There are many different questions you may be asked in an interview, and there’s no way to know all of the questions ahead of time. However, questions such as “What are you passionate about?” are asked frequently across all kinds of different industries. When it comes to preparing for an interview, it’s helpful to find some of the most common interview questions and come prepared with an answer.
When an interviewer asks you what you’re passionate about, that’s not a chance to let them know about a strange hobby you have or tell an extremely personal story. You’ll want to be genuine, but also use your answer as an opportunity to show what makes you unique, and share some of the important skills you have that would make you a great fit for the job.
The employer may actually want to know about your personal interests since a person’s interests can say a lot about them, but they also want to see how you talk about something when you’re passionate about it. If you seem disinterested while talking about something you claim to be passionate about, the employer may think you’re not going to have any enthusiasm for the job either.
No matter what your passions are, it’s sometimes difficult to come up with an eloquent way to describe them when you’re thinking on your feet. Being prepared with a great answer to this question will help you avoid awkward pauses in the conversation and can set you apart from other applicants.
Here are some simple dos and don’ts when answering the question “What are you passionate about?” in an interview.
Dos and Don’ts
- Do talk about something you’re really passionate about. Making something up will seem disingenuous.
- Do keep it simple. Name one thing you’re passionate about and share why.
- Don’t talk about something that doesn’t make you seem like a good fit for the job.
- Smile and be yourself while you’re talking about your passion.
- Be aware of how long you’re talking and stay on topic.
- If you don’t have a “passion,” talk about what you’re currently prioritizing in your life.
- Do pick something you’re knowledgeable about.
- Expect follow up questions.
- Don’t share something that is not work appropriate.
Best Answers to “What Are You Passionate About?”
1. “I’m passionate about helping other people achieve success and figuring out what fulfills them.”
No matter what type of job you’re applying for, a willingness and passion to help others is an important quality for any employee to have. An answer like this one will show the employer that you care about others, and it will show that you’re willing to volunteer your time to help others as well. Even if you’re not currently volunteering your time anywhere, talk about a specific time when you did help someone else.
2. “My passion is learning about technology and computer software. I love staying up to date with the latest technology and learning all about how it works.”
This answer works because it shows the employer that you enjoy learning new things and are interested in breaking things down to learn about them. You will be required to use some amount of technology in most jobs, and it will benefit you in an interview to show that you’re tech-savvy.
3. “One thing I’m passionate about is personal development. I try to read at least one book a month that will help me better myself.”
Personal development is a big deal to many employers because it shows that you’re not only interested in getting better at your job, but you want to improve all areas of your life. Great employers want to hire employees who have great character and can represent their company well.
4. “I’m passionate about health and fitness. I enjoy eating healthy and I go to the gym a couple of times a week. When I feel my best physically, that’s when I do my best work.”
Even if the job you’re applying for doesn’t require you to do any manual labor, stating that you take care of yourself shows that you’re a well-balanced individual. Employees who take care of their bodies are going to have more energy and take fewer sick days.
5. “I really enjoy drawing. Being creative in my free time helps me feel more at ease and allows me to be more creative at work as well.”
In this case, it doesn’t necessarily matter what your passion is. You could be passionate about drawing, writing, or graphic design. Showing the employer that you have a creative side means they can count on you to use that creativity for effective problem solving and performing tasks that are out of your comfort zone. It’s also a great thing to show an employer that you have a life outside of work. Employees who never take time to themselves tend to burn out in a shorter amount of time so it’s a positive thing that you have boundaries and interests outside of your job.
6. “There are a few different things I’m interested in, but lately I’ve been focusing on spending time outdoors. I’ve found a few good hiking trails in the area and even got a group of friends together to go hiking with.”
You may not think you have anything you’re passionate about, and if you don’t, it’s okay to talk about what you’ve been focusing on lately. Your answer doesn’t have to be something you’ve been passionate about your whole life. If you’re having trouble coming up with an answer, think about how you’ve been spending your free time in the past month. Narrowing down the timeframe may help you think of something.
It’s also a good idea to talk about something that shows you enjoy having a sense of community. Being a team player is an important quality to have when you’re trying to get hired, so showing you have people in your life to encourage and challenge you can mean a lot in an interview.
7. “Cooking is one of my passions. I enjoy learning new recipes in my free time, and I often invite people over so that I can cook dinner for them.”
This response works because it shows not only that you commit to practicing something until you get it right, but it also shows that you have a sense of community and that you enjoy being around other people. Pointing out any skills that you enjoy working on outside of work can help the interviewer see that you’re someone who likes to learn and try new things.
No matter what type of job you’re interviewing for, there are certain interview questions that are used across all different industries. The question “what are you passionate about?” is one of them. It’s important to be genuine, but having a general idea of what you will say before the interview can help improve your chances of saying something meaningful.
Remember to be yourself and share something that you’re truly passionate about, but then connect it to the position in a way that seems natural. If you have a tendency to get caught up in the moment when you’re talking about your passion, but sure to watch the clock and stop yourself when you feel it’s appropriate.
Keith Miller has over 25 years experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entreprenuer, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.