Photography? Swimming? Painting? Dancing? or Singing? What among these is/are your hobby (ies) and what among these is/ are your interest(s)? What? Is there a difference between the two? Well, to your surprise, definitely YES! There is a difference between an activity being the hobby of a person and an activity being an interest-area for a person. To answer, the hobbies of a person are the activities that are done by the person in his/her leisure time for pleasure, fun, and recreation. While the interests of a person are the activity that he/she wants to learn about or wants to do. HOBBY is something that you do and INTEREST is something that you want to do.
The question about your hobbies and interests may prove to be a trigger point for you to show yourself as a balanced personality. Candidates, most of the time, seem to be ignorant about this question and do not fully-prepare about their hobbies and interests. However, the right composition of this question is crucial in making you ‘Interview-prepared’.
What Interviewer is trying to judge?
Is it just to cover-up the blank space during the interview? Or does this question hold some hidden logic behind it? Yes, for sure there lies an intellectual reason behind asking such questions.
This question apart from showing a balanced personality of the candidate, as mentioned earlier, shows how good he/she is in juggling personal and professional life effectively. Having healthy interests help the employer assess the potential of the interviewee for the future.
Apart from the above mentioned, the interviewer may be looking for the following traits in the candidate:
• Whether or not he/she is a Team Player
• Whether or not he/she has leadership skills
• Is the candidate an All-rounder person?
• Is the candidate passionate enough?
• Does the candidate have some interests outside work-area?
• How does the candidate spend leisure time- productively or unproductively?
• How does he handle extra activities in life?
So, if the interviewer is so particular about the hobbies and interests of the person, then how and what answer to be prepared for it? For this, you don’t need to prepare an artificial answer for it. You need to weave your hobbies and interests into words. In case you are not sure about yours, the following tips may help you in finding and knowing about your hobbies and interests:
- Introspect: Ask yourself, what do you enjoy doing in your free time? Or what do you want to do in your free time for fun and pleasure? It should be something apart from your formal-tasks/duties/ responsibilities.
- Revitalize your old interests: Many times people are unable to carry an activity which they used to enjoy during their childhood days forward to their adulthood because of various reasons. Go-back to your old-golden days to know about your potential hobby and interest.’
- Try something new: When was the last time you tried your hands on something new? I’m sure a long time back. Maybe this is the time to try something new and find-out which activity works for you in terms of giving fun and pleasure to you to de-stress you.
Once you are done with finding out the activities, try to categorize them into your hobbies and interests. This categorization is very important as the interviewer will be asking questions from you accordingly.
Tips on what to include and what to Avoid
What to INCLUDE
- Only the applicable hobbies and interests:
There can be, of course, many hobbies and interests of a person who helps him to refresh himself. But it will always be a wise decision to talk about only those hobbies more which directly relate to the position or job you have applied to. Volunteering, Sports (indoor as well as outdoor), some creativity related activities like painting, etc. It will help the employer in viewing the candidate
- Identify skills and qualities:
Identify the skills and qualities those you have been able to develop with the help of your hobbies overtime along with identifying the hobbies that helped you to develop those qualities. Do make a note of these things. Do mention the improvement those you feel in your personality and corresponding activities. Those qualities may be:
• Communication skills
• Leadership skills
• Planning skills
• Team-handling skills
• Problem-solving skills
- Set a relation between your hobbies and job:
Comparing and relating your skills with the quality-requirement of the job in the company will help you to take the interview in your favor. Apart from your skills, your hobbies also show your passion for your interests and the kind of person you are. In case you have volunteered in some activity then you can probably relate it to some charity or NGO-associated work done by the company in the recent past.
- Discuss the benefit of your qualities on the job:
Don’t just relate your skills with the job and the company’s values but also try to show the benefits those the company is expected to get with those qualities. E.g. – if you have developed leadership qualities over time with the help of your hobbies, then don’t forget to mention its positive impacts on your duties and work-life.
- Make clear demarcation between your hobbies and interests yourself:
The interviewer may ask you the question about hobbies and interests together but you have to be careful about clearly and differently stating about what constitutes your hobbies and what are just interests-areas for you. If dancing and singing are your hobbies and painting is your interests then mention them separately.
- Reason behind your hobbies:
If you have a good and impressive reason behind taking-over an activity as your hobby and inculcate it in your daily life, then do mention it in your discussion. E.g.- Exercising was just your interest at first but then you made it as your hobby because you felt that your mind works more productively if you exercise daily.
Things to AVOID
Just as there are certain must-include things in your answer; there are also the things that you need to avoid while discussing your hobbies and interests. Those are:
Avoid talking too much about your hobbies: It is good that you have hobbies and interests that keep you curious about certain topics, but, make sure that you don’t talk too much about these during your interview because these not the only part of your interview.
Avoid talking about controversial hobbies: Politics, caste, religion, etc. controversial topic- related hobbies may not be good to talk about. This is because if you hold a certain viewpoint in favor of some topic and if the panel members are against it, the situation may not turn into your favor.
Avoid personal-conversation: Don’t bring up your issues in the interview. You may add them up to a certain point if they relate to your hobbies but don’t go on talking about them in so detail as to offend the panel-members.
Structuring your answer:
Keep the pre-requisites in mind before you start to form your answer to this question. Give an honest answer to such questions but try avoiding the things as mentioned above. Do some Google work of the company before your interview so that you will be able to relate your qualities developed through hobbies with the company’s values. Also, keep in mind to have a reasonable number of hobbies i.e. you must not go on telling 8-9 hobbies and interests because no serious person will have more than 4 hobbies. Mentioning of 7-8 hobbies may show you as a confused person. So, 3-4 hobbies and 2-3 interest-areas will do the work.
Given are the certain styles in which you can re-structure the following answers as per suitability to your interview. Have a look and try to capture the essence and way of answering the question wisely.
EXAMPLE 1 (Working as Volunteer)
“I volunteer with an NGO during weekends. Sometimes, I am supposed to work with a whole team of 10-20 volunteers and sometimes I need to lead a group of such many people. During my work hours, I am supposed to communicate with many people to make them understand the work or situation and also need to contact certain people to take their help. I learn a lot from my juniors, seniors, and other community members. It is a great learning path in itself. I found out that your company too participates outings those include volunteering in the community. I think I would surely like to help.”
EXAMPLE 2 (Being a Sportsperson)
“I have been very good at Basketball since my high-school days and therefore, I joined the Basket-ball team of my colleagues as well. I have played till National-level, representing Haryana State. Unfortunately, we couldn’t win at National-level but the best thing was the journey to that level. I and my mates used to practice hard before any match. We always considered giving our best to the basketball court. It was not just the practice sessions that we used to attend but also motivation-sessions were useful and valuable equally. If the company goes for some outdoor activities someday, I’ll be excited more than anybody else.”
EXAMPLE 3 (Traveling)
“I like traveling a lot, and I plan to take a trip every year. Majorly, the trips have been within the national boundaries only but I have an interest in exploring and traveling to other nations as well. I like to make arrangements beforehand about the stay, transport, and everything but still, there’s always an unplanned scene. But, I don’t let it waste my mood. I stay high in my spirits and try to tackle it in the best possible way. Such planning-skills have always helped me in trips as well as other works too.”
EXAMPLE 4 (Working-out)
“I am a person who believes in holistic development. Moving on the same principle I think, not only the mind but body too needs its exercise. So, I inculcated working-out in my day-schedule because I as they say- a healthy mind dwells in a healthy body, I feel myself to be more energetic after a heart-pumping exercising session. Moreover, gym-sessions in the company’s gym will give me a great chance to bond with fellow employees of the company.
EXAMPLE 5 (Reading)
“I love books! I like reading self-help books more because they help me in real-life situations. They keep me motivated all the time and help me overcome some real-life issues just as if they are my friends and know me so well. After reading some pages, I also like to think about them again and try to see the whole scenario from my view-point. And to mention, I am flexible with reading books online or digitally as well. I have read “You can win” by “Shiv Khera” which I think was a great piece of writing in itself.
EXAMPLE 6 (COOKING)
“My kitchen is my abode. I have learned cooking from my mother as she is a wonderful cook. I started cooking at the age of 15 and since then I have learned many dishes. Some of the dishes that I’ve made are out of my original recipes. My friends and family praise me a lot for my cooking skills. Also, they do criticize me s0ometimes and that I take very positively because it is due to their healthy criticism only, that I’ve been able to do so much in this field. I have participated in many local cooking-competitions as well and won nearly half of them. This further boosts my confidence and motivation level. I look forward to bond with my office colleagues over some of my tasty-dishes.”
EXAMPLE 7 (PHOTOGRAPHY)
“I tried many things from reading to writing to dancing to singing. But the one thing I find to be more binding and engrossing for me is photography. Maybe because I garnered many compliments for my photography-skills or maybe it is some other reason but I love photography a lot and I’ll continue doing it. I like to build a concept in my mind before going for any photography assignment or project. I have done portraits, street photography, flat-lay photography as well. I enjoy doing street photography because it helps me to connect with many unknown-people. I like knowing their stories, backgrounds and their thinking about various issues. Photography has so much to teach and I enjoy learning every bit of it.”
EXAMPLE 8 (Watching Movies)
“I love watching movies and yes! you can call me a CINEPHILE. I do watch all kinds of movies from horror to romantic to documentary to mythological to drama. But I love watching action movies more than any other genre. I am a big fan of Tiger Shroff, I haven’t missed any movie of him yet. I have categorized the movies on my laptop based on my moods like I have “Good Mood”, “Bad Mood” and “Okay Mood” categories. Also, to mention the fact, I don’t just enjoy watching the movies but also taking its values and teachings in my life. If some movie motivates me, I make sure that the motivation gets channelized into something productive. I like inculcating the good ideas of movies into my life. Also, I like to encourage others to watch that particular movie and get motivated.”
EXAMPLE 9 (Painting)
“Out of many things those I enjoy like singing, dancing, riding a bike; I like painting the most. It is a way for me to express myself, my feelings and mood not by words but through art, which is understood only by a few people. It has some deep sense in itself. Artistic people are the most creative ones, even under stressful situations. Their problem-solving power is developed up to a great extent. I enjoy painting. It is a way for me to burst my stress and think colorfully and joyously. I have been painting since I was in my 8th standard. I haven’t taken any formal coaching but I am a self-learned artist. And I would like to take my passion forward along with my work-responsibilities.”
EXAMPLE 10 (Acting)
“Acting is my hobby. I took up acting as my hobby in my school time during my 10th standard. Since then I was a member of the dramatics club of my school and college as well. I love acting because it helps me to navigate through the lives of some different characters. It makes me forget myself and just focus on the stage-work. It has honed me as a person. It has taught me to work in a team. Acting in front of hundreds of audiences in skits and drama has helped me to build a whole new level of confidence. Stage-performances has always been a thrilling experience for me”
So, that all forms up answer to another important question of your interview. I hope you find this “HOBBIES and INTEREST” answer to be interesting.
ALL THE BEST!!