As one of the most “dangerous” interview questions, “what do you do in your spare time” can be extremely tricky to answer. Talking about your hobbies is a complicated situation because you often find yourself wondering what your interviewer wants to hear.
While you may think that they’re simply wanting to get to know you, which is partly true, they are really trying to get a feel for how your personality outside of work will affect you while in the workplace. Sharing how you like to spend your time is a large, picture window into what you’re really like as a person.
Points to Emphasize
With so many things that you could share, take into account the following things that you should highlight when asked this potentially problematic question.
- Always be honest when answering this question to avoid coming off as phony.
- Try to share hobbies that are relatable to the interviewer and overall company.
- Demonstrate your participation in activities that show how team-oriented you are and that give the hiring manager an idea of your leadership skills.
- Show how well-rounded you are by sharing a variety of different activities; don’t paint yourself into a certain niche.
Remember that the interviewer is first and foremost looking for your openness and confidence when asking a question like this.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Coming out of the interview on top is as easy as avoiding these common pitfalls that many slip into:
- Don’t make up a hobby just because you think it “fits in.”
- Do not share activities that will paint you in a negative light, like saying that you enjoy competing in beer pong tournaments.
- Never answer in a vague, wishy-washy way that might make them feel that you’re untrustworthy.
- Don’t forget to illustrate that you are passionate about bettering yourself through goal-setting and trying new things.
Being aware of potential mistakes is the first step to sailing through your interview unscathed.
Answering this question exceptionally is made easy by following the framework of the response below:
As a husband and father, one of my most rewarding hobbies is helping to raise my children right and spending time with my family. When I’m not doing that, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed running and have loved increasing my distance, spending time in nature and getting into great physical shape. I also have had the opportunity of being voted team captain of my indoor soccer team and have taken pleasure in leading them to victory the past 2 seasons.
With the right response to this question, you can show your interviewer who you really are.