Among the most common interview questions asked by potential employers is “What are your interests and hobbies?” When a hiring manager asks about your personal interests, they are asking if you are a well-rounded individual and if your personal qualities are a match for the company culture.
Let’s review ten excellent answers to this interview question. Then, read more below for some tips and mistakes to avoid, and a sample list of hobbies and interests for crafting your own answer.
10 Best Example Answers about Your Interests and Hobbies
Example #1: Volunteering
“An activity that I am very strongly involved in is volunteering. I try to volunteer two to three times every month at my local homeless shelter. I find it is a great way to give back and have community involvement. It helps me to grow my inner self and avoid becoming self-focused. I enjoy meeting different people, not just other volunteers, but I also hear the stories of the people we help. (This answers the question, and states how often you do it.)
I’ve learned a lot of new things while volunteering. For example, I’ve learned soft skills like compassion, empathy, and active listening that are critical to relating to others. Additional skills and values, such as persistence, are important, too. (This discusses the skills from that hobby or interest.)
There are some weekends when I am tired, and I don’t want to turn up. But I know the others are counting on me, and I take a lot of pride in being a good team player and helping others, so I am always there on time and ready to work hard, regardless of the day.” (This states how the skills will help in the prospective job.)
Example #2: Team Sports
“My greatest interest is in team sports. While I enjoy most team sports, my passion is baseball. I haven’t played in a while as I have been busy job hunting since moving cities. However, before moving, I used to play on a regular basis with a local team. I played in every game possible, which was every Saturday during the season, and turned up to every practice without missing a single one. (Answers the question and states how often.)
Playing on a team requires a lot of skills. In particular, communication skills are important to successful teamwork. I have also been working on my leadership skills, as the more senior players such as myself would help coach, train, teach and motivate the new team members. (Discusses the skills from that hobby or interest.)
I love the fact that team sports require everyone to work together. You can’t win the game unless every single person does what they are supposed to do and works together.” (States how the skills will help in the prospective job.)
Example #3: Fitness and Exercise
“I enjoy a lot of hobbies, and there are several hobbies and interests that I regularly enjoy doing. While I do enjoy reading, various group activities, games, and sports, my favorite activity is working out, specifically strength training. While the gym isn’t my only hobby, it is very important to me to maintain my health and fitness, and I go to the gym three days a week. (Answers the question and states how often.)
Working out is one of those leisure activities that people either love or hate. I love that it pits you against yourself. Your only competition is your own personal best. I am always challenged to be the very best I can be when I am at the gym. While I am always excited when I raise the bar for myself, I find peace and satisfaction in the process. The regular consistency is itself a challenge, and it is satisfying to know that I can hold myself accountable, even on the days I don’t want to be at the gym. (Discusses the skills from that hobby or interest.)
This ability to set and work towards goals, to be reliable and accountable, and to always show up and give 100% is something that I bring to all aspects of my life, and I would bring to this role, too, if I am successful.” (States how the skills will help in the prospective job.)
Example #4: Reading
“I am a voracious reader. I read both fiction and non-fiction, everything from short stories to sagas, self-help, and business books. While I like to always have one fiction and one nonfiction book on the go, it’s not uncommon for me to have several books going at once. I read at least a chapter every single night before bed, but on the weekends or a day off, it’s not uncommon for me to spend several more hours reading. (Answers the question and states how often.)
While I read fiction for enjoyment and love being able to go on an adventure inside my head, I enjoy learning new things and expanding my horizons by reading nonfiction too. (Discusses the skills from that hobby or interest.)
Besides the skills learned by reading, reading is itself a skill that requires both patience and the ability to focus. I credit reading books with helping me to be a well-rounded person. Because I enjoy reading and I am a good reader, I am also a very fast reader and retain almost everything I read. It’s one of those good hobbies that overflows into every other part of life in a positive way. (Discusses more skills.)
If I am hired, you will see my love for reading benefit me as I can learn new skills quickly, I often use internal manuals to teach myself new skills, and because of my good retention of information, I only need to be taught things once to commit them to memory long-term.” (States how the skills will help in the prospective job.)
Example #5: Practicing an Instrument
“One of my favorite pastimes is practicing and playing the piano. I am not very good right now, so most of the time, I am practicing, but I can already play a few basic pieces, and it is very satisfying to play beautiful music. I try to practice for 15 minutes every day and for at least one hour during the weekend. On weekends I try to have dedicated practice time for improving my skills and also some time to just mess around and play one of the pieces I already know. This way, I am always improving, but I can also enjoy the rewards of the effort I have put in already. (Answers the question and states how often.)
It takes a lot of patience to learn, especially at the start when the first 20 or 30 hours of practice, you can’t even play something to enjoy it. It’s just hard work. Now that I can play some full pieces, I find it very relaxing, and it helps me to destress at the end of the day. (Discusses the skills from that hobby or interest.)
If I play before bedtime, I sleep a lot better, and I have seen this reflected in the quality of my work as I am less stressed and better rested.” (States how the skills will help in the prospective job.)
Example #6: Traveling
“My favorite thing to do in my free time is to travel, and I dedicate a lot of time to it. I try to go on one overseas trip every year, but sometimes it is every two years. When I am not traveling overseas, I also like to travel at home and take road trips around my state to see other counties, and on long weekends I often travel to the next state over. I love seeing new places, so if I am not traveling, I am seeking travel inspiration from others on social media, always on the lookout for the best place to go on my next trip. (Answers the question and states how often.)
I enjoy traveling because it is so much more than just the journey. It takes planning, commitment, an openness to new cultures, new people, and a spirit of adventure. Traveling has taught me how to create long-term plans, choose priorities and work towards goals and objectives in an effective manner. (Discusses the skills from that hobby or interest.)
I bring these skills and an openness to learning about people and cultures to the workplace, and I believe I would rapidly become a valuable and cohesive member of any team.” (States how the skills will help in the prospective job.)
Example #7: Playing Board Games
“I have several hobbies and activities that I enjoy participating in. I read and volunteer, and I have outside interests such as hiking and camping, but one of my most frequent hobbies is playing board games. I am a member of a board gaming social group, and we try to meet up twice a month for a couple of hours of gaming. Once every three months, we have a weekend meetup for longer games. (Answers the question and states how often.)
It is difficult to pick just one aspect of board gaming that I enjoy as every game is different. I enjoy the social aspect. We often have anywhere from two up to eight people in one game. Most board games also require strategy and the ability to consider scenarios and a range of possible actions and choose the best option. Some games are also played as teams, so there is a cooperative teamwork aspect while applying strategy and planning too. (Discusses the skills from that hobby or interest.)
In addition, some of our group can get competitive sometimes, so I have had to learn and apply effective interpersonal skills to manage those people so that we can play games and have fun without letting individual emotions ruin the day for others. (Discusses more skills.)
Board gaming is an activity that builds skills relevant to work. We need to work as a team to solve complex problems and interact with different people who can be in different emotional states from day to day, so it is a good way of developing critical thinking skills and social skills while also having fun with friends.” (States how the skills will help in the prospective job.)
Example #8: Spending Time with My Family
“My family is easily the most important thing in the world to me, and because of this, the way I prefer to spend my free time is to relax, socialize and interact with them. It might sound cliché of me to say it, but I spend almost all of my free time with my family because it brings me great joy and happiness to be with my children and watch them play and grow. (Answers the question and states how often.)
We are a very tight-knit family, so whether we are watching tv, playing video games, going to church on Sunday, or exploring the woods on a long weekend, we do almost everything together. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my family, and this is a big part of why I am an ideal candidate. (Discusses the skills from that hobby or interest.)
I am motivated to provide my family with the best life and the best opportunities that I can and to be able to afford to enjoy our time together. I know that to do this, I need to do well at work, commit to habits of excellence, and go above and beyond to produce exceptional value for the company.” (States how the skills will help in the prospective job.)
Example #9: Being Creative
“The activity that I enjoy the most is being creative. I have several creative skills, including drawing and painting, but I particularly enjoy graphic design. The ability to make something from my imagination come to life on a screen is very satisfying. I use my skills to take on small jobs for friends and family, and I maintain a portfolio of my work online. I used to create art two to three hours per week, but now that I have the core skill, I just work on projects for enjoyment, usually three or four hours most weeks and any weekend that I have free. (Answers the question and states how often.)
I want to get better, and I like seeing what others have done online and exploring the limitations of my abilities. For this reason, I am always looking to incorporate new tools, functions, and techniques into my work. This means that I have the technical skill of graphic design that I bring to the role, but it also demonstrates my ability to be self-directed and self-motivated. I don’t require much oversight, and I am always looking to push myself and develop new skills. I also enjoy sharing my skills with others and helping them to improve their abilities so that we can all become better together.” (Discusses the skills from that hobby or interest and does not explicitly state how the skills will help in the prospective job, but that will be obvious to the interviewer.)
Example #10: Debating
“It is not a very common interest, but one of my passions is debating. In my college days, I was a member of the debate team. In my last town, I was a member of Toastmasters International and would attend many events and particularly liked to participate in debates. While I am not currently active with a local group, I am a member of a private online debate group. We meet up every Wednesday evening for a video chat. (Answers the question and states how often.)
Most weeks, we learn about debate and argument techniques and ways to improve our thinking. At least once a month, we break into teams and have to debate a current topic from the news. We try to form teams arguing the opposite point of view to our personal opinions. I enjoy the friendly but competitive rivalry in the group and the fact that most of the time, we are helping each other, and then occasionally, we have these debate contests. I also like that we are forced to think about issues from the opposite side of what we would like. This means that we need to be very good at critical thought and reasoning and open to new ideas. To debate effectively, we also need to learn to be assertive, think on our feet, and hone strong communication skills.(Discusses the skills from that hobby or interest.)
All of the skills I have developed as a debater I would bring to the position, and I believe they would be valuable in the role.” (States how the skills will help in the prospective job.)
5 Tips to Plan Your Answer
- Create a list of hobbies, sports, or interests that you enjoy and any volunteer work you are involved with.
- Identify what work-relevant skills you have developed or demonstrated in the activity.
- Visit the company’s website and look at the job description and identify what technical skills and soft skills are important to the job role and the company.
- Think of some of the best examples of when or how you demonstrated relevant skills or developed a new skill in the activity.
- In the job interview, explain to the prospective employer the transferable skills from your hobby or interest and how it is relevant to your job application, and why it makes you the perfect candidate.
5 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Interview Answer
- Failing to list hobbies or interests that relate to the job or failing to explain how they relate to the job.
- Do not say you use leisure time for partying and drinking and need every Sunday to recover for the next week.
- Don’t discuss controversial hobbies. Keep to examples of hobbies that are widely accepted extracurricular activities.
- Don’t talk about wasting your spare time or showing a lack of interest and direction in life.
- Don’t use examples of hobbies that demonstrate skills, interests, or personality traits that are a strong mismatch for the role.
Sample List of Hobbies and Interests
- Charity, volunteering, and community work
- Cooking, food and wine experiences, and restaurant dining
- Creative activities, art, crafts, and playing music
- Educational pursuits, intellectual activities, investing, reading, and book clubs
- Entertainment, board games, and video games
- Exercise, fitness, and weight training
- Gardening and horticulture
- Group activities, field sports, and team sports
- Motor sports
- Outdoor activities and extreme sports
- Meditation, bird watching, and other relaxing activities
- Family time and activities
- Solo sports
- Traveling, road trips, and adventure
During an interview, the most important thing to remember is to explain how your hobby or interest relates to the job and keep it relevant to the hiring process. Be genuine and use a real hobby or interest, and be prepared for follow-up questions.
If you don’t have many hobbies or interests, the best way to respond to this question is with a common interest that shows a desirable quality. Reading or playing team sports are examples of the “right hobbies” to use as an interview answer for this question. With adequate preparation, answering this question will be a breeze. Good luck!
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, 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.