Personal questions like “What do you like to do” or “What do you do in your spare time” are asked so that the interviewer can get a better sense of who you are as a person.
Although this might seem like an easy question to answer, you need to be somewhat thoughtful with your response. You want to talk about hobbies that are relevant to you, but you also want to avoid mentioning hobbies that could potentially distract you from your work. You also want to avoid talking about your interests so passionately to the extent where the interviewer thinks you would be much happier pursuing your hobby than this career.
Points to Emphasize
Your answer should reflect that you are a well-rounded person who has interests outside of work, so use this question as an opportunity to make yourself stand apart from the other job candidates.
- Go into details about your hobbies
- Discuss hobbies that require skills relevant to the position you are applying for
- Be honest about your hobbies
- Talk about your interests passionately
This question is a chance to give the hiring manager a glimpse into your personal life. There is no need to lie about having interests you think the interviewer would like just to get ahead.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Talking about yourself should be easy, but there are certain things to consider before giving your answer in order to avoid losing the attention of the interviewer.
- Don’t talk about unprofessional hobbies (example: going out drinking every night)
- Avoid being vague with your interests
- Avoid coming across as a brown-nose
- Don’t say you lack any interests outside work
An employer will want to hire someone who has something unique to contribute to the team, so talking about your hobbies is a great way to show him or her that you are different from the other applicants.
The specific hobby you talk about does not really matter as long as it is truthful. Your answer should look something along the lines of:
Running marathons is a true passion of mine. Right now I’m training for a full marathon that’s going to happen two months from now. Once that’s over, I’m going to start training to be a better cyclist, so I can compete in more triathlons.
You do not have to go into precise details about your hobbies, but you should talk about them in a way that shows your passion and shows that your personality is more than who you are at work. You may even find that your interviewer has the same hobby!