Interview Tips

How to Answer: What Are Your Hobbies?

By: Mariah Rogers
Jun 19, 2020 • 5 min read
Image Credits: Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

How to Answer: What are your hobbies?

During your interview, the employer may ask you, “What are your hobbies”? This may seem like an unrelated and unimportant question – your hobbies don’t necessarily relate to the job you’re applying for. However, this is a subtle way for the interviewer to learn a lot about you. Employers want to get a well-rounded understanding of their applicants. It is important to hire candidates who will fit in with the company culture and share similar values as longstanding employees. 

So, what if you lack in the hobby department? How do you appear interesting yet professional when asked this interview question? This blog will share some tips on how to nail this question and leave the interviewer impressed. If you are preparing for an upcoming job interview, keep reading. 

1. Tie Your Hobbies to the Company

This question is an excellent way for the interviewer to see if you are a good fit for the position and fit into its current culture. The employer wants to see how well you “mesh” into the current team! If you are stuck on finding an interesting hobby to bring up during your interview, try to utilize the job description to help you out. 

No, we don’t mean to just state that working is your main hobby. (We all know this isn’t true!) Instead, you should try to find similar creative activities inspired by what you do at your 9-5. This will help you come across as much more natural, believable, and genuine.

If you are interviewing for a graphic designer position, mention your passion for drawing and how you make art on the side. If you create individual pieces for commission or simply study art history for fun, go ahead and mention it! Whatever position you are applying for, share the hobbies that inspired you to pursue this as a career.

Example: I love drawing, and doodling ideas is how I spend a lot of my time. I love drawing by hand and sell art prints online. When I realized I could draw electronically, I knew I wanted to do it for a living.

Example: I have always been passionate about problem-solving. As a kid, I was always eager to begin my science fair projects and I enjoyed tinkering with old cars as a teen. This is how I knew that engineering was the right path for me.

Do:

  • Mention hobbies that are related to the company/your desired position
  • Talk about skills your hobby allows you to learn and practice
  • Explain your passion for the hobby and how you hope to grow this spark of interest

Don’t

  • Use examples of activities your old job organized
  • Share hobbies you have lost a love for

person holding jigsaw puzzle piece

2. Focus on Fit 

During your interview, the employer wants to see if you are a good fit for the company. Remember, your initial application materials have already proved your qualifications! Now, the employer wants to know how you will perform as an employee in their specific workplace. 

Do your research on what the company culture is like before your interview date. This way, you will be prepared to talk about the company culture in a meaningful and applicable way to the specific company you are applying for. If there is a running club or a workout club, mention how you would be interested in joining if you were hired! 

Opportunities your prospective company may have to offer: 

  • Volunteer Groups
  • Interest Groups
  • Religious Groups
  • Party/gathering Organizers
  • Hiking Groups
  • Movie/Video Game Groups

Example: I love to go trail running in my free time! It is a great way to get outside and stay active. I saw that this company has a running team, and I would love to join if hired! 

Example: Upon researching (company name), I noticed you offer a chorus group for those who love to sing! I used to do theater in High School, so I would love to join!

Example: I am very passionate about volunteering my time to the local community. This is why I was extremely excited to see that your company offers a community service group! If I were hired, I would love to join. 

Do:

  • Highlight hobbies that show your character and reveal that you are a great fit for the company
  • List hobbies that align with company values
  • Research the company beforehand and practice your response

Don’t

  • Mention controversial hobbies such as certain groups you are a member of
  • Say that relaxing and unwinding after work is all you have time for

what are your hobbies

3. Commit To Answering The Question 

There is only one wrong way to answer this question, and that is to say nothing at all! Spend time coming up with a few of your hobbies that you want to share with your potential employer before your interview. This way, if you are put on the spot and asked this question, you will have a prepared answer to give! The employer wants to see that you are well rounded, talented, and outgoing person. Try to avoid saying, “I don’t have any hobbies right now!” or “I don’t do much outside of work.” 

Even if you are faced with this question unexpectedly, or any interview question for that matter, it is crucial to commit to answering the question to the best of your ability. You don’t have to pinpoint your truest life passion. Instead, take this opportunity to share something you find fun or an interesting fact about yourself!

Unique hobbies you can mention:

  • At-home workouts
  • Cooking/baking
  • Studying geography
  • Traveling
  • Trying new local restaurants
  • Shopping at small businesses
  • Tending to an at-home garden
  • Collecting antiques
  • Home renovations
  • Landscaping

Even though some of these activities might just sound like everyday household chores, they are all an outlet you can use to express your creativity and explore! Even if an activity sounds too mundane to mention in your interview, it’s important to remember that your employer wants to see the passion behind your hobby, instead of just listening to a complex and extravagant way you spend your free time.

Do:

  • Take a moment to collect your thoughts before responding if needed
  • Give multiple answers if you have many hobbies
  • Choose hobbies that are related to the position you are applying for
  • Mention unusual hobbies that show your personality and character

Don’t:

  • Brush off the question and try to change the subject
  • Say that you do not have any hobbies
  • Comment that you wish you could find a hobby you are passionate about
  • Say that working is your hobby

what are your hobbies

4. Explain How Your Hobbies Affect Your Life 

Ensure the company knows that although you love your hobbies, they will not hinder your performance or ability to come to work. Instead, focus on how these hobbies will actually enhance your work ethic and ability to achieve success! Hobbies are often used as a way for us to channel interest, frustration, or just to blow off some steam. As a result, you’ll likely return to work in the morning refreshed, energized, and feeling like your most creative self. 

Ask yourself how your hobbies impact your life positively. Maybe painting or weaving teaches you patience and helps you learn to overcome problems and roadblocks. Or, perhaps running is a way for you to clear your head and allows you to come into work refreshed and ready. Maybe tinkering with antiques trying to refinish them and make a result that is good as new is how you like to spend your free time! Whatever is unique and corky about your hobby, make sure to tie this passion into your overall lifestyle.

Examples

Example: I love running, and I usually go every weekend on Saturday mornings. I also spend a lot of time drawing and making art prints! These activities help me clear my head and de-stress. I also feel much more creative at work after completing these activities in my free time! 

Example: I can’t commit to having a pet all of the time, so I foster animals for a few days out of the week. I always look forward to coming home and seeing their faces! It definitely motivates me to work hard during the day, so I can continue this passion. 

Do:

  • Focus on the positive!
  • Talk about how hobbies ground you and help you feel centered
  • Focus on how hobbies help you spend time working on something you love
  • Comment about how your hobby helps you maintain healthy habits in life
  • Talk about the lessons practicing your hobby has taught you

Don’t:

  • Talk about failed hobbies
  • Talk about hoping to find new interests since you get bored easily
  • Reveal too much personal information, even if the hobby serves as an escape for you

what are your hobbies

5. Give an Example With Each Passion!  

You do not have to craft the most impressive and extravagant response to this interview question. Instead, take this opportunity to let your true colors shine through! The interviewer is curious to know more about your personal life and interests. If you enjoy reading outside or playing video games – these are perfectly acceptable hobbies to bring up during your interview! 

No matter what you say, try to give an example to go along with each hobby. This will make the question less surface level and feel more personal. Share how you became passionate about this specific activity, and this will express your individuality! 

Examples

Example: I love going thrift shopping and upcycling. Instead of spending a lot of money on finished products, I can spend less and then put my own designer’s touch on my clothes. Also, this avoids fast fashion and helps the environment. 

Example: I grew up playing golf with my grandpa. Now, I try to play every day to keep my skills sharp for when I see him during the holidays!

Example: I love going to concerts and listening to local musicians play in restaurants when I go out to eat. So, I bought myself a guitar last Christmas and now I take lessons once a week! This has turned into a great passion and hobby of mine. 

Do:

  • Talk about how your discovered your hobby/passion
  • What you want to do in the future to further develop your hobby/passion
  • Offer interesting facts about your hobby
  • Talk about how your hobby can enhance your professional life

Don’t:

  • Talk about how your hobby is more important than work
  • Speak about spending most of your time working on this hobby
  • Comment about how you hope to make your hobby into a career

6. Focus On Team-Related Hobbies 

If you can, try to focus on hobbies that can be done in a group. Of course, you should never be inauthentic with your potential employer. If you prefer to ride solo – that’s completely okay! On the other hand, if your hobbies lie in sports, gaming, or any other collaborative area, now is the time to highlight your teamwork skills. This will help you come across as a collaborative applicant who has the potential to effectively join any pre-existing team dynamic.

Even if you are a member of a quirky gaming group or simply just kick a soccer ball around with close friends on the weekend – make sure to give these activities a mention! Instead of focusing on the activity itself, try to highlight the role you take within this group or team. Are you in charge of maintaining a consistent calendar to schedule book club meetings? Maybe you are the unofficial captain of your cross country group that jogs around the city in the evenings. However you spend your free time, make sure you indicate the importance of your presence at these events.

Examples

Example: Every Friday night, I join my virtual book club meeting on Zoom! We enjoy reading recently published novels and writing reviews on websites to help other avid readers navigate the wide selection of reads. I am in charge of scheduling the meetings every week, which has actually helped me become very skilled at time management!

Example: On my block, many neighbors are passionate about soccer. So, we made a small team that practices at the local high school field on the weekends. I play the goalie position and it has definitely taught me a lot about teamwork and the importance of being dependable, even in a low-stakes situation! 

Do:

  • Talk about why teamwork is important
  • Speak about what you have learned from your team-oriented hobby
  • Show enthusiasm and respect for teammates
  • Comment something positive about the company team

Don’t:

  • Go into detail about bad experiences working on a team
  • Be disrespectful towards teammates
  • Talk about how you are better than others

7. Keep it Recent 

Our next piece of advice is to try and keep the hobbies you mention fairly recent. While it is fantastic to know you had various passions that kept you active in high school, it is important to keep your occupations up to date. Try to steer clear of mentioning clubs, sports teams, or other activities you participated in more than 5 years ago. This will help keep the conversation fresh and relevant! It also lets the employer know you enjoy being active even while being employed.

So, if you haven’t done the activity in the last 3-5 years, try to keep it out of your interview. People change and grow over time and your employer wants to know what you are interested in currently!

Do:

Example: I currently have served as the head of the environmental committee of my town for the past 2 years. It is an incredible experience and I enjoy attending the weekly meetings!

Don’t:

Example: In high school, I was the varsity football captain. It was a big passion and hobby of mine.

8. Don’t Overlook Volunteer Work

When answering this question, don’t overlook volunteer work! When asked about your hobbies, it is great to bring up your passion for helping others. This will show your selfless and generous character, which are qualities every employer wants to have on their team. Even if you don’t have time to volunteer on a regular basis, feel free to speak about your recent community service experiences and talk about how you would like to dedicate more of your time to this area!

If you are hoping to build some volunteer experience prior to your interview date, we’ve got you covered.

Volunteer opportunities you can explore:

  • Habitat For Humanity
  • Your Local Library
  • Animal Shelters
  • Food Drives
  • Clothing Drives
  • Volunteer at Nursing Homes / Retirement Centers
  • Volunteer at your Local Hospital
  • & Many More Specific to Your Area!

Having a hobby is a great way to clear your mind and distract yourself from work and life stress. If you don’t already have a fun activity you practice, try to pick one up while in quarantine! What are your hobbies you enjoy outside of the workplace? Connect with us on social media and let us know! We would love to hear from you.

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