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Interview Question: How to Answer “What Are Your Hobbies?”

June 27, 2021

You’re in a job interview and you’re passed the big questions about your previous professional experience. You’ve replied with flying colors and the interviewer knows without a doubt that you can perform well on the job since you have all the necessary skills. Now that the interviewer is considering you as a top candidate, they will start asking questions like “what are your hobbies and interests?” They want to get to know you as a person to further determine your fit. This seemingly easy question to answer is commonly asked in interviews so don’t let it surprise or stump you. It may feel like a trick question since there is no right answer--and there isn’t, but there are proper ways to answer this question without raising red flags. Talking about your hobbies and interests is simple so make sure you don’t mess it up.

Why interviewers ask, "What are your hobbies and interests?" as an interview question

By this point in the interview, the interviewer knows that you have the technical skills to do the job you’re applying for. Now they are wondering if you’d be a good teammate to work with for the upcoming years. Sure, an interviewer could be looking for a candidate with a particular shared interest in common with everyone else. They want to know if you will fit in, contribute to the company culture, and mesh with the rest of the team.

How to choose a hobby

The first and most important thing when choosing a list of 2-3 hobbies is to be honest. “What are your interests or hobbies” is one of the only questions that you won’t need to do extensive research in order to tailor a proper answer to it. Though, of course, it should be a no-brainer that if you’re interviewing for a music-related company, talk about your love for music, or if you’re interviewing for a fitness-related company, talk about keeping active.

There are ways in which you can slightly tailor your answer to the position you’re applying for. For instance, if the job has a heavy emphasis on teamwork, talk about how you love team sports and playing in a band. If the job requires a lot of traveling and you love going to new places, say it. Really, any hobby that requires teamwork will resonate with the job. You can find hobbies that show transferable skills for any required soft skill whether it be leadership, creativity, or communication. Interviewers want to see you jazzed about what you do, so use this opportunity to show the positivity you can bring to the company.

What not to do when answering this interview question

While there are many hobbies you may have, there are also topics that you should avoid talking about. Leave the following topics out of the conversation:

  • Unprofessional activities: There are a good amount of activities that may be harmless but will cast you in a bad light. For instance, bar hopping. Though it may be enjoyable to many, leave alcohol and partying out of your answer.
  • Illegal Activities: Gambling and other types of betting that are illegal in your country or state are a huge no-no. In fact, really anything illegal is a topic to avoid.
  • Controversial hobbies: Stay away from anything controversial such as political protesting, hunting for sport, or anything else that isn’t widely accepted.
  • Other things that could raise red flags, such as saying you have no hobbies. Let the interviewer get to know you by letting your personality shine through.

Want more interview prep? Check out our posts on: 

Interview prep for Founding Engineers

How to answer the interview question, what do you bring to the company

How to talk about a career change

How to talk about your long-term career goals

For other interview tips, check out our other posts on interviewing on the blog.

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