Answering “what are your hobbies?” in an interview

When you’re deep in job interview mode, a seemingly unrelated question like, “What are your hobbies?” might throw you for a loop. Is your hobby supposed lớn show what a dedicated employee you’d be? Are pivot tables a hobby?

“Job candidates often fear that interviewers will ask them ‘trick’ questions or expect a ‘right’ answer,” says career coach Jennifer Fink, founder of Fink Development. Personal questions can spark this anxiety even more than other common interview questions. But it’s not a trick. Interviewers asking about what you vị for fun actually want to lớn hear you talk about your hobbies.

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Read on khổng lồ find out how to lớn choose a hobby to lớn talk about, what to include in your answer, and what an answer to, “What are your hobbies?” might look like.

Why vì chưng interviewers ask about your hobbies?

When companies interview people, they’re looking to lớn answer two key questions:

Can you do the job? What will you bring khổng lồ the company as a coworker?

You’re not just getting hired to vị a specific job, you’re getting hired to join a team và contribute lớn the business & its culture. So interviewers want khổng lồ get a sense of who you are as an individual and as a teammate.

In asking this question, the interviewer may even be trying to lớn help you. “Many interviewers understand the căng thẳng of the interview process and may want khổng lồ ask questions to lớn create a friendly dialogue to ease the candidate’s nerves,” Fink says. “Asking about someone’s outside interests is meant to be a low-stakes question that most candidates can respond lớn off the cuff.” By giving you the chance to lớn talk about something you love & are passionate about, this question can allow you to relax & let your personality shine through.

How vị I choose a hobby to lớn talk about?

On your job hunt, you might have been encouraged lớn tailor everything—whether that be your cover letter, resume, or interview responses—to the specific position you’re applying to. But with this question, that’s less important. You should certainly keep the job in mind as you’re selecting a hobby to talk about, but that’s not nearly as high a priority as choosing one that’s truly important lớn you.

If you have more than one major hobby, that’s when you can start taking the specific job into account. “Ask yourself: Is this something that would showroom to my profile?” says Muse career coach Lynn Berger, founder of Lynn Berger Career Coaching. For instance, if you’re applying lớn a job that requires creativity, you might mention that you write short stories or if the company really pushes teamwork & you can mention a team thể thao you play.

You might also choose a hobby that shows how you would địa chỉ cửa hàng to the company’s work environment. While you’re researching a company before interviews, you’ll see that some companies or teams will publicize the more social aspects of working there on their website, social media, or Muse profile. So take cảnh báo of any group activities you come across that align with the hobbies you already have. For example, if they highlight their karaoke nights and you love lớn sing, mentioning that might help interviewers picture you as part of the team.

But don’t fall into a trap of elevating or inventing a hobby just because you think it’s the “right” one. “I use what I gọi the two-minute rule here with my clients. If you can talk about whatever it is for two minutes passionately, it’s worth mentioning,” Fink says. If you can’t, then choose something else. You’ll come across as more genuine than trying khổng lồ force it. And definitely don’t try to lớn pad out your answer by talking more about the job: “Answering in a way that ties directly to lớn the job mô tả tìm kiếm may kết thúc up coming across as disingenuous or inauthentic,” Fink says.

Example hobbies lớn talk about in a job interview

Here are some possible hobbies & interests you might base an answer around. But this is just lớn get you thinking! You should definitely feel không lấy phí to choose something that’s not on this list.

BakingCampingCollectingCookingCrossfitDancingDog trainingDrawingExploring new placesGaming (board, video, or other kinds of games)GardeningGoing to museumsHikingKayakingLearning new languagesMakeupMusic (playing, listening to, or attending concerts or performances)PaintingPhotographyPuzzlesReadingRunningSculpting Sports (playing, watching, coaching, or managing a fantasy team)Technology and/or gadgetsTravelingTrying new cuisines, dishes, drinks, or restaurantsVolunteeringVideographyWoodworkingWritingYoga

What kinds of hobbiesshould I avoid?

As far as what not khổng lồ talk about, there are a few guidelines. In general, you should avoid:

Mentioning anything that’s potentially illegal, lượt thích cultivating marijuana or sports betting in states where it’s not permitted.Indicating you might not be a reliable employee. For example, saying that your hobby is “partying with friends” would give an interviewer doubts about your ability lớn show up on time & on schedule. (It also doesn’t really tell them what you’re passionate about or why.)Saying you have no hobbies.

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Not only are you not making an effort to answer the question, but you’re also throwing away an opportunity for your interviewer lớn get to know you better.

Other than these categories, “Interviewers want lớn get a sense of what makes you tick, what makes your eyes light up, so any hobby that you can talk about with enthusiasm & insight is probably acceptable,” Ravis says. Don’t avoid talking about something you truly love just because it seems weird or it’s not related lớn the job.

What if I don’t have any hobbies?

There’s most likely something in your life that you care about & do frequently, even if you wouldn’t hotline it a hobby. In fact, this question is sometimes phrased as, “What vì chưng you vì chưng for fun?” or “What vì you do outside of work?” without using the word “hobby” at all.

Remember that you don’t have to vày something as part of a formal class or group for it khổng lồ count as a hobby. And you definitely don’t have to spend money on it. Hobbies can be as simple as reading, exercising, taking walks to lớn explore new places, or cooking new foods.

If your hobby is more of an interest, that’s fine, too. Maybe you’re fascinated by fashion & read and watch everything you can about current trends, or maybe you’re a history buff who loves books about little-known historical events & spends part of every vacation at a museum.

If you don’t have much không lấy phí time right now, it’s perfectly OK to lớn use something you’ve done in the past that you hope to vày more of in the future. Or maybe you just love to lớn try new things. Going out khổng lồ experience something new whenever you can is also an interest you can talk about, and curiosity is a valued chất lượng for an employee, Berger says.

Read More:4 Ways to lớn Find a Hobby You Love

Regardless of which hobby, interest, or activity you choose to lớn talk about, you don’t want to lớn just say what it is and then stop speaking. Và you don’t want khổng lồ just tie it back lớn the job description. So what vị you say? Here are a few tips:

Talk about how you partake in your hobby. Start by giving a bit of detail about what your hobby looks like for you. Sure, you like creating art, but what kind of art? Are you taking a class or bởi you paint on the weekends in your backyard? Consider sharing a quick story or anecdote. How did you get into your hobby? do you have any compelling experiences you can share? How has the way you participate in your hobby changed over time?Discuss why this is your hobby.“Two different people can have the same hobby for two very different reasons, so it"s important lớn let the interviewer know why you care about your hobbies or activities,” Fink says. Your explanation can reveal a great khuyễn mãi giảm giá about your interests, motivations, strengths, và values. For example, if you volunteer at an animal shelter you can talk about how good you feel knowing that the cats và dogs feel safe và cared for. Or if you run marathons, you might talk about how you value discipline và the satisfaction you get from achieving the goals you’ve laid out for yourself, Ravis says. Be honest và authentic. At the kết thúc of the day, “Conveying genuine enthusiasm and a sense of what role it serves in your life is more important than the specific activity you choose lớn talk about,” Ravis says.

So how would an answer to this question sound? kiểm tra out these sample answers—and what makes them work.

Example answer 1

“One of my big interests has always been soccer. I played throughout school, and in college when I studied abroad in Spain, my passion for the sport was reawakened because of how enthusiastic the people around me were. I still follow European teams and I play with a local rec team. I even help arrange the schedule for the whole league including times & locations. Last year, I coached my daughter’s soccer team for the first time. They’re only four, but getting lớn pass on something I love is so rewarding và there’s a lot of satisfaction in figuring out the best way lớn teach each of the kids a new skill.”

This answer focuses on soccer but reflects a few of the candidate’s strengths và values. Arranging a schedule for an entire league shows that they’re organized. Coaching their daughter’s team shows that they value spending time with family, passing on knowledge, & making sure that each person on a team is able to lớn thrive. Plus, working with a group of four year olds implies a lot of patience và understanding!

Example answer 2

“I’m a huge foodie. My friends & I love trying new restaurants in town as soon as they open—the more unusual the better! I love discovering new foods & cuisines, and it’s also a great activity to nói qua with friends. I try to go out with the same group at least once a week & it’s a fun way khổng lồ make sure we keep in touch and share experiences even when we’re busy with other things. We even took a trip to thành phố new york City và spent each day in a different neighborhood, buying something to cốt truyện from a few restaurants.”

This answer shows an interviewer that the candidate is open-minded và values friendship and new experiences. They also love food and going out lớn eat and maybe that’s an activity they can cốt truyện with their future coworkers!

Example answer 3

“I love camping. As a kid, I went with my siblings & parents to a different national park every summer và really grew khổng lồ appreciate natural beauty and enjoy discovering new ways lớn entertain ourselves away from the usual options. Now, I go with my friends, my partner và kids, or even on my own whenever I can. It’s become a great way lớn escape from technology & really connect with people or reflect on myself. My family still does a yearly trip lớn a different national park too—but now I’m the one planning it và there are way more spouses and children involved so it takes a lot of coordination to get things to run smoothly.”

While this answer is about one hobby, it shows a lot of things you’re interested in & care about, such as nature, family, friends, self-reflection, và creativity. An answer lượt thích this could especially work for an organization focused on the environment. Plus, the last line hints at some project management & scheduling abilities.

The interview question “What are your hobbies?” is a great chance lớn show your interviewer who you are outside of work và make a connection on a less formal level, Ravis says. “You never know—a common interest in yoga could help you khổng lồ forge a strong connection that leads khổng lồ a second interview!”

But don’t fixate on finding the “perfect” hobby. Instead the emphasis here is on you & what you care about. “As humans, we’re drawn lớn others who have a passion for something, regardless of what it is,” Fink says. So don’t be afraid of this more personal interview question and, above all, just be yourself.

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Regina Borsellino is a NYC-based editor at The Muse covering job tìm kiếm and career advice, particularly resume best practices, interviewing, remote work, and personal & professional development. Before joining The Muse, Regina was an editor for InvestorPlace, where she also wrote about topics such as investing và biotech companies. She holds a bố in English language and literature from the University of Maryland and an MFA in creative writing from American University. Find her on LinkedIn và Twitter.