Right from your childhood, there are certain things that you loved doing over and over. No one pushed you to do them, but you did them because you found joy – in the process or outcome – of doing those things.
You developed a genuine interest in those activities over a period of time. Some of them became your favorite pastime and other activities kept coming back into your life in different phases right from childhood.
We call them our hobbies or interests. These are the activities that help us explore and expand ourselves in multiple dimensions of our lives. They stretch us and develop many core dimensions of who we become.
When you think of hobbies from this angle, you can imagine that the fresher interview question, “What are your hobbies?” can be very important from the interviewer’s perspective.
“What are your interests?”
“What are you passionate about?”
“What do you like to do in your free time?”
… Are a few versions of this same interview question.
This helps them break the ice with the interview candidate. In this process, they may find some candidates more interesting or for some reason, they may get curious about you.
This is when they may ask the interviewee about his/her hobbies, interests, and passions which are basically things close to his/her heart.
Why is the interviewer asking you about your hobbies and interests?
Talking about our hobbies, favorite past times and subjects of interest comes naturally to most of us.
The hobbies that generally get talked about are reading, spending time with friends, playing some sport and arts like singing or painting. Few of us may even be enjoying learning useful life skills in our past time doing programming or investing (yeh! some of us start early these days .. ).
So, when the interviewer asks you about things that you love doing, there are many reasons behind it! Let us go over a few.
1. To get a 360-degree view of you as an individual
Your resume and what you talk about it covers mostly the rational or logical dimension of you as a person. This gives the interviewer understanding of your intellectual capabilities, the skills that you have developed, and your overall experience which may be related to the job. But …
How can the interviewer know about your emotional set up? How can they discover your behavioral patterns? How can they understand what motivates you and what puts you down? What can give them a glimpse of your character?
The things shown on your resume may have been done by many others. But the way you did them can be significantly different than others. This is where what you say and how you talk about your hobbies and interests can give them important insights about you.
2. To judge how your hobbies may naturally be helpful for the job
Different hobbies or areas of interest develop different emotional or logical skills in you, which can be very useful at work place.
If you have been in sports, you may have developed a healthy attitude towards competition. You may have learned teamwork. You may have learned to train hard before the game time. You may have acquired useful people skills.
If you are a reader, you may have expanded your horizons by devouring various books on the subject of your liking. You may have learned to grasp difficult concepts with ease. You may have become good at connecting dots and finding patterns!
You can see here that your hobbies or favorite pastime can actually be a reason behind some of your rare skills. These skills that you acquired can be central to some open work positions in the corporates.
This can be useful knowledge for the interviewers during their selection process.
3. To predict your cultural impact on the team
There is a famous quote from Peter Drucker, whom many consider as the “the founder of modern management” –
By now, it is well known that the most important thing for any organization in long term is its “culture”!
Culture is considered more important than the strategy and tactics that any company adopts. Culture is about people and key attributes of the behaviors of the employees in an organization.
Different organizations appreciate different characteristics more. Some may want to see your patience, while others may be looking for hustle in their desired employee profile. Every organization forms a culture unique to it over a period of time. This culture is born out of their journey of relentless experiments to succeed in their purpose.
For an organization to be able to execute well, they want some common elements, attitudes, and skills among their employees. They also want to avoid hiring anyone who does not fit this bill.
So when you talk about what you love doing in your spare time, you are helping the interviewer understand if you naturally belong to their workplace.
4. To reduce the tension created during the interview
It is quite possible that even after handling the first few questions, you are still feeling nervous. You have still not opened yourself up naturally.
Sometimes the things you talk about yourself or your resume may be so serious that people in the interview room may feel awkward or tense.
The interviewer can easily sense this tension. He/she wants a way to dissolve this stress and get you moving more fluently. In such situations, this fresher interview question can be a game-changer!
How to Smartly Answer – What are your Hobbies?
Talking about the field you naturally like or things you love doing is easy. However, talking about it without proper preparation can be tricky.
This is why you want to carefully think or observe what your hobbies or interests are. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It is totally up to you what you prefer to talk about and highlight.
Here are a few tips that can help you answer interview questions about your hobbies.
1. Carefully identify areas of your interests
Most of us are very casual about this question. We don’t take the necessary effort to understand our natural likes and inclinations.
This often shows when you start talking about this question impromptu. You tend to get a bit of confusion and are unclear in your response. You don’t know what exactly to say and how to say it. The interviewer may find you amateurish because of this.
The single biggest reason behind this kind of response is you avoiding the efforts to dig deeper within yourself. So before your next interview, please spend some time carefully observing your behavior and routines.
Many times what you think as your hobby may not even be your real hobby. You may have not done anything about it for years. Your real interest shows in your actions and what you do frequently.www.NeedleMover.me
2. Focus on hobbies that are naturally aligned with the requirements of the job
If you talk about hobbies that are totally irrelevant or seemingly disconnected from the role you have applied for, it can make you sound less interesting. The interviewer has to quickly make judgments about how you are suitable for the job on offer.
It is in the interest of the interviewer as well as yourself, that you bring forth the hobbies and interests which showcase you developing the skillset that is important from the interviewer’s perspective.
Remember that they are asking you this question, most of the time after the initial phase of the interview is over. This means your resume and experience are a natural match. Your initial responses have triggered their interest further. So, now they are interested in knowing you as a naturally suitable candidate for the position in their company.
3. Be precise and talk to the point
The thoughts and memories of our hobbies trigger our emotional response. We tend to go into a positive and fluid state of mind. We often even experience exhilaration when we describe the things we love doing.
This can sometimes make us blabber. We may talk about many unnecessary things. We may find it hard to cover everything that floods our minds in the short span of time available.
All you need to remember here is being precise and to the point, shows your clarity. It shows how mature you are. Interviewers love that.
4. Focus on describing efforts rather than results
Those who focus and appreciate efforts show, what is popularly known as “growth mindset“! These are the people who are more focused on learning and finding their next levels. They are rarely egoistic and have a certain humbleness about their outlook towards life.
On the other hand, those who focus on results more tend to have a fixed mindset. They tend to show insecurity and unnecessary ego in their behavior. In long term, such people tend to perform below their potential. If you talk too much about results you may come across as fanciful or egoistic.
So, the interviewer is always looking for a candidate who is coachable. They want to find interviewees who show a natural inclination toward enjoying the challenge and the learning that happens while facing it.
5. Avoid faking your interests or hobbies
You may be a good narrator. You may think that you can create an interesting picture in the interviewer’s mind. You may try and create a facade that you think can help you win an interview round. What you can forget is, you are trying to talk about something that you have never experienced.
So you may unknowingly say something or do something that ends up indicating your false pretense. Interviewers are quick to pounce on such clues and your rejection is almost confirmed as soon as this happens.
Sample answers for “What are your hobbies?”
“One of my favorite pastimes is playing cricket. I had a knack for playing the sport right from my childhood days. I have been selected to represent my school and college at the state level several times for matches. I was the captain of my state team during my under 19’s. I still play the sport, if not professionally, and even coach small kids in my locality since I have always enjoyed spending time with children.“
Now if you observe carefully, you’ll see that from this answer, one can find many qualities and skills. We know that you work hard and you are disciplined (Can you imagine being able to play at state levels without the rigors of daily training?). Your leadership qualities are also shown. One can understand that you can travel extensively if work demands. You are also showing how you tend to add value to others’ lives with your knowledge.
“My interests include reading books and drawing while listening to news and music. I also like cooking. These things have lead me to learn how to express myself, how to think clearly, and how to observe carefully. It opened many dimensions to my life which make it more interesting. The knowledge and experience of these hobbies have helped me connect with people quickly and build genuine long-term friendships.“
Here your interviewer can see that you are “full-on” with life! You like connecting with people and you have the necessary knowledge or communication skills. It shows that you are curious and eager to learn. It also shows that you can pick up new skills quickly. All of these qualities are desirable for almost any job.
“As of late I have been keen on exploring different dialects as they help me in learning various cultures and customs all over the globe. I have completed a small online course on german recently. I have heard about your plans to open a company outlet in Germany. So my hobby may naturally come in play! Also, I was always curious about software development. Right now I am pursuing a course on Python Programming and Web analysis. I also write blogs once in a while about these things.“
Here you are showing initiative while highlighting skills and efforts that can give you a natural advantage in the role you are seeking. Language and programming are life skills these days with the world being so interconnected.
What to say if you have no hobbies?
Some of us may find it hard to consider anything specific in our behavior as our hobby or interest. If you are one such individual, don’t panic or feel nervous. It is ok to have no hobby.
It is quite possible that you had less time to think in that direction. Or you may be someone who has simply enjoyed whatever came your way since childhood. There is nothing right or wrong about it. It is important to be honest and professional about it.
In such scenario the interviewer may even ask you questions like
“How do you spend your weekends?” or “What do you do for fun?”.
This is only to make you explore yourself further.
You may not be able to classify any activity particularly under hobby yet there are things that you appreciate doing besides your everyday errands.
It can be anything as ordinary as planting trees, painting, collecting old newspaper articles, cooking, reading books, and so on. Introspect and consider recalling any activity that gives you recreation and joy.
We are certain you will hit upon something useful. You don’t have to necessarily excel in the area to call it your hobby. Even if you like taking part in several activities but you’re not an expert in it, shouldn’t stop you from expressing them as your hobbies. If you show an attitude of inquisitiveness, your employer would consider you capable of growth and development in the future.
After all, everyone loves to be around those who are “full of life”!
By now, you can see how a simple question like this can be so profoundly insightful about any person. It is your opportunity to dig deeper within yourself!
It will help you position yourself better with the interviewers if you read –