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I have an interview next week, and I have been asked to prepare a presentation on something I am passionate about.

I am torn between covering a hobby as a topic or something work related and was just wanting some advice on what the best course of action may be.

closed as off-topic by gnat, JohnHC, Mister Positive, Masked Man, JasonJ Jun 13 '17 at 17:53

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  • "Questions asking for advice on what to do are not practical answerable questions (e.g. "what job should I take?", or "what skills should I learn?"). Questions should get answers explaining why and how to make a decision, not advice on what to do. For more information, click here." – gnat, JohnHC, Mister Positive, Masked Man, JasonJ
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Are you genuinely passionate about the "something work related"? – Erik Jun 13 '17 at 14:08
  • What @JoeStrazzere said. – Mister Positive Jun 13 '17 at 14:12
  • Questions asking for advice on what to do are considered off-topic for The WorkPlace Stack Exchange ( workplace.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2693/… ); Could you edit to define a practical, answerable question? – schizoid04 Jun 13 '17 at 14:33
  • The simple answer here would have to be "go work related". In an ideal world of course, your career is indeed simply your passion. (You're a surfer your career is making surfboards, you love robots, your career is robots.) – Fattie Jun 13 '17 at 15:45
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Put yourself in the the interviewer's shoes. You are interviewing for a Business Intelligence analyst and are down to the final three candidates who are roughly equal in qualifications and skills. Candidate 1 speaks passionately on surfing. Candidate two speaks passionately about Web Design (which is technical but not what this position does) and candidate three speaks passionately and knowledgeably about Informatica (which is a tool your company uses). Which one do you hire?

Research the company, find something they need or use in the position you are applying for, and speak both passionately and knowledgeably on it.

Remember in prepping for an interview, you always want to present how well do would be able to perform the actual job they have open. You are always in competition with others, so be the person who shows the most business value to the interviewer.

If the job is one where you will be giving frequent presentations, then concentrate on doing one of that type. For a sales job, do a presentation on a product (don't use a competitor's product for your example), For a design job do a presentation on a design that you are pitching, for a training job, do a training session.

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    That probably only works if you're actually passionate about Informatica, otherwise you'll lose the presentation to the guy who actually cares about surfing. – Erik Jun 13 '17 at 14:07
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    If Informatica is a large part of your job, then you had better be passionate about it if you want to be successful. – HLGEM Jun 13 '17 at 14:09
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I'm guessing from your username that this is for a job in marketing? I would surmise that they are more interested in the quality of the presentation rather than the subject so that gives you a fair amount of latitude and there are Pros and Cons of either choice:

Work Related

Pros:

  • It's an opportunity to show off your understanding of their commercial domain

  • It's unlikely to be controversial, allowing for better focus on your presentation skills rather than the subject.

Cons:

  • There is a small chance of it coming off as "brown nosing"

  • There is a chance they may think that you are re-using a presentation you made for a previous employer rather than producing something for them

Hobby related

Pros:

  • You stand a better chance of being "passionate" about something you do as a hobby rather than to earn a living

  • It can give you an opportunity to show yourself as a rounded individual

  • If one of the interviewers also happens to be interested in the topic this can sway them towards you

Cons:

  • If none of the interviewers find the subject interesting you stand a chance of boring them

  • If the subject is one that requires a certainl level of pre-existing knowledge then this may impair their ability to appreciate your presentation skills

Honestly I don't think there is a "right" answer to that, rather I think it's the wrong area to focus on. As I said earlier the important thing is the quality of the presentation so I would make sure that you pick the subject you think you can give the best presentation on.

Good luck!

  • If the OP has enough time, it may be useful to start to write a couple of presentations. If one of them gets bogged down in boring background material, drop it. – Patricia Shanahan Jun 13 '17 at 15:31
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Why not do both?

Choose something you are passionate about and find a way to make that relevant to your working environment.

For instance, if you have a hobby of improvisational acting, be passionate about shows you have put on but also include a mention of how this skill helped you create user stories by acting out the role of your customer.

If you have a hobby of playing board games, you could include a slide on how skills related to analysing game tactics have helped with problem solving at work.

Exercises like this are to help interviewers understand your approach to life as well as see your presentation skills in action.

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I think the purpose of this is to understand your presentation skills, abilities, experience and the preparing of a presentation (probably power point skills). If this is a sales job, they would like to see you how do you present the "Product". How do you answer the questions even the ones that you don't know the answer. How you stand, how you introduce, etc.. So they won't interest what you present, they will interest how you do it.

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