Some interview questions are difficult to answer, and others can catch us off guard. The question “what are your hobbies outside of work?” may seem insignificant at first. After all, how will your answer affect your performance? Do recruiters care about your personal life?
Recruiters ask this question for two reasons. First, they want to see if you are a well-rounded person. Second, they want to check how your hobbies relate to your main work tasks.
But most of all, recruiters want to test culture fit. Unless yours hobbies or interests controversial, too simple, or irrelevant, your recruiter won’t judge you for how you spend your free time. In fact, they will likely disqualify you if you have no hobby at all.
How to plan “What are your hobbies?” Answer
By taking the time to evaluate your hobbies and interests, you can determine how these activities might benefit your future employer.
Here’s how to plan your response.
1. Write down applicable interests and hobbies
There are hundreds of hobbies that could easily be related to your new position. For example, travel, volunteering, sports, creative pastimes or gardening. Even seemingly irrelevant hobbies can be relevant if you focus on the skills you have gained from your favorite activity.
Do some employers use the hobby question as an ice breaker? Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan your response. Employers appreciate it when you think through your answers, as it helps them see your overall culture as a fit and gauge how passionate you are.
2. Identify relevant qualities, talents and skills
Whether you are looking for online job opportunities such as at Lens, or in person, each job posting will describe the ideal candidate. For example, an employer may ask for someone with teamwork, patience or adaptability as they can complement the role.
If you have any of the qualities required in the job posting, be sure to include them in your resume. Not only will this help you bypass the ATS software (as it evaluates your suitability based on keywords), but you will need to match these qualities with your relevant hobbies and interests.
3. Find the relationship between your passions and skills
Let’s say you’re an avid reader and you’re applying for a customer service position. It may be hard to see the connection between customer service and reading (besides reading work papers), but reading actually increases focus, improves empathy, and reduces stress.
A customer service agent must be focused to listen to customers, empathetic to give good advice, and relaxed to avoid frustration. By emphasizing the positive aspects of the reading, you establish yourself as a determined, kind, and understanding customer service agent.
How to answer the question “What are your hobbies?” Question
It’s a good idea to practice answering common interview questions so you don’t say something wrong or slur.
Here’s how to answer the question “What are your hobbies?” interview question.
1. Search the company for clues
Some employers will respond more positively to specific answers. For example, some employers want you to connect your hobbies with work, while others expect you to have a life outside of work. Research the company culture determine what they value and what response they prefer.
2. Choose one hobby or activity
Some of us have more than one hobby, but you should keep your answer focused during the interview. This allows you to spend more time discussing the skills you have acquired while indulging in this hobby. If you don’t have a hobby, choose something you do every day, like cooking.
3. Smile while talking about it
Our hobbies bring us joy, and your employer wants to see if your happiness shines through when discussing your interests. You might forget to smile because you’re nervous. Before you answer, check your body to make sure you’re relaxed, making eye contact, and smiling.
4. Discuss company culture fit
Your employer is wondering if you have hobbies make you more or less productive. However, they may seek cultural similarities. If you have recently volunteered at an animal shelter, ask if the potential employer is involved in any charitable activities and if they plan to do so in the future.
5. Use an example in action
If your hobby is volunteering, don’t say “volunteering” without context. Talk about how this experience introduced you to new people or helped you understand your community. You can also talk about a time when you used the skills you learned to help other volunteers or clients.
6. Ask about future opportunities
Some employers or jobs will apply directly to your company. For example, many companies will voluntarily donate their time or money to a cause. Asking your potential employer if they encourage employee participation, creativity or health can show your interest in the company.
7. Don’t be or act too personal
The last thing you want to do is offend a potential employer, so avoid discussing conflicting hobbies, asking the interviewer personal questions, or talking at length about your hobbies. Focus on common interests and answer briefly (write 3-4 sentences).
About the author
Sarilaya Kada is a freelance content writer. She is interested in a wide range of fields, from project management to education and engineering.