee docked points if they don’t create it? Or an old thing that I was just never aware of? Would you recommend creating one? I’ve only ever heard of bringing a cover letter, a resume and a portfolio if applicable. A PowerPoint deck seems weird.
I swear, I’m starting to think that some college professors and campus career centers are colluding in a sociological experiment to see what happens if they use their positions of authority to spread bad information to a vulnerable group (inexperienced students) who will believe what they say. What other explanation is there for them giving out bad advice about things they have little to no experience with?
No, this is not a good idea for most positions. Certainly not for positions that most recent grads would be applying for, and certainly not if all that’s in the presentation is a summary of the person’s resume and why they think they should be hired.
Presentations can be useful when they (a) are requested, so you know the interviewer actually wants to spend part of the meeting time that way or (b) contain useful information that couldn’t be presented in any other way. This candidate’s presentation was neither.
The other thing about doing an unsolicited presentation is an interview is that it’s a risky move; it has to be really, really good, to justify taking over the interview and spending a chunk of time on something your interviewer didn’t particularly want. Like, outstanding level of good. If it’s not, then you just do more harm than good, as happened here.
This poor candidate should bring a malpractice claim against her college.