A common question for candidates during an interview is, what are your hobbies? While it seems a relatively simple question, it’s just as important as other interview questions, and you must come properly prepared.
Hiring managers ask this question to get a better understanding of the candidate. They want to see how you respond to non-routine and random questions unrelated to the job.
How you communicate your answer shows the interviewer how you respond to stress and surprising situations.
If you’ve been wondering how to respond to this question, read on to find out.
- Why Do Interviewers Ask, “What are Your Hobbies?”
- How to Answer, “What are Your Hobbies?”
- Example Answers to Consider
- Additional Tips for Impressing an Interviewer Asking What are Your Hobbies
- Frequently Asked Questions
- So, What are Your Hobbies?
Why Do Interviewers Ask, “What are Your Hobbies?”
To many candidates, “What are your hobbies,” is just one of the common questions interviewers ask.
In fact, some candidates assume it’s a trick question. But it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Interviewers ask such questions to determine if you blend well with the company’s culture.
Remember, when a company hires you, it’s not just asking you to perform the regular duties but also interacting with other people. Here are more reasons for hiring managers to ask this question:
To Find Out if Your Extra-curricular Activities are Valuable
Interviewers ask the question to determine if your hobbies add value to the company.
For example, if you’re a soccer fan, it shows you’re a good team player. This skill can translate directly to your role, especially when dealing with projects requiring team input.
Demonstrates Leadership Skills
If your hobby involves leading a group in a leisure activity like hiking, charitable events, or other activities, it’s an excellent demonstration of your leadership skills and desires to make a difference.
That You are Honing Your Skills
If you’ve been working on a particular hobby for a long time and looking for ways to better yourself, you’ll likely be viewed as having perseverance. And that could be a huge bonus for the position you could apply for.
Shows You’re a Well-rounded Person
You need to be a well-rounded person, and having hobbies is one aspect that shows you’re a good fit. Hiring managers want to know if you have an array of interests and not just focus on your work 24/7.
Engaging in various activities makes you better equipped to manage different experiences and people on the job. However, you must not list too many hobbies as it implies your inability to make decisions or being stretched too thin.
Ability to Set Goals and Stick to Them
Setting goals and achieving them is essential even when pursuing your hobbies. Demonstrating instances when you’ve reached specific goals is a huge bonus when applying for a job.
It shows you have a sense of purpose and is determined to attain those goals.
How to Answer, “What are Your Hobbies?”
Now that you understand why hiring managers ask the question, how do you answer the question?
Decide on the Answer Ahead of the Interview
It’s easy to provide answers on the spot, but preparing ahead of the interview is important. You don’t want to fumble with words in front of the interviewer because it makes you look undecided.
Here are examples of hobbies you could mention:
- Creative writing
- Listening to music
- Playing an instrument
You want to share something that you enjoy doing. Interviewers can identify somebody who isn’t truthful with their answers.
Explain Why It’s a Hobby
You want to explain why a particular activity is a hobby. A detailed explanation can reveal important details about your interests, strengths, values, and motivations.
For example, if you volunteer at an orphanage, you can talk about how taking care of the kids feels.
Or, if you participate in marathons, for example, to raise cash for charitable courses, talk about the value of discipline and the satisfaction you get after achieving the goals laid out.
Watching movies, hanging out with friends, or watching Netflix could be your favorite pastimes, but they hardly add value to your candidacy.
You want to think of hobbies demonstrating leadership qualities, drive, creativity, and personal development. You may also provide examples to help the hiring manager better understand.
Avoid Controversial Hobbies
Steer clear of controversial hobbies. While they seem like hobbies, they may be seen as huge red flags for interviewers.
You want to avoid talking about:
- Political activities: Avoid sharing activities involving politics. It may create a problem for you when building rapport with your interviewer
- Illegal activities: Such activities come off as huge red flags and may even prevent you from getting a job
- Scenarios that may make you appear unreliable: If you stay out till late partying, you want to avoid mentioning it because you come off as an unreliable employee
Sometimes you can’t seem to identify a specific hobby. Sharing an interest that you had in college or high school could save you.
You may have been involved in a local sports team in high school or a group in college. Such hobbies could answer your question.
Use an Example
Share an example to make your answer more specific. You may use the STAR technique to explain a situation and task you need to perform.
Then explain the actions you took and the results achieved. This strategy helps you demonstrate critical details and skills used to accomplish the task.
Example Answers to Consider
The best answers demonstrate how you spend time developing your personal and professional skills. It’s also an excellent opportunity to show skills that could benefit the company’s culture.
Example Answer 1
I love standup comedy and have recently started doing it at the local club in our neighborhood. My interest in comedy grew out of the need to overcome my fear of public speaking.
Throughout my high school and college days, I feared speaking in public. My throat would clench, and my hands and forehead would get all sweaty every time I went in front of people.
However, I realized I had to overcome this fear as my career (public relations) involved talking in public. Standup comedy has helped me ease into public speaking, and I no longer fear doing it.
Why This Answer Works
This answer focuses on the candidate’s determination to overcome fear and nurture soft skills while at it. It highlights his positive attitude in overcoming his fear of public speaking, a valuable interpersonal skill.
Also, the candidate shows he was courageous enough to overcome his fear. He never allowed the fear of public speaking to hinder him from pursuing his dreams.
Example Answer 2
I’ve always loved soccer. It was my favorite sport throughout my high school and college years. Even in my career, I’ve always followed European soccer matches keenly.
More recently, my interest in the game re-awakened after joining the local football team in my neighborhood. I love the team spirit around the sport and the competitiveness fostered.
Since I have vast experience in the sport, I help the coach organize the schedule for the team.
Why This Answer Works
Although the candidate explains his interest in soccer, he highlights strengths that would be useful in his everyday work routine. He says he loves the team spirit indicating that he’s a team player.
Also, his ability to help organize the team’s schedule shows he’s organized. He also reveals he loves the sport’s competitive nature showing he is agile, aggressive, and has a high level of endurance.
Example Answer 3
I love the outdoors; camping has been a great way to explore. I’ve been an avid camper since my high school years.
I would join a group of camping buddies and explore different camping sites around the country. My interest in the activity didn’t wane even after settling down.
I found a partner who loved exploring the outdoors, too, and as such, we’ve always organized camping trips for the family every year.
More recently, we began inviting other families that love camping to join us. Planning a camping trip for four or five families with kids requires a lot of coordination, but I’ve always loved every bit.
Why This Answer Works
This answer shows the candidate’s interest in nature, friends, and family. This is a great strength for an organization focused on environmental courses.
Also, his ability to coordinate a trip for more than one family indicates he has high-level organization, scheduling abilities, and project management.
Additional Tips for Impressing an Interviewer Asking What are Your Hobbies
Telling the interviewer what your hobbies are is needed. How you deliver it could make or break your answer.
Here are some tips you could use to impress your interviewer:
1. Relate the Hobby to the Company
The job description can help you identify the skills the company wants, making it easy to connect them with the skills you’ve developed. For example, if you’re a football coach, you can demonstrate different skills like communication, leadership, teamwork, and organization.
2. Be Brief
You want to give a concise answer when explaining something you’re passionate about. Be brief and straightforward while including specific details about the activity.
Then provide an example where you used one of the company’s desired skills while participating in the activity. Also, mention the results of your actions to demonstrate your skills more clearly.
3. Mention the Skills You’ve Developed
The best hobbies help you develop skills valuable to the employer. Create a list of skills you’ve gained while participating in the activity.
In our second example, the candidate mentions that he embarked on standup comedy to overcome his fear of public speaking. Other desirable skills you could mention are:
- Time management
- Interpersonal skills
Additional Questions to Be Aware Of
Interviewers often ask about one’s hobbies towards the end of the interview. As such, you must be adequately prepared to answer other questions like:
- Tell Me About Yourself? This is an opportunity to sell yourself in the most concise and compelling way
- What Makes You Unique? Here the candidate highlights his skills (hard and soft skills), personal attributes, personality traits, and experiences
- What Do You Like to Do for Fun? An interviewer asks this question to find out if you’ve hidden talents valuable to the company’s culture
- What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? You want to express the desire to grow with the company
- What are Your Interests? Interviewers ask this question to identify your favorite hobbies or what you like doing in your free time
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the frequently asked questions regarding, ‘what are your hobbies?’
How can you describe your hobbies?
The best way to describe your hobbies is to provide details. For example, if you say you love arts and crafts, go on and explain that you love doing things with your hands or are creative.
What are five interesting hobbies to have?
Drawing, cooking, playing football, and dancing are great examples of hobbies you can mention in an interview.
What is the best hobby in life?
Beyond making a great pastime, a good hobby should help you keep fit, be creative, and meet other people.
So, What are Your Hobbies?
This guide goes a long way in helping candidates answer the question, “What are your hobbies?” satisfactorily.
Remember, it’s an opportunity for the interviewer to learn more about your strengths and interests beyond your regular work schedule. Therefore, you want to mention hobbies that show you’ll be valuable to the company.