Unlocking the Impact of Your Hobbies on Job Interviews

The Surprising Ways Your Hobbies Can Sway Interviewers

Your hobbies influence the interviewers in subtle ways that can play to your advantage.

Learn 6 types of hobbies that power up your impression during interviews and 5 types of hobbies that can hamper your chances of getting selected.

And finally, learn strategies and unique approaches to discuss your hobbies during interviews.

Have you ever found yourself stumbling when an interviewer asks, “What are your hobbies?” It’s a common question that can unexpectedly trip up job seekers. Why? Because while our hobbies often reflect our true selves, not all of them might cast the professional light we aim for.

A recent survey found that 40% of employers consider a candidate’s hobbies when making hiring decisions.

The trick isn’t just in having impressive hobbies but in knowing which ones to highlight. Whether you’re a marathon runner, a chess enthusiast, or a blog writer, your hobbies can signal more than just how you spend your free time.

They can subtly communicate your soft skills, work ethic, and cultural fit. So, let’s dive into understanding which hobbies make you shine and which might raise eyebrows, ensuring your response not only resonates but bolsters your interview impact.


Related Reading – Hobbies on Resume – How to Add Them Impactfully


6 Types of Hobbies that Leave a Good Impression on Interviewers

1. Creative Pursuits:

Creative hobbies encompass a broad range of activities, all linked by the common thread of imagination and innovation.

When you talk about your involvement in creative pursuits like painting, writing, or music during an interview, it can signal to the interviewer that you possess a rich inner world, a capacity for original thought, and a knack for expressing complex ideas in new and interesting ways.

Examples of Creative Pursuits:

  • Painting: Suppose you’re someone who enjoys painting landscapes in your free time. This hobby could indicate to an interviewer that you have a keen eye for detail and a patient, deliberate approach to projects, qualities that are beneficial in roles requiring meticulous work.
  • Writing: If writing is your passion, crafting short stories or blogging regularly, this suggests strong communication skills and the ability to articulate thoughts clearly and persuasively. It also implies a disciplined nature, as writing requires consistent effort and dedication to improve.
  • Music: Being musically inclined, perhaps playing an instrument or composing, can be indicative of both creativity and mathematical thinking, since music theory has a strong foundation in mathematics. It also demonstrates your ability to collaborate if you play in a band or ensemble.

Impression on Interviewers:

When you discuss your creative hobbies, it paints a picture for the interviewer of someone who is not just content with the status quo but is always looking for ways to innovate and improve. It sets the impression that you are:

  • Inventive: You’re likely to come up with unique solutions to problems at work.
  • Adaptable: Your creative thinking may allow you to adapt to new situations and challenges with ease.
  • Collaborative: If your creative pursuits involve others, it shows you can work well in teams and value different perspectives.
  • Dedicated: Creative hobbies often require time and patience to develop, signaling your dedication and persistence.

Sharing a story about how a creative hobby helped solve a problem or improved your performance in a previous role can make this point even more impactful.

For example, you might have used your writing skills to draft a winning proposal, or perhaps your ability to think differently, honed through music composition, led to an innovative product idea. These tangible examples help interviewers envision how your creative skills could benefit their organization.

2. Strategic Games

Engaging in strategic games like chess or Go requires foresight, the ability to anticipate an opponent’s moves, and the agility to adapt your strategy in real time. These games are intellectual sports that sharpen the mind and enhance problem-solving capabilities.


If you’re an avid chess player who regularly competes in tournaments, it showcases your analytical skills and your determination to succeed. It also implies that you are someone who is comfortable with planning several steps ahead, a trait that is invaluable in business and project management.

Impression on Interviewers:

When you bring up your passion for strategic games, it suggests to the interviewer that you:

  • Think Strategically: You’re likely to apply these strategic thinking skills to workplace challenges.
  • Are Analytical: You can break down complex situations into manageable parts.
  • Remain Calm Under Pressure: Games like chess require keeping a cool head, which is a desirable quality in high-stakes professional settings.

3. Physical Fitness

Physical fitness activities, such as running, cycling, or team sports, often require a significant level of self-discipline and time management. They also imply that you take your health seriously and understand the importance of balance, which can contribute to higher productivity and fewer sick days.


Let’s say you’re a marathon runner; this not only shows your commitment to setting and achieving long-term goals but also demonstrates that you have the stamina and focus to see tasks through to completion.

Participation in team sports can further indicate that you have experience in teamwork and leadership.

Impression on Interviewers:

Discussing your fitness regimen can convey to the interviewer that you:

  • Have Discipline: You’re likely to apply this discipline to your work, ensuring tasks are completed efficiently.
  • Are Resilient: Physical training often involves overcoming obstacles and pushing through discomfort, which can translate to persistence in the workplace.
  • Value Teamwork: If your fitness activity is team-based, it shows that you understand how to work with others to achieve common goals.

Both strategic games and physical fitness tell the story of someone well-rounded, capable of deep thought, and action-oriented.

They suggest that you are someone who not only plans effectively but also executes those plans, balancing intellectual and physical well-being, which is a combination that can be very appealing to a potential employee.

4. Volunteering

Volunteering is a powerful hobby because it demonstrates your willingness to invest time and effort into causes that do not offer financial gain. It suggests altruism, compassion, and a desire to make a positive impact on society.


Suppose you volunteer at a local food bank every weekend. This could illustrate your organizational skills, leadership potential, and ability to work well with diverse groups of people. It also indicates that you are proactive and self-motivated.

Impression on Interviewers:

When you talk about your volunteer work, it signals to interviewers that you:

  • Are Empathetic: You’re likely to contribute positively to the workplace environment and culture.
  • Possess a Strong Work Ethic: You’re willing to put in extra effort for the benefit of others, which can translate into your professional life.
  • Are a Team Player: Volunteering often involves working with others towards a common goal, mirroring many workplace situations.

5. Tech Hobbies

Tech hobbies such as coding, building PCs, or engaging with electronics indicate a passion for understanding how things work. It also shows an inclination towards continuous learning and staying up-to-date with technological trends.


If you’ve built your own computer or developed an app in your spare time, it showcases technical proficiency and a hands-on approach to problem-solving. For tech roles, it also demonstrates relevant, practical experience.

Impression on Interviewers:

Sharing your tech hobbies makes the following impressions:

  • Continual Learner: You are self-motivated to enhance your skills and knowledge.
  • Technically Proficient: You have a solid grounding in technical skills that could be beneficial in many modern workplaces.
  • Innovative: You enjoy exploring new technologies and could bring innovative solutions to the company.

6. Learning and Education

Hobbies related to learning, such as reading, mastering new languages, or taking educational courses, reflect a growth mindset. They show that you are intellectually curious and committed to personal and professional development.


By discussing how you are learning a new language to better communicate with a broader array of clients, or how taking online courses has expanded your expertise in a specific area, you demonstrate a proactive approach to skill-building.

Impression on Interviewers:

Such pursuits can impress an interviewer by indicating that you:

  • Value Intellectual Growth: You are likely to bring this love of learning to your role, staying informed and ahead of industry trends.
  • Are Self-Directed: You take initiative in your development, which can translate into taking initiative at work.
  • Have Versatility: Your broad range of knowledge can be a valuable asset in multidisciplinary teams.

5 Types of Hobbies that Might Leave an Unfavorable Impression on Interviewers

1. Potentially Controversial Activities

Hobbies that are politically charged or polarizing can be divisive.

For example, engaging in political activism or controversial groups may alienate some interviewers who have differing views, or they may question whether these activities would interfere with your job.


If your hobby is attending political rallies or campaigning for a controversial cause, it may be prudent to avoid mentioning this unless you are sure the company shares your views or values such as activism.

The risk here is that the interviewer may question your fit within the team or whether your views might impact your work dynamics.

Impression on Interviewers:

Discussing controversial hobbies might:

  • Lead to Bias: The interviewer may have conscious or unconscious biases that could negatively influence their perception of you.
  • Raise Questions About Professionalism: The interviewer might wonder if you can separate personal beliefs from professional responsibilities.

2. Solitary Activities

Solitary activities like video gaming or binge-watching TV series are common but may not always be viewed favorably. They can give an impression of someone who might lack teamwork or interpersonal skills, especially if not framed in a way that highlights positive aspects.


For instance, if you spend a significant amount of time gaming, it’s better to focus on elements of gaming that are transferable to the workplace, such as strategic thinking, problem-solving, and perhaps even leadership if you are part of a gaming team.

Impression on Interviewers:

Solitary hobbies may suggest that you:

  • Prefer Isolation: The interviewer may wonder if you would struggle with collaboration or team projects.
  • Lack of Diverse Interests: It might seem like you don’t have a wide range of interests or skills, which could be a disadvantage in roles requiring versatility.

3. Risky Behaviors

Participation in extreme sports or other high-risk activities can certainly illustrate qualities like bravery, resilience, and the ability to face challenges head-on. These are traits that many employers find desirable. However, they can also suggest a propensity for taking unnecessary risks or a likelihood of incurring injuries that might affect job performance.


If you’re an avid rock climber, bungee jumper, or skydiver, it would be beneficial to focus on the aspects of these hobbies that translate well into the business world, such as strategic risk assessment, meticulous planning, and overcoming fears to achieve goals.

Impression on Interviewers:

While discussing risky hobbies, interviewers might perceive you as:

  • Adventurous: You’re willing to step outside your comfort zone, which can be a valuable trait in business, especially in roles that require innovation.
  • Resilient: You have the mental toughness to face challenges, which is an asset in high-pressure environments.
  • Prone to Risk: There may be concerns about your judgment in risk-taking and its implications for decision-making in the workplace.

4. Overly Common Hobbies

Common hobbies like socializing, watching TV, or shopping might not necessarily give a negative impression, but they can be seen as missed opportunities to showcase unique qualities or skills. These hobbies are so commonplace that they do little to differentiate you from other candidates.


Saying that you enjoy “hanging out with friends” might show that you are sociable and have good interpersonal skills, but it doesn’t highlight any specific strengths or characteristics that might be beneficial in a job setting.

Impression on Interviewers:

Mentioning generic hobbies might lead interviewers to think that you:

  • Lack of Distinctiveness: You may not stand out in the memory of the interviewer among other candidates with more memorable attributes.
  • Miss the Chance to Showcase Skills: You have not taken full advantage of the opportunity to highlight special skills or experiences that could be relevant to the job.

When discussing any hobby, it’s crucial to tie it back to qualities that are relevant to the job and the workplace. With riskier hobbies, emphasize the positive attributes you’ve gained, and with common hobbies, try to find an angle that can still relate back to the job’s requirements or showcase your personality in a professional light.

5. Time-Consuming Hobbies

Hobbies that require a substantial amount of time and dedication can be double-edged swords. On one hand, they can illustrate your passion, dedication, and time management skills. On the other, they might cause concern for an interviewer about whether the hobby could interfere with your job responsibilities, particularly if the hobby might require taking time off work frequently or lead to exhaustion that affects your job performance.


For instance, if you’re training for an Ironman triathlon, it involves a rigorous training schedule that requires several hours of commitment daily. While this showcases extraordinary discipline and goal orientation, the interviewer might worry that this level of commitment could encroach upon your availability for work, especially in jobs that demand flexibility or have unpredictable hours.

Impression on Interviewers:

When discussing a time-intensive hobby, an interviewer may wonder if you:

  • Have Prioritized Time Management: You can effectively balance your personal passions with professional responsibilities.
  • Might Be Overextended: There could be a concern that your hobby may take precedence over your job, leading to potential scheduling conflicts or decreased productivity.
  • Are Highly Committed: It demonstrates a strong commitment to your interests, which can be a positive trait if it translates into a similar dedication to your work tasks.

To mitigate any potential concerns, it’s important to acknowledge the time you devote to your hobby while also reassuring the interviewer of your ability to manage your time effectively. Emphasize that your job is your priority and that you have strong time-management skills that ensure you meet all professional commitments.


Useful Reading – 101 Carefully Crafted Sample Answers for – What are your hobbies?


Strategies and Unique Approaches to Talk About Your Hobbies During Interviews Impactfully

When discussing hobbies in an interview, it’s important to be strategic to make the best impression. Here are some strategies with examples and unique approaches:

1. Relevance


Make sure your hobbies reflect relevant skills that can benefit the role you’re applying for. This creates a direct connection between your personal interests and professional capabilities.


Imagine you’re applying for a marketing position and you run a personal blog on social media trends. This hobby not only shows your writing skills but also your knowledge and proactive learning in your field. You could discuss how managing your blog has given you insight into consumer engagement and digital analytics, directly applicable to the marketing role.

Unique Approach:

Develop a narrative on how a particular hobby project relates to a key success metric in the industry you’re aiming to join. For instance, if your hobby contributed to a noticeable improvement in user experience or sales in a personal venture, it could exemplify a potential for similar results in a professional setting.

2. Balance


Diversify your hobbies to show you’re a well-rounded individual. Balancing individual hobbies with team-oriented activities can illustrate versatility in working styles.


You might mention that you enjoy solo activities like writing fiction, which hones your creative thinking, but you also play in a community soccer league, which demonstrates teamwork and communication skills.

Unique Approach:

Highlight an instance where a group hobby led to a collaborative achievement, like organizing a charity event, which shows leadership and organizational skills. Conversely, an individual hobby might have led to personal growth or an award, which shows self-motivation and the ability to excel independently.

3. Positivity


Discuss your hobbies with genuine enthusiasm. This shows you are someone who engages deeply with your interests and carries a positive energy that can be contagious in the workplace.


When talking about your passion for landscape photography, let your excitement shine through. Share how it teaches you patience, attention to detail, and the ability to capture the right moment, which can be paralleled with project precision and timing in the business world.

Unique Approach:

Tell a story where your positive attitude towards a challenging hobby, like mountain biking, allowed you to overcome obstacles, which can be an analogy for tackling challenges in the workplace with a can-do attitude.

4. Honesty


Be authentic when discussing your hobbies. Sharing a genuine story that illustrates personal development can resonate more than a generic response.


If you’ve taken up learning a new language and can share an anecdote about a conversation with a native speaker that went from bumbling to proficient, it showcases perseverance and the willingness to step out of your comfort zone.

Unique Approach:

Rather than just stating the hobby, reflect on what it has taught you. For instance, if gardening is your hobby, talk about the time a pest infestation nearly destroyed your garden and how researching and implementing a solution improved your analytical and problem-solving skills.

In each of these strategies, the focus is on drawing a clear line from your personal pursuits to professional attributes, showing that what you do in your free time enhances what you can offer to an employer. By doing so, you demonstrate that your hobbies are more than just pastimes—they’re part of your continuous personal and professional development.

In the tapestry of our lives, our hobbies are the vibrant threads that add depth and color to our professional persona. They are silent narrators of our skills, passions, and character. So, when an interviewer asks about your hobbies, remember it’s not just a casual conversation starter.

It’s a gateway to showcase your unique blend of talents and traits that go beyond your resume. Whether it’s the strategic thinking sharpened by a game of chess or the resilience forged in the finishing stretch of a marathon, your hobbies can be a powerful ally in your interview.

Embrace them, articulate them with zest, and let them paint a picture of a well-rounded, dynamic individual ready to bring their whole self to the role. After all, it’s those personal touches that often leave a lasting impression and just might be the secret ingredient that lands you the job.

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