How do you answer “What are your hobbies and interests?” in an interview?

One thing that people don’t always remember in an interview is to look at the way their interviewer is responding physically instead of just verbally.  You are supposed to talk about yourself when you are interviewing in order to let the person interviewing know how great you are and why you are a fit for the company.  The thing to keep in mind though is to watch for indicators like fidgeting or eye rolling when you are answering a question like “What are your hobbies and interests?”.

People often forget that even though the interviewer is asking a question about your hobbies or interests, if your answer is boring to them than you may lose the job as they may stop paying attention to your answer.  Here are some things that you may want to look at and think about when you are interviewing.  We have also included some tips on helping you to answer the common interview question “What are your hobbies and interests?” as well as impress the person interviewing you instead of boring the interviewer out of giving you the job.

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1.      Look at the Interviewer’s face, eyes and body language.

If the person starts to yawn or you can tell they are drifting off, you need to change the topic or wrap up what you are saying quickly.  A common question an Interviewer may ask is “What are your hobbies or interests?”.  What many people forget when they answer this question is that even though they love something and want to talk about it, it doesn’t mean they should.

You can start talking about your interests, but watch the interviewers body language while you are talking.   If the Interviewer gets bored or looks at you like they he or she is thinking “When will this person stop?” then take the hint and either wrap up what you are saying or try to move to the next hobby which may be more interesting for the Interviewer.

2.      Look at your surroundings and talk to the Interviewer’s interests.

Some companies make you sit in a conference room while you are waiting for your interview to start or during the entire process.  Others, which will be good for you, send you to meet with the people who will interview you in their offices.  This is an excellent opportunity for you to get in good with each one individually.

When you are in the person’s office, look around and see if they have pictures of a dog or cat, if they like broadway shows or a type of sport.  Maybe they have pictures of their kids or partners fishing or cheerleading or maybe they have trophies from sports events.  You may even notice golf clubs or sports team logos on their ties, walls bookcases, etc…  Look at these and when the person asks you “What are your hobbies and interests?”, tie them in with that person’s own interests so that you can try to relate to them more and begin building a relationship right there.  You may become even more memorable to that person at that point.

You have to remember that even though the question is about your own interests or what you like to do, if the Interviewer can relate to what you like than you may gain more attention from them because you are also talking about things that interest them as well.

3.      Do research before the interview to be prepared for this question.

Look for a corporate blog or company information section on their website.  When you find them look for things the company does or charities that they endorse, volunteer with or support.  If you have similar interests, or if you have done work with those same groups you can then bring them up to show that you already have some synergies with that company.  Not only do you have some of the same values and interests as that company, but you may show that you fit in with the social and public image parts of the company and can help build good PR by attending charity events and volunteering.

If the company supports breast cancer charities and you have done any of the breast cancer awareness walks then mention that.  If the company supports homeless charities than talk about your experience volunteering in soup kitchens or how you have helped the homeless with a shelter program.  If they support animal rights, talk about any work you had done with local animal shelters or for large animal rights groups.  You basically want to try to relate your own personal social activities with the ones the company shares publicly.

Things you may want to avoid talking about though would include drinking or drug use, moonlighting, staying out late every night clubbing, etc…  The person interviewing you more than likely wants to know that you will be dedicated to the company and not show up everyday hung over or to tired to work.  Even if those are your hobbies and interests, try talking about something else as you don’t want to risk turning the Interviewer off from liking you as a candidate.

Common interview questions like “What are your hobbies and interests?” are almost expected if your interview is going well.   Where people go wrong is when they don’t pay attention to the interviewer’s body language and bore the interviewer out of giving them the job.  Other people forget to relate their hobbies on how they could be a good fit within the company socially as well as skill wise.

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