What do you say when an interviewer asks what kind of things you like to do outside of work?
This is a great opportunity for the employer to get some insight into who you are as a person.
After all, you are interviewing for a position where you will be spending at least 40 hours a week together.
It makes sense that the interviewer would want to know what kind of a person they would be working with.
This question should not be difficult.
Everyone has different hobbies and interests and sometimes, unique hobbies are the coolest ones!
Just because the interviewer doesn’t play the piano doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t greatly admire pianists.
Don’t be nervous, and don’t lie!
Let them inside of the real, nonwork you, if even just for this one question.
Mistakes to avoid
When answering what kind of things you like to do outside of work you definitely don’t want to be unprofessional.
This doesn’t mean that all of your hobbies have to be work-related.
But they shouldn’t be things that could have a negative impact on your work.
For example, if a hobby of yours is that you like to go out on weekdays and party it up at the club, you probably shouldn’t mention this since it could negatively impact your work the next morning.
However, saying that you like to enjoy a beer after a long day of work or hang out with some friends is perfectly fine.
Another mistake to avoid is being too vague.
For example, don’t just say:
I love to travel, I like to invest money, I love to cook, and I like watching TV.
Try to avoid simply listing.
This doesn’t tell the interviewer and your potential boss much.
Mentally prepare before your interview.
Ask yourself things like:
- Where do you like to travel?
- What do you invest money in?
- What do you cook/favorite foods?
- What do you watch on TV?
- What do you like to do with your friends?
If you are specific, you encourage conversation and show-off some of your social skills to the interviewer.
This is what you want to do!
Now that you are getting close to your interview, make sure you don’t forget the essentials.
When you respond, you want to be specific enough to encourage conversation.
But you also don’t want to be so specific that you get caught up in the excitement and ramble.
So how do you give a response that is not too vague and not too specific?
Here’s an example of how to respond when the interviewer asks, “What kind of things do you do outside of work?”:
“Thanks for asking! I love playing the piano. I am actually in a classical music band called the Classicools and we perform all around town at various venues. We meet up and practice every Saturday at my house. But I also spend a lot of time after work practicing songs or writing new music if I am bored.”
This is just one example.
I recommend that you list 2-3 hobbies such as the one above, along with a little story.
Provide more information than just saying, “I play the piano.”
Do you just like to play the piano?
Do you love it?
The above statement doesn’t tell us much.
Giving a short statement like this makes you sound uninterested in your own hobby.
Don’t be afraid to sound passionate!
Why do interviewers ask this question?
Why would interviewers and hiring managers care what you do outside of work?
Basically, they want to know what kind of person they’ll be working with!
Just because you’re interviewing for a job doesn’t mean you don’t have a life beyond work.
If you rest and do things you enjoy outside of work, it shows you take good care of yourself.
(Chances are we would all go crazy if all we did was work, sleep, and eat.)
The hobbies and things that you do outside work can say a lot about the kind of person you are.
Assumptions the interviewer can draw from your hobbies
Different hobbies and interests inevitably say different things about you.
Don’t feel intimidated or put on the spot.
When you think about it, the same goes for any social situation.
Yet another reason why the interviewer asks this question.
If you can’t express something about yourself with ease, how can they expect you to express any work-related ideas?
If you can’t talk about yourself one on one, how can you talk about yourself as you get to know your potential coworkers?
So what do your hobbies and likes show about you?
Some characteristics that can be assumed from your hobbies:
- Gardening takes a lot of patience.
- Home improvement requires attention to detail.
- Relaxing with a beer shows you acknowledge you need to let your mind rest.
- Taking classes (i.e. art, music, creative writing, etc.) shows you like learning new things.
- Volunteering shows you like to give back to the community (and is especially good to mention if the company has a history of volunteer work).
- If you go to the gym, it shows you take care of your physical self.
- If you have a hobby that relates to the job you are applying for, mention it!
As said, just be careful not to mention a hobby that has the potential to majorly disrupt your work.
If you do, the interviewer or hiring manager can assume you won’t take your job seriously.
If you can relate your hobby to the job position, this is even better!
50 top job interview questions & answers
You are going to kick some bootie in your next interview.
I wish you the best of luck and I hope you find your dream job.
Are interested in taking your interview preparation to the next level?
Check out our amazing article on the 50 Top Job Interview Questions & Answers.
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