To take a common example from business life, consider the job interview. Let’s picture the situation together. You have advertised for sales associate and gathered resumes. Now, you must interview each candidate up close.

This experience can be daunting. To prepare yourself and the candidates, set up the situation for success. You may want to work with an objective executive coach to plan your interview process and refine your presentation interview strategy.

Some of your advance planning relates to the environment, setting expectations, assessing nonverbal and verbal skills and evaluating presentation performance.

Use this short checklist to protect yourself from being burned by eager candidates who may unwittingly over-represent their skill level.

1. Communicate. Send out presentation requirements in advance of the interview. By communicating your objectives and criteria in writing, every party is equally prepared.

2. Relax. Aim to be relaxed. Put your candidate at ease. When each candidate is comfortable, it is easier to accurately assess skill levels.

3. Invite. Create a waiting room. Set up the room so coats, bags and extra items can be safely left outside of the main room. This allows people to be relaxed, confident and prepared. Removing coats, especially in bad weather takes time and is distracting.

4. Greet. Make eye contact and stand up when individuals enter the main room. Greet each candidate with equal presence. Be genuine and welcoming from the moment each person enters the room.

5. Clarify. Set clear expectations. They already have sent in resumes and received your presentation requirements. Reinforce the agenda for the time together. Give a logical overview in the same way for each candidate.

For example, “We would like to see your presentation at the whiteboard. Remember that you are presenting as you would to a C-level audience. You have 10 minutes to explain your ideas and engage us. We would like you to spend 50% of your time presenting ideas; and 50% of your time involving us with Q & A. Finally, after your whiteboard presentation, there will be an opportunity for informal conversation for you to ask any questions.”

6. Evaluate. Create an ‘equal opportunity’ for success for each candidate. If you are working with a panel, a co-interviewer or solo, prepare your evaluation criteria in advance.

7. Be Open. Keep an open mind. Not every candidate will have the same exact strengths. Balance your evaluation of live presentation skills with other key criteria such as work experience, attitude and aptitude for learning.

8. Enjoy. By preparing your interview process, setting clear evaluation criteria and communicating effectively, you will be able to enjoy the process…and protect yourself from being burned.

Make room to flex your criteria and look for the best fit. When you find a perfect candidate who is well matched for your culture, goals and team…build their skills. Many sales candidates are eager and willing to learn new skills. With online presentation skills training, attracting talented members to your team is easy, fast and flexible.

These practices are equally important for global organizations and small businesses. When interviewing sales candidates, look for flexibility in presentation skills. Depending on your business and industry look for confidence while presenting with PowerPoint, whiteboards and video.

Hint: look for flexibility in giving presentations that are directive, facilitative and interactive. Some sales candidates are well versed in one style, but inflexible in their personal style. By finding the right match in attitude, you’ll find the perfect candidate.

With a clear process, defined interview procedures and flexible training alternatives, you will protect yourself from getting burned. Plus, you will save time and reduce stress. Using this step-by-step method, finding the right candidate will be much, much easier.

Author's Bio: 

Milly Sonneman is a recognized expert in visual language. She is the co-director of Presentation Storyboarding, a leading presentation training firm, and author of the popular guides: Beyond Words and Rainmaker Stories available on Amazon. Milly helps business professionals give winning presentations, through Email Marketing skills trainings at Presentation Storyboarding. You can find out more about our courses or contact Milly through our website at: