What are you passionate about?
It’s likely you’ll encounter this question during a job interview, no matter the position.
It’s far from the most difficult question, it’s actually pretty straightforward.
But it can qualify as one of the most awkward questions you will ever have the (dis)pleasure of answering.
But no matter the awkwardness, we got you covered and will get you good and ready to answer that question with confidence.
What we are going to cover as topics in this article is:
- Why employers ask “What are you passionate about?”
- How do you know what your passions are?
- How to answer the question with some cool examples to get you started
- Some tips for giving the best answer
- What Not to say
- Examples of hobbies and interests that you can add to your resume
If you need some additional help, not only with that question but with interview preparation as a whole, you should let us help you Nail Your Next Job Interview.
So let’s not waste any more time and dive into your passions and how to show them appropriately to the employer.
Employers love asking the question “What are you passionate about?”, but why?
Well, there are a couple of reasons.
For starters, companies want to know more about you as a person, rather than just check if you meet the job requirements and are a good fit for the position.
They want to hire someone who is passionate about their work and life and will bring their energy into the company’s teams.
When a hiring manager asks you about your passions, they want to know what you value and what you are motivated by. The passion you chose to share with your potential employer, would speak largely of who you are and what drives you.
Another reason behind this question is that the employer may want to see if you would fit in with their company culture. It’s crucial to the employer to make their teams as efficient as possible.
Areas of passion are also of special interest to the employer because that topic helps them understand how they would need to motivate you if you are hired.
Any passions or hobbies you have will show them whether you are a committed person who follows through with what you believe in, or if you are a well-rounded individual.
We covered the “Why?”, let’s move on to the “How?”s.
When thinking about what passions to share with the employer, there is one bulletproof method you can use.
If you are excited about the job opening, start thinking about what excites you in that particular job. It could be anything.
As soon as you answer that question, you need to ask yourself why that excites you and how it relates to your personal interests.
Using this method, you are guaranteed to have a plausible answer for when the question “What are you passionate about?” appears.
Of course, it’s not absolutely necessary for the passion you share with the employer to be related to the job opening.
Just keep in mind that the answer should only contribute to your overall appearance in the interview. So if you’re on an interview for a marketing specialist and you say that you love playing online video games, the employer might wonder how hard you are going to work.
Okay, now we understand why the employer asks this question and how to decide what passion to share with them. Let’s get to the next level and find out how to answer the question “What are you passionate about?”.
You need to prepare to talk about your passion for a few minutes. Don’t just pick a passion that would sound good to the employer, because they will probably ask you some additional questions, no matter what your passion is, and you will get stuck.
Don’t worry if the passion you chose does not relate to the position you are applying for.
What you need to show here is that you are actively involved and really committed to your passion.
You can use that part of the interview in your favor in one more way. When you answer the question, think about a few things you can share. For example, when did you first start it, or how did you get involved with it. Finding the balance of sharing information about your passion, will show the employer that you are a good conversationalist.
If you can, you can take it one step further. If there is any way to connect your passion to the job you’re applying for, it would improve your chances to get hired.
Ever since I was a little kid, I enjoyed tinkering with things. I first started off trying to modify my bike, and now that passion has grown into modifying actual motorcycles. My specialty is anything between the years 1960 to 1990. It’s a nice way to use my mind and hands to create something tangible. Nothing is more satisfying than when I can get an engine roaring for the first time in years.
My number-one passion is making Indian food. When I was in college, I studied abroad in India for a semester, and ever since then, I have been addicted to perfecting a traditional Chicken Tikka Masala. I find the process of visiting the market to pick out the perfect ingredients to be very relaxing and exciting at the same time. Once a month, I make a large batch to share with anyone who is interested. I’ve even started researching how I can grow my own spices and herbs.
- Have a follow-up question in mind for every passion you mention.
Keep in mind that the employer could ask you some follow-up questions, so you need to know what you are talking about and to be comfortable with it. Provide additional information. For example, if you say that you love reading self-development books, be ready to answer which one is your favorite and how it changed you.
We know that it is cool to read these kinds of books, but don’t say it just to look good. They will know when you answer the follow-up questions.
- Share examples of how you incorporate your passion into your life.
Give examples of how you use the knowledge gained from your passions in your life. Could be volunteer experience, work-life, better relationships with the people around you – colleagues, teammates, etc. If you go with reading self-development books, you could say that you use the things you read in your everyday life. That helped you organize your work better, have the inside motivation, and keep up with the deadlines.
- Be honest with your answer, don’t make it up.
If you just learn off phrases, and the Recruiter asks you a question you don’t expect you wouldn’t be able to answer. And it could give you away. So don’t lie, better be honest. Because it’s easy to be spotted if you are making things up.
- If you feel awkward talking about yourself, think about what makes you happy, and communicate how your passions make you an asset to your potential employer.
The question is pretty straight forward but it’s possible that you don’t really want to dive into your personal life and tell stories about it. This is okay, just think about what you like doing, what makes you happy, and how this could make you better in the position.
For example you could use your love of organizing everything in your life, to emphasize that you would be able to do a good job and keep up with the deadlines. But better really do that, because if you are not organized, the Managers will see it.
- Give a truthful answer that will sound like a distraction which will take away from your ability to work
Having passions and hobbies is really a good thing for the Hiring Manager because you will not be too overwhelmed with work and you won’t burn out. However, there are hobbies that are better away from the knowledge of the Hiring Manager. And these are things that could make you distracted.
For example, if you are playing a lot of video games and they are your passion, maybe you should keep them to yourself and your friends. Video games could be really overwhelming and you could lose track of time. If you are playing until early mornings, the Recruiter could think that you wouldn’t be productive enough through your work time.
- Don’t overemphasize your passion.
Nothing sounds good when emphasized too much. If you talk too much about your passions and hobbies in an interview, it becomes a little bit suspicious. Especially, if you have enough experience as well.
Don’t forget that you are in an interview for a specific position in a particular company. You have to show why you are good for the position, and this includes many more things than just your passions.
Here is a list with hobbies that you can use.
Creativity is an integral part of every successful business. That’s why including hobbies and interests that are creative can help you ensure an interview. Here are some hobbies you can use:
- Graphic design
- Fine art
- Drama and theatre
- Public speeches
These also include performance and visual art.
This shows the Hiring Manager that you enjoy what you do and you’re self-motivated. You’re not doing it for the money, but for the knowledge and happiness. What is more, art gives you multiple perspectives and shows good time management, productivity, and organization skills. Especially when you have a busy schedule.
But if you are not really an art person, analytical hobbies, such as chess, can be a good addition to your resume.
The world around us is developing at a fast pace because of technology. So, having skills in some kind of technology will catch the employer’s eye.
When you’re applying for a role within the IT sector and you have limited experience, consider mentioning interests similar to the job. Recruiters like it when you are curious.
This could include:
- Web design and development
If you’re a worker looking for a position as a Digital Marketing Guru or similar, employers would like to see hobbies or interests connected to marketing. This includes:
- Social media
- Affiliate marketing
If you have started a blog and had marketing activities to make it popular, say it. How many people are reading your blog? How many people are engaging with your posts?
Doing regular sports activities not only helps your health and keeps you in good shape but also shows that you are self-disciplined. Because not everybody likes waking up early to exercise or go for a jog after finishing work.
Volunteering means that you can work in a team and manage your time, because sometimes it could be very time consuming. Volunteering experiences are underrated. They teach you good communication and managerial skills and personal value.
Including your hobbies and interests is important, so start writing them down in your resume.
Now you know how to answer this inevitable question.
Remember, be honest, and give examples of how your passions and hobbies help you develop yourself. Keep it short and sweet.
Prepare answers for follow-up questions so as not to be surprised.
Don’t forget to include your interests in your resume so the Recruiter could ask you about at the interview.
What are your thoughts? What are the follow-up questions that you’ve been asked? Give us a shout out in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!