Most candidates expect job interviews to revolve strictly around work-related aspects. Thus, they cannot help but feel a bit taken aback when interviewers seemingly switch to another topic and ask them what they like to do for fun.
As an experienced job specialist, I can tell you this question is deliberately included for a reason. Scroll to learn how to nail your answer!
In this article:
Why The Interviewer Asks What People Do For Fun
These interview questions assess you on a more intimate/personal level to determine whether you are a strong candidate for the role. Your interests must align with their goals or fit into the company’s bigger picture. Or, at the very least, you should know how to draw people in with the way you talk!
Specifically, the recruiter wants to know:
- Your work and life balance. An excellent employee must keep themselves from work-related stress and suffocation without compromising their productivity.
- Common ground. Employees are most likely to share the same working space all day. Thus, there should be at least 2-3 non-work hobbies you have in common with your potential coworkers. The interviewer also wants to know whether you are willing to reach out and befriend strangers or prefer to stay within your own space.
- Your filter. Though some habits or hobbies are perfectly reasonable, they might not be appropriate to discuss in a workplace setting. The hiring manager is trying to see whether you can censor and hold yourself back when necessary.
Some common versions/paraphrases of this question:
- What do you do in your free time/spare time/leisure time?
- Do you have any favorite hobbies?
- Outside working hours, what do you usually like to do?
- Is there anything you like to do after work?
How To Answer What Do You Do For Fun
A long, elaborate answer is unnecessary for this question. In the worst-case scenario, it might even backfire if not worded carefully.
Remember, you only need to describe your pursuits in a way that makes the interviewer understand why you find these hobbies so valuable. The question would work even better for you if you two shared some common interests.
Follow my four-stage strategy:
- Choose one personal hobby you are the most passionate about or actively engage in. You can list 2-3 things to show your diverse tastes, but make sure they indicate at least one attractive quality or job-related skill.
- Use the story to reveal your personal values and/or professional skills. Let’s say you spend a lot of time knitting; mention how detail-oriented activities and tasks bring great satisfaction to you.
- Give them a short, interesting anecdote regarding this favorite hobby. Again, this is not a behavioral question, so there is no need to invest too much; simply show them how this hobby helped you build your skills or is related to the company’s ethos (sustainability, volunteering, etc.).
- Most importantly, do not only say you like doing A, B, and C. What is your motivation behind this hobby? What did you get from it? By discussing how this interest makes you a unique candidate, you will easily set yourself apart from others.
9 Examples Of Fun Things To Do
1. Rock Climbing
“For me, rock climbing is one of the most thrilling physical challenges in the world. I really love the strategic, problem-solving aspect of it; there are always routes to the top, but figuring out the safest and fastest way is another story altogether! I must analyze every possibility, break it into manageable sections, and then execute every move precisely. And let me tell you, I often approach my professional tasks the same way.
Furthermore, as an avid rock climber, I give myself the chance to push both my personal and mental boundaries every day. The utter satisfaction when reaching the top of the mountain is exactly what I feel once a creative project concludes successfully! In my professional life, I also consistently strive for growth and take on every challenge with a positive mindset.”
“I find cycling quite fulfilling; after all, it combines my passion for both fitness and exploration!
Navigating through the twists and turns on steep ascents or uneven terrains gives me a sense of accomplishment with every hurdle I overcome. Speed aside, the mastery of the bike itself and how I learn my way around the changing conditions also make cycling very thrilling for me.
Just like with my work, I’ve come to realize that success demands both physical and mental effort. Whether it is a challenging hill or a complex task, I always approach them with the same strategic thinking!”
“I often find myself getting lost in the pages of a good mystery novel, trying to unravel the clues alongside the protagonist. Sometimes, I can even predict the outcome before reaching the end!
I can say my strong passion for reading has significantly boosted my attention to detail. With a well-written book, every word matters, and you need to pay close attention to pick up on the more complex aspects of the plot. As a result, I’m naturally inclined toward tasks that require precision and a keen eye for detail, such as proofreading documents or analyzing data.
Reading has a great influence on my communication skills as well. Thanks to my significantly expanded vocabulary, I can easily express whatever thought I have in my mind. This advantage proves valuable whenever I collaborate with my teammates or present a fresh idea.”
“I’ve been hosting podcasts for as long as I can remember. The most recent episode, “Tech Trends Unplugged,” aired just one week ago, where I discussed all the latest advancements in the technology industry.
At a closer look, it’s evident that this hobby speaks to my professional skills in many ways. I must stay abreast of the latest trends and breakthroughs to produce informative and accurate content!
Furthermore, hosting a successful podcast episode is impossible without strong communication skills. After all, why would the audience stick around if I could not even structure my content and articulate ideas clearly? You can count on me to convey even the most complex project concepts in a way that is both engaging and easy to comprehend.”
5. Crossword Puzzle Games
Other alternatives: board games, chess
“After a hectic day, I often find solace in the quiet corners of my home, armed with a cup of tea and a fresh crossword puzzle.
It’s an exciting mental workout that I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed! Each clue is like a small project that demands all the best problem-solving skills; I need to be both organized and persistent to conquer the entire grid.
And crossword puzzles are not just about vocabulary. You have to make connections and think outside the box! This approach translates directly to my previous roles, where I have been recognized for my creative solutions to even the most difficult problems.”
“Most people only think of cooking as just, well, cooking. They couldn’t be more wrong!
We do not just follow the recipe; we must understand the ingredients and dare to experiment with flavors to create something truly unique. I also love to put my own spin on recipes, even combining different elements from several cuisines to bring out a lovely fusion dish!
Time management is also important here, as I have to coordinate both the cooking times and temperatures of many ingredients to ensure they come together perfectly. These are the same skills I bring to my workplace, especially in high-pressure situations where deadlines loom.”
“Traveling and exploring new places brings immense joy! And with my years of experience as a project leader, I love planning the perfect itinerary for all my trips. I do all the research myself, create detailed schedules for each activity, and even consider all the logistics involved.
During every journey, I easily immerse myself in the diverse local cultures, and I make sure to bring that adaptability into my workplace!
In fact, I have never experienced much problem connecting with team members from various backgrounds. Whenever confronted with different perspectives in the middle of a project, I approach the situation with an open mind to bridge all potential gaps in understanding.”
“Gardening has taught me the value of patience. Watching a tiny seed grow into a blooming flower is a gradual yet extremely rewarding process! And you have to work to earn it: researching, understanding every plant’s unique needs, and seeking immediate remedies for troubles that might arise.
I have successfully turned a neglected corner of my garden into a vibrant sunflower bed in less than a year; there’s no way I cannot do the same for a creative project, given my organizational skills and keen attention to detail!”
“Although I just bought my first guitar two years ago, I’ve already been so good at it now that my instructor encouraged me to experiment with more genres and techniques! I even challenged myself to blend classical fingerpicking with modern electronic beats, something even seasoned learners have not tried out yet.
This hobby doesn’t just help me unwind and express myself; my detail-oriented mindset is also reinforced during this musical journey. I mean, even just one wrong note would ruin the entire composition!
And it also teaches me discipline and the importance of continuous learning. Listening to the beautiful sounds under my own fingers, I realize that pushing my boundaries and embracing new experiences often lead to the best, most rewarding outcomes.”
Extra Tips to Talk About What You Do For Fun
- It’s great to provide some details about your hobby. But do not go into excessive specifics that might overwhelm or bore the interviewer! Instead, keep your response concise yet relevant.
- Needless to say, do not invite yourself out by bringing up controversial or even downright offensive activities. Only stick to interests that are generally accepted and won’t alienate the interviewer.
- Unless you can add a more personal touch, cliche responses like “I like watching TV” are all bad answers and should be avoided at all costs.
- Although I do suggest linking back your hobby to some work-related aspects, try not to give the impression that you are nothing but a workaholic. Show them you are also a fun and interesting person outside of work!
See more interview tips:
- How To Write A Follow-Up Email After Interview
- 3 Examples For Thank-You Email After Interview
- 8 Examples of Challenges You Have Overcome At Work
- 6 sample answers of accomplishments at work
- 5 Examples of Problem-Solving in The Workplace
- How To Ask for Feedback After Job Rejection
- How to Explain The Reason for Leaving a Job on Applications
For Interview Question:
Most of us can have several interests at a time, but be selective. Do not bring up hobbies that barely offer learning opportunities, like eating, watching cartoons, or sleeping all morning!
Use my sample answers to structure your answer appropriately, and write to me if you need more advice.