Why Do Interviewers Ask: ‘What Are Your Hobbies?’
While you may have prepared for all the most common interview questions for a graduate job (such as those based on your skills, experiences, and past roles) there is often one topic that is forgotten about during the prep stage: “What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?”
This question – like the others – can be an opportunity for you to impress the interviewer and allow them to find out more about you on a deeper, personal level. Think about it: hobbies challenge us to learn and adapt, which are qualities that have a direct impact on our success in the professional arena. So, they’re definitely worth talking about.
So, why do interviewers ask about hobbies?
Assessing the cultural fit
Employers are often interested in how well you could integrate into their company culture. Therefore, asking about hobbies gives a glimpse into your personality, values, and alignment with the company’s ethos.
For instance, a candidate whose hobbies include volunteering for local community projects might suggest a strong sense of social responsibility and a desire to make a positive impact beyond individual tasks. These are typical qualities that resonate with a company that values community engagement and corporate social responsibility. Alternatively, an individual who enjoys competitive sports could indicate a drive for self-improvement, teamwork, and a desire to excel – traits that align well with companies that have a clear focus on growth and collaboration.
When interviewers evaluate your cultural fit, they’re not merely ticking off checkboxes, they’re looking for shared values and attitudes that can foster a sense of belonging and long-term commitment. Your hobbies provide an opportunity for you to showcase your compatibility with these core aspects of the company’s identity.
Beyond the formalities of qualifications and skills, employers are genuinely intrigued by the life you lead beyond the office walls. When an interviewer asks more about your hobbies, they’re not just diving into your personal life – they’re opening the door to a genuine and relaxed conversation that breaks down the formalities of the interview process. This question may signal that they’re genuinely interested in getting to know you – not just as a potential employee, but as an individual with their own passions and experiences.
Shows that you’re well-rounded
Today, employers seek more than just specialised skills on a video CV; they prefer to hire individuals who possess a range of experiences and interests, whether it’s hiking through the mountains, writing stories, or learning to play a musical instrument. Why? Because it shows that you’re a well-rounded person with a lot to offer.
Employers aren’t just keen on finding common ground for casual conversations (though that’s a bonus). It’s about recognising that a person with unique interests can bring a unique set of qualities to the table. You’re not confined by your job title; you’re a multi-dimensional individual who thrives on learning and exploration, which in turn, makes you a valuable asset to any team.
Staying top of mind
Interviewers spend hours sifting through stacks of CVs and conducting back-to-back interviews during the hiring process. So, how does a candidate stand any chance of being remembered? You guessed it – by discussing their hobbies.
They might ask about the origin of your interest, the challenges you’ve faced along the way, or the lessons you’ve learned – turning the interview into a dynamic conversation rather than scripted dialogue.
Consider the perspective of the interviewer: throughout their day, they meet numerous candidates who possess the same skill sets and qualifications and it all becomes very ‘samey’. Yet, when your response includes a unique hobby that they may never have even heard of before, you grasp their attention and are more likely to stay top of mind.