ACE THE INTERVIEW

How To Answer "What Are Your Hobbies And Interests?" Interview Question

Find ways to highlight your hobbies and interests when interviewing for a position, while also tailoring your answers to the specific job position and mentioning hard and soft skills that you have.

Your hobbies and interests make you a unique, well-rounded person. And when someone asks you about what you do in your free time, it’s great to share what you're passionate about, what drives you.

A hiring manager may ask you about your hobbies and interests to peek behind the curtain and gain a better understanding of who you are. Some hobbies offer transferable skills, like unique leadership and interpersonal skills.

Whether it's playing badminton or doing volunteer work at a local homeless shelter, don't stress too much about the answer. Potential managers love discovering what you do in your leisure time to learn more about you.

In this article, we will discuss:
  • Why do recruiters ask about your hobbies?
  • How do I choose the right hobby to talk about?
  • Example answers

If you're interested in learning tips and tricks to provide interviewers with the best answers, speak to a career counselor from Enhancv. They can provide you with the complete guide to answer questions in order to let your personality shine.

Why do recruiters ask about your hobbies?

When you first hear the question, you may think of it as a trick, one that an interviewer asks to dredge up things about your personal life. However, asking about your hobbies and interests is one of the many common job interview questions you may come across.

Interviewers use personal questions like this one to discern your compatibility within the company's culture. When you're hired for a new position, you're not just being asked to complete the duties and roles assigned to you.

Instead, you're being asked to mingle with a group of people that you'll end up spending more time with than your family.

Hiring managers ask about your hobbies and interests to discover whether you are a well-rounded individual.

In addition, many interviewers ask this question to discern if your extracurricular activities have potential value to the company. For example, if you love to write short stories, this may show that you are a creative person. Your creative writing skills may translate directly into your role, especially as you create imaginative solutions to difficult problems.

How do I choose the right hobby to talk about?

For such a personal question, it's always difficult to come up with an off-the-cuff answer. You may feel self-conscious of sharing details about your personal life, or you may feel that your employer has little say over what you do in your spare time.

You may also feel that you don't have any hobbies to really share about. I want to challenge you on this, because everybody has something in their life which they're excited about.

Maybe it's that you're a voracious reader, and you love sitting down in your favorite chair with a book in your hand. Or maybe you enjoy outdoor activities, going for a stroll in the park.

Anything that makes you happy and that you enjoy can be something that you share about. Your hobbies might also be something that you choose to share on a resume.

Tip one : Share what you're passionate about

When answering this question, share one of your hobbies that you have a unique interest in. Have you ever spoken to somebody who was sold out on their new interests?

Maybe you've sat through a friend sharing about their last trip as they discovered new cultures. One thing that you might've noticed is how that unique experience has changed the way that they view things.

In that same way, you can share stories from your life which have influenced you. Find one major hobby in your life, and share a couple details about why it interests you.

Try to find something that truly interests you, as an interviewer can spot when someone is being less than truthful with their answer.

Tip two: Shy away from controversial hobbies

Although there are very few wrong answers to this question, it may be best to steer clear of controversial hobbies. Some hobbies may be seen as a huge red flag for interviewers, and it's best to reflect on your answer.

A good rule of thumb is, share nothing with an interviewer that you wouldn't share with your mom, dad, siblings, or grandparents.

Below, you can find some controversial hobbies that you may not want to bring up with an interviewer:

  • Illegal activities: An employer may see illegal activity as a red flag, and this may prevent you from getting the job.
  • Anything political: It may be best not to share any political activities that you're involved in, as this can hinder your ability to build rapport with your interviewer.
  • Anything that would make you look like an unreliable employee: If your answer to the question of what interests you is staying out late until 2 AM with friends partying on a work night, then you may look like an unreliable employee to a potential hiring manager.

Tip three: Share about an interest from earlier on in your life

If you are racking your brain for current hobbies, and can't seem to come up with anything, it may be a good idea to share an interest that you had either in high school or in college. If you were involved with a sports team at your local high school, or involved in a club or team while in your college days, then lean on those hobbies to answer your question.

Tip four: If possible, find a common interest

You may have picked up on something that your interviewer mentioned at the beginning of the interview. Maybe she shared her love for nature photography. If you also enjoy photographing nature, you can mention that to her as a common shared interest.

It's important to not make up or lie about participating in certain activities. Lies always seem to catch up with you, and your hiring manager may later check in with you and ask more about your shared hobby.

Tip five: Come up with a hobby before your interview

It's always easy to come up with answers to questions right on the spot, so it's always best to prepare for your interviews.

Below, you can find a list of common hobbies and interests, and you can pick one or two to share if asked this interview question:

Hobbies

  • Team sports
  • Volunteering
  • Photography
  • Music
  • Reading
  • Cooking
  • Creative Writing

Interests

  • Traveling
  • Art
  • Science
  • History

Example answers

Some of the best answers provide clues to how you spend your time, as well as how you engage in personal and professional development. They provide a glimpse into how your unique skills and abilities can benefit a company's culture. Below, you can find some sample answers which you can use on your job search:

Hard Skills

Hard skills are technical skills that you've gained through professional experience, education, or other forms of training. These skills can apply to your specific profession, or could be something that you do as a side hustle to earn a little extra money on the side. Look at this example of a hard skills answer:

One of my biggest hobbies is coding apps and video games. Ever since I was in high school, I've really gravitated towards building games which are fun to play and are also challenging. I was even involved in a coding competition in college, where I took home third place for an application that I made for the android operating system.

Soft skills

Soft skills are people skills, things that you've gained through working within a team environment. Some soft skills include public speaking and leadership. Using a soft skill for this interview answer can show that you value interpersonal relationships and building community among team members. Below, you can find an example answer which highlights an applicant's soft skills:

I used to be deathly afraid of public speaking. My hands got all clammy, my throat would tighten up, and I felt like I was almost passing out whenever I was asked to speak in front of people. One of my favorite professors from University suggested that I try standup comedy at a local club in the area. At first, I showed up at the club, and watched people go on stage. But, over time, I gained the confidence to go up on stage and tell a few jokes. After a little while, I started to get better at my act, and one of my favorite things is watching people get into my routine and start laughing.

Key Takeaways:

  • Interviewers ask about your hobbies and interests to discern whether you would be a good fit within their company culture.
  • Try to find something that you are passionate about and be sincere when you answer this question.
  • It may be helpful to find mutual interests between you and your interviewer.
  • Choose to answer this question by pointing to hobbies or interests which highlight your hard or soft skills.

If you're interested in answering this question or other situational interview questions, speak with a career counselor from Enhancv. They can help point you in the right direction to talk about your interests and hobbies, while also showing you how to provide answers that highlight that you are a well-rounded individual.

Make your move!
Your resume is an extension of yourself.
Make one that's truly you.
Author image
Dave Van Kooten
Is a human resource expert that helps passionate jobseekers to put their best foot forward to prepare for an interview. He believes that success can be achieved through going out of your comfort zone.