What are you passionate about? This question isn’t just difficult to answer during a job interview. It’s difficult to answer, period.
To answer this question as organically as possible, you have to be honest with what excites you and gets you passionate. Learning about the question, yourself, and what the interviewer is fishing for will prepare you to answer it better.
Let’s get into why interviewers ask this question and provide you with some sample answers to give you a better idea of how to answer “what are you passionate about.”
- Why Do Interviewers Ask, “What Are You Passionate About?”
- How to Answer “What Are You Passionate About?”
- Examples: How to Answer “What Are You Passionate About?”
- Additional Tips for Impressing an Interviewer Asking What Are You Passionate About?
- Additional Questions to Be Aware Of
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping Up
Why Do Interviewers Ask, “What Are You Passionate About?”
The reason interviewers ask this question is similar to why you ask personal questions to strangers. You want to get to know that person better.
What better way to do that than by learning what they love?
Before hiring someone, you want to ensure their values and enthusiasm align with company values, so a question like this is common.
What is the Interviewer Looking For?
If you want to answer this question, you have to be ready to find what the interviewer is looking for in your response.
Hone your interviewing techniques to really determine how to answer. While it’s a personal question, and there is no horrible way to answer, you must consider what the interviewer is trying to get from your response.
- Emotion: The interviewer is looking to see how passionate you are about what you’re talking about. Any positive emotion is great to show when talking about something you care about. It lets the interviewer know you’re telling the truth and truly have a passion.
- Knowledge of your passion: The next thing the interviewer is looking at is how knowledgeable you are about your passion. It will give them a great idea of how much you’re willing to learn about something you truly care about, which is a great skill to add to any company.
- How it aligns with the company: While not necessary, you might earn bonus points if your passion aligns with company values in some way. For example, if your passion is art or calligraphy and you’re applying for a graphic design position.
How to Answer “What Are You Passionate About?”
When answering this question, you want the interviewer to see your enthusiasm. The best way to do this is to learn more about yourself and get an idea of what motivates and drives you.
Ask yourself, what am I passionate about? There has to be something in your life that gets you excited thinking about and doing.
What to Focus On When Answering This Question
When answering this question, you must focus on how well you translate your emotions. If you’re passionate about something, it’s not too hard, but if you’re lying, it’s nearly impossible to get the right emotions across.
Here are a few things you must focus on when answering this question.
- Show emotion: When responding to the interviewer, ensure you convey some positive emotion to show your passion. If you’re not showing emotion, the interviewer will doubt that you genuinely care about what you’re discussing.
- Focus on detail: Show how knowledgeable you are about your passion. The interviewer wants to know about your passion, particularly if they have never heard of it. Show them that when you care about something, you do everything you can to learn about it.
- Focus on your current passion: People have more than one passion, but during this interview, it’s best to focus on a passion that you’re currently interested in. You’ll have it fresh in your head, both knowledge and emotion, which will make your response smoother.
What to Avoid When Answering This Question
You have a fantastic foundation for what to focus on when answering, but part of the interview process is understanding what to avoid.
Here are a few key things you want to avoid when answering this question.
- Don’t lie: The first, and most important thing, is not to lie about your passion. People often lie about their passion to relate to the interviewer or company better. Don’t do this. If your passion doesn’t align with company values, it’s completely fine.
- Don’t fake your emotions: Don’t try and trick your interviewer by faking your emotions, be honest. If you’re talking about something you’re passionate about, you should be smiling, at the very least.
- Don’t talk too much: When you’re passionate about something, you can drone on for too long. While that’s great, it can get tiring for the interviewer. Tell them what they need to know and if they ask for more detail, provide it.
Examples: How to Answer “What Are You Passionate About?”
Now that you have the basics let’s get into some real examples. First, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Everyone has a different personality type and passion, so I’ll try to cover varied approaches for different personalities.
Second, remember you want to provide some detail, show some enthusiasm, and include the interviewer when possible.
“I’m extremely passionate about art. Every weekend I take time to paint, draw, or go to art museums. Since I was a kid, art has been an outlet for me in the rough patches of my life, so it’s always held a special place in my heart. I can show you some of my art if you’d like to see it.”
Why This Answer Works
This response is fantastic because of how attentive the speaker is in providing detail and including the interviewer. In your response, it’s always a great idea to add some backstory about how or why you became passionate about something.
In this response, the speaker goes into detail about the how and why, which makes her response more real and personal.
Something powerful you can do is show the interviewer your passion. It’s not always possible, but with phones, we have access to photos and social media, so if you can show your art, activities, or any of your passions, do it.
“Nothing gets me more excited than baking, and I go all out during parties and gatherings. Seeing the looks on everyone’s faces when they try my desserts puts the biggest smile on my face. It would mean the world to me if you tried one of my cupcakes sometime.”
Why This Answer Works
This response works because the speaker can convey genuine enthusiasm for their passion.
This approach shows that you don’t have to go into too much detail about the passion itself, but how it makes you feel and why it makes you feel that way. Remember, there are more ways to approach than detail dumping your passion.
The speaker describes how it makes them feel by adding words like “excited” and “biggest smile on my face.” They should be smiling and enjoying themselves while recounting their passion. The speaker also hits the mark by including the interviewer.
“I’d say my biggest passion is biking. I ride my beautiful Turbo Creo SL EVO first thing every morning. I love buying and riding new bikes too, but oh boy, does it get expensive. What about you? Ever gone biking before? I’m sure you have at least once.”
Why This Answer Works
This response involves the technical detail of your passion. As you can see from the replies, there are many ways to approach it, so this response works well for an analytical and objective person.
The details about the speaker’s bike show that they don’t just casually bike. They bike regularly and consistently.
You can see that the speaker knows what they’re talking about and tries to include the interviewer in his response. Remember, you’re not talking to a wall. You’re talking to a person. This response provides the right amount of detail without overloading the interviewer.
Additional Tips for Impressing an Interviewer Asking What Are You Passionate About?
You now know how to respond, but other applications probably do too, so what can you do to stand out from your competitors? It’s simple, focus on translating your emotions and intentions better than anyone else.
Here are some tips to help you do just that.
- Show your enthusiasm: It’s crucial to maintain control of your emotions during an interview, but let your enthusiasm leak out for this particular question. The interviewer must see your passion even if they can’t relate on a personal level.
- Don’t fake your emotions: It’s not difficult for someone who spends hours interviewing people to sniff out people who aren’t genuine. Be honest with yourself and your passion. Remember, it’s not about being more passionate than other applications. It’s about being passionate, period.
- Provide some detail: While too much detail can stifle the interview’s flow, just enough will land you in a favorable spot with the interviewer. Provide some detail that gives context to why you’re passionate about something.
- Show examples: You’ll earn major points if you can illustrate your passion, and with social media, it’s become easier to showcase your passion to the world. If you can, show the interviewer your passion, but don’t be too insistent if they aren’t interested in seeing it.
Additional Questions to Be Aware Of
The questions interviewers ask will vary, and they won’t just ask you this question. Be prepared.
Here are some other questions that may come up during your interview.
- What Motivates You To Do a Good Job?: They’ll ask this question to get an idea of what it takes for you to put in the effort to complete a task.
- What Makes You Unique?: This personal question will help you to stand out amongst the other applicants.
- What is Your Greatest Strength?: This question gathers information about your skills and what you can bring to the organization.
- What Do You Look to Do For Fun?: Another personal question to get to know you better and what your idea of “fun” is.
- What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?: Any interviewer may ask this question to determine if you’ll pursue a different career eventually.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions about how to answer “what are you passionate about.”
What are 3 great things to be passionate about?
While it’s completely subjective as to what are great things to be passionate about, three great passions to have many include animals, learning, and fitness.
What is a passion in simple words?
It’s something that brings you joy and excitement.
You’ll always want to answer your interviewer honestly, regardless of your passion. Don’t lie, don’t fake your emotion, but above all else, show your enthusiasm for your passion.
It’s not a trick question, don’t be nervous about answering. You got this.
Reflect on yourself and find out what you’re passionate about. Once you do that, the interview question will answer itself.