Presentation Checklist for MSLs

We’re giving you everything you need to put together an offer-generating presentation

This year has been competitive for anyone looking for a new position or interviewing. When it comes to the final step in this process, a presentation can make or break you. Having more than 15 years of combined recruiting experience, PharmaFinders hopes to use what we’ve learned (good, bad, and ugly!) to help set you apart from the competition.

Follow along for a presentation checklist, and information on why these steps matter:

  • Your presentation/font colors are easy to view/read
    • You should practice sharing your slide in full screen. This is a great way to make sure that others can easily read your slides (in the format that you’ll be giving it), and that your color palette makes sense
    • You don’t want any colors that are too bright, or colors that contrast too much. If you’re needing help in this area, check out this website, which helps you choose the best colors for your presentation
  • Title slide includes name, title of presentation, and date
    • You want to be sure that your presentation (especially if you’re using a presentation that you previously put together) is specific to your interview and the date of your interview
  • If you’re using an old slide deck
    • Be sure that the information is up to date, and that your presentation doesn’t include any confidential information
    • It is also a good idea to remove previous, or current company names or logos from your presentation. You want the focus to be on you, and the information you’re presenting. You don’t want your interviewers being distracted by logos, or additional names on your power point
  • Keep it professional
    • Although the presentation is a great way for the interviewers to get to know you, and your communication style, this is not the appropriate time for them to get to know your sense of humor. It’s OK to show some personality- but be mindful you’re still in an interview and want to keep it high level and professional as well. You can have a sense of humor without being offensive or off-putting
    • If you’re in-person, be sure and stand for your presentation
    • If you’re presenting virtually, be sure that your camera is eye-level with yourself, and you’re looking into the camera to present (when you’re looking into the camera, it gives the viewers the feeling that you’re looking directly at them. It’s hard to not be in person, so this helps to keep things as warm, and connected as possible)
    • Stay away from inappropriate memes/or funny graphics on your slides
  • Be sure that everything is uniform
    • This means that your titles are all centered and sized the same
    • All of your bullet points are the same style
    • Your titles are all the same font and/or bolded the same
    • You have the same font size for the body of your text on every slide
    • If you’re adding citations/references, be sure they’re all uniform on where they’re located on each slide
  • Utilize your notes section
    • Keep the text and the graphics on your slide to a minimum. You don’t want your presentation to be sensory overload, so keeping your deck simple and doing more of the explaining while you’re presenting is best
    • Instead of reading off your slide verbatim, use your bullet points as a guide for your discussion
    • Use the notes section of your presentation to elaborate and keep track of your talking points
  • Check in periodically / Make it interactive
    • Most interviewers want your presentation to be something that can turn into a discussion. During your presentation, check in with your audience
    • A great way to do this, is to finish a slide with asking “does anyone have any questions, or anything they’d like to discuss at this point?”
    • This can also be done by adding intentional pauses throughout or asking your interviewers questions
    • Another way you can do this, is at the beginning of your presentation. Let your viewers know that this can be an interactive presentation and you’d love any input, or conversation as you go along
    • Make your presentation interactive, but also have a strong sense of EQ and read your audience. Read their body language and pick up on when they’re trying to tell you something, or ask you a question
  • Practice your presentation
    • Be sure to not go over on time. Practice giving your presentation several times, so you’re confident in the timing of each slide (we always recommend being prepared for 1-2 minutes per slide)
    • Outside of time, be mindful of the other guidelines you’ve been given while preparing/practicing your presentation (if the interviewers want more data in the presentation, if they have a specific paper, or article they’d like you to include, etc.)
    • Try to not rely on reading directly from your presentation. You want to know the information enough that you can speak freely on the topic, versus depending on your slides/notes (your presentation should be you telling a story, not just reciting information). You’re notes are there to help you get back on topic, not the be used as a crutch
    • When practicing your presentation, try to present to someone, or an audience (friends, family, your recruiter) beforehand. It always helps to get a second set of eyes on your slide deck. If you’re working with Heather, Crecia or myself, we’d be happy to take a look at your presentation
    • Be mindful of different platforms as well. Find out how you’ll be presenting on ahead of time (Mac, PC, Teams, Zoom, WebEx) and make sure your power point is compatible with that platform, and do a test run
    • If you’re presenting in person, email yourself a copy of your presentation, and print out at least 1 hard copy. We’ve seen situations where someone’s technology didn’t work the day of, and having a hard copy allowed them to still be able to present
  • End your presentation with a “Questions?” slide
    • This will let the interviewers know that you’re done with your presentation
    • Having this as your final slide will also let the interviewers know you’re ready for discussion and they can open up to conversation
    • If you get any questions you don’t know the answer to, don’t guess! It’s ok to say “that’s a great question. I am not 100%, but I will dig into that and get back to you” and then use your thank you note to be sure you follow up with the answers. It could be a test to see how you respond to difficult questions. Are you comfortable not knowing everything, will you try to fluff, will you actually follow-up?
    • It’s a good idea to anticipate what questions might follow your interview and have back-slides ready to go to answer those. Doing the research and taking the initiative to get those additional slides prepared can go a long way with interviewers

The presentation portion of your interview should not be taken lightly. Aspiring MSLs to the most experienced MSLs still need help/refreshers in this department sometimes, and we hope this information gives you the guidance you need. This checklist and the prep work you do on your presentation will set you apart. If there are any questions you have after reviewing this information, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Are there any other presentation tips that you’ve learned along the way? We’d love to hear what’s worked for you!