A few months ago I was interviewing for a role at a startup in SF. One portion of the interview process was making an informal presentation about a topic that I cared about to the team.
This makes for a great interview question because it allows the interviewer to get a sense of what I’m passionate about, my presentation skills, and my ability to think on the spot.
I had a hard time picking a topic that would be compelling to the audience. To give you some context, the founders of the startup I was interviewing for had meaningful exits in the past and were active angel investors. Had they been a college student at Rutgers I would have blown them away by my understanding of how early-stage companies start and raise money.
After some thought, I decided to speak about voice assistants. I had done some research while I was at VaynerMedia on the topic for internal teams and clients.
At the end of the presentation, I had a feeling that something went wrong.
The interviewers seemed unimpressed.
My gut feeling turned out to be right. I didn’t get the job.
The reason I didn’t get the job is that I didn’t care.
Despite picking an interesting topic and presenting some new information to the audience. I didn’t sell the audience on why it mattered to me.
If it did matter to me I would have been able to speak about the intricacies of building hardware, the genealogy of the software, and the future impact of voice assistants on people’s lives.
The extent of my knowledge was just a little more than someone who would have spent a few hours searching on google.
After my presentation, I don’t blame the company for not hiring me. To be extraordinary, I needed to love what I was talking about. It’s almost immediately noticeable when someone loves what they’re speaking about. They mention things that people don’t care about and help you understand why it matters.
What do you love?