Interview Question: "What Are Your Hobbies and Interests?"
Having hobbies and interests outside of the workplace allows you to explore your passions and become a more well-rounded person. While an interviewer may ask you to elaborate on the education and experiences listed on your resume, they may also ask what you like to do for fun or how you spend your time on the weekends. In this article, we show you how to determine your applicable hobbies and interests, relate them to the job you’re interviewing for and provide you an example to answer the question, “What are your hobbies and interests?”
Planning your answer
Take some time to evaluate your extracurricular activities and understand what potential value your personal hobbies and interests might have to your prospective employer. Here are some steps you can use to plan your answer:
1. Select applicable hobbies and interests
While you may have many interests and hobbies outside of work, it is wise to discuss those you can easily relate to your new position. Some common extracurricular activities to mention during an interview include:
Volunteering, community service or charity work
Sports such as competing on a team or in a league, hiking or other exercise
Creative arts, including writing, music, painting and crafts
Cooking or gardening
2. Identify skills or qualities
You can select the most applicable extracurricular activities by determining what skills or qualities you developed with those activities. Make a list of your hobbies and interests, and then write out all the abilities and characteristics you gained or improved from each activity. Some options might include:
Planning and organization skills
Communication and interpersonal skills
Determination and commitment
Creative thinking and problem solving
Read More: 10 Best Skills to Include on a Resume
3. Find relations between your extracurricular activities and the job
You can compare the expectations in the job description to your list of hobbies and interests. This step allows you to make clear connections between your skills and those your interviewer is likely to discuss in your interview.
In addition to personal values, your extracurricular activities can also demonstrate a passion for your industry. If you are in a creative field, perhaps your hobbies include artistic expression such as writing or theater performance. You might also pursue professional opportunities involved with similar charities or causes you support outside of work.
To prepare a quality answer, consider:
Reviewing the job description. Many employers indicate the skills the company requires to perform daily responsibilities, as well as the preferred character traits of their desired candidate. Identify what qualities your potential employer requires for the job, and compare them to those from your extracurricular activities.
Researching the company. There are many resources that can provide you information on a company’s culture and values. The “About Us” page of a company website often includes their mission statement, history and various accomplishments they’re proud of. Their social media activity and external media coverage can also provide insight into what they value. Compare their company culture and values to the ones you embrace in your extracurricular hobbies and interests.
How to answer “What are your hobbies and interests?”
Once you have a comprehensive list of your hobbies and interests with respective skills, qualities and values, you can plan a response to the question that clearly shows what unique value you can bring to this position. Follow these tips to craft a brief and compelling answer:
1. Identify the extracurricular activity.
Name one or a few applicable hobbies and interests. Providing one can keep your answer short and concise, and discussing two or three allows you to showcase your variety of extracurricular activities. Be sure to keep the description of your hobby or interest brief unless your interviewer asks you to elaborate.
2. Highlight your skills, qualities or values.
This part of your answer should refer to your comprehensive list of extracurricular activities. Discuss the activities that prepare you for training, tasks and other workplace success.
3. Relate the hobby or interest directly to the company.
Make it clear how your extracurricular activities make you a good fit for the company in terms of your values or passions. Consider discussing the company’s recent involvement in charity work or its positive employee reviews.
4. Use an example to show skills, qualities or values in action.
You can make your answer even more specific by providing a brief example of your hobby or interest. Try using the STAR method to identify a situation and the task you needed to complete. Then, outline your actions, and present the results. This strategy can help you focus on the important details and demonstrate your skills, qualities or values.
5. Discuss possible opportunities to use your extracurricular activity on the job.
Some of your extracurricular activities may be directly applicable to this particular position or company. Consider ending your response with a question about how you might be able to bring these specific skills or passions to the workplace. Asking your potential employer if they encourage community service, employ creative expression during coworker bonding activities or promote health and fitness goals among employees can show your interest in being an engaged member of the organization.
Here are a few examples of quality answers that showcase the value of hobbies and interests to potential employers.
Example 1: Volunteer work
“Once a month, I volunteer at the local food bank. During my last volunteer shift, I was responsible for sorting dry goods so that each package contained a certain amount of each food. I organized the different cans and boxes by type, and I worked with the other volunteers to correctly bag the goods and provide food to the 300 community members in need.
Volunteering at the food bank not only introduces me to new people but also allows me to serve my community. I interact with many people of different backgrounds who share my passion for giving back. I understand that your company participates in a food drive that helps the food bank. Do you ever schedule company outings that include volunteering in the community?”
Example 2: Competing on a sports team
“I’ve played sports since high school, so I joined a local softball league to stay in shape and meet new people in the area. I’m the captain of our team this year, so I ask my team to show up an hour early to warm up and run some plays before the game. I even helped a fellow team member improve their swing. I encourage everyone to communicate during the game and try to keep each player involved so they can get more experience. I want to be a leader in my next employment position, and my experience as a team captain has provided me opportunities to conduct training and boost morale in tough situations.
I actually saw that you had a field day for your last company event. Do you commonly do outdoor activities for team outings?”
Example 3: Traveling
“I love traveling, and I try to take a trip every season. On my last trip to Boston, my flight was delayed, and I had a show to get to. As soon as I found out about the delay, I called my hotel to confirm a later check-in. I knew I would have enough time to make my show, but I scheduled my rideshare from the hotel to the theater to save time. Once I got to my hotel, I had about 10 minutes to settle into my room and then get into my rideshare to the theater.
Traveling allows me to adapt to new situations and use my organization and planning skills to ensure I have the most fun I can. I try to anticipate possible delays and other interruptions in my travel and always have a list of important contacts, such as my hotel front desk or travel coordinator. These strategies prepare me for many possible situations, which is how I approach my event and travel planning as an administrative assistant."