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 person they would be working with!
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 the real, non-work you, if even just for this one question.
Sample Interview Answers
When you respond to this interview question, 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?
Check out these sample answers:
What do you like to do outside of work?
Candidate's Hobby #1
Thanks for asking! I am passionate about playing the piano. I am an active member of a classical music band called the Classicools, and we perform at various venues around town. I enjoy practicing with my bandmates every Saturday at my home, and I also spend a lot of time practicing and writing new music on my own in my free time after work. It’s a great way for me to unwind and express myself creatively.
Candidate's Hobby #2:
I started backpacking a few years ago and really enjoy it. I love to get outdoors, exercise, and see amazing sights. I find that backpacking challenges me both physically and mentally. It requires me to be self-sufficient and problem-solve in a remote environment. I also enjoy the camaraderie that comes with backpacking. It’s a great way to bond with friends or meet new people who share the same passion for the outdoors.
Candidate's Hobby #3:
I really enjoy cooking. I find it to be a great way to unwind after a long day and it allows me to be creative in the kitchen. I love trying out new recipes and experimenting with different flavors and ingredients. Cooking also gives me a sense of accomplishment when I create something delicious that my friends and family enjoy. I find it to be a great way to connect with others as well, whether it’s hosting a dinner party or just cooking a meal for a loved one.
We recommend that you list 2 – 3 hobbies. Tell a short story about each one. Choose hobbies that show off skills that relate to the job you are interviewing for.
Provide more information than just saying, “I play the piano.”
Do you just like to play the piano, or do you love it?
Giving a short statement like this makes you sound uninterested in your own hobby.
Don’t be afraid to sound passionate!
Here are some hobbies and interests to mention when the interviewer asks what you like to do outside of work:
What Your Hobbies Say About You
Your hobbies and interests inevitably say different things about your values and characteristics.
Here are some qualities that can be assumed from your hobbies:
Adaptable – cooking, learning new languages, traveling, volunteering
Attention to detail – model building, painting, sewing, woodworking
Creative – blogging, drawing, graphic design, photography
Desire for personal growth – exercising, learning new languages, reading, taking classes
Disciplined – exercising, playing individual sports, playing an instrument, writing
Interpersonal skills – group hobbies, playing games, playing team sports, volunteering
Nurturing – baking, cooking, gardening, volunteering
Patience – fishing, gardening, knitting, playing an instrument
Problem-solving skills – backpacking, financial investing, playing games, puzzles
Technical aptitude – cars, coding, electronics, web design
Talk about hobbies that tell the interviewer that you are a perfect fit for the job!
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!
Mistakes to Avoid
This is a pretty simple interview question to answer, but keep a few things in mind when crafting your answer.
Don’t be unprofessional
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 the interests you mention 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.
Don’t be vague
Another mistake to avoid is being too vague and simply listing hobbies.
Don't just say:
I love to travel. I like to invest money. I love to cook and I like watching TV.
This doesn’t tell the interviewer and your potential boss much about you.
Ask yourself things like:
- Where do you like to travel?
- What do you invest money in?
- What are your favorite foods to cook or bake?
- What do you watch on TV?
- What do you like to do with your friends?
- What do you enjoy writing about?
- Why do you enjoy your hobby?
If you are specific, you encourage conversation and show off some of your social skills to the interviewer.
Now that you are getting close to your interview, make sure you don’t forget the essentials.
Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question?
Why would interviewers and hiring managers care what you do outside of work?
To find out 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, right?)
The hobbies and things that you do outside work can say a lot about the kind of person you are.
To see how you communicate
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?
When it comes to answering the interview question, “What are your hobbies and interests?”, it’s important to choose hobbies that align with your personal goals and values, and that show you in a positive light.
Employers are not only looking for candidates with the right skills and experience, but also those who can demonstrate their creativity, ability to work well with others, and a willingness to learn new things.
Whether it’s playing a musical instrument, volunteering for a cause you care about, or practicing a new language, your hobbies and interests can help set you apart from other candidates and show employers what makes you unique.
At Find My Profession, we understand the importance of finding a job that aligns with your passions and interests. That’s why we offer top-notch resume and reverse recruiting services to help you land your dream job.
Check out our article on the 50 Top Job Interview Questions & Answers for more interview advice!