When an interviewer asks you what is your favourite website, they're looking for a number of things:
- What you do with your free time. If your favourite website is 9GAG, Instagram, Facebook, or Tumblr, it shows that you like to enjoy yourself. It isn't bad, but the interviewer may take it as a sign that you waste a bit more time than you should -particularly at work.
- What your passions are. Do you spend all of your time studying articles onWebMD, TechCrunch, PCWorld, or Mashable? If so, it shows that you're interested in things that will benefit you in your daily life, far beyond what you'll learn by hitting up social media or spending hours watching funny videos on YouTube.
- What you're willing to do to improve yourself. People who spend a lot of time on useful websites tend to be better at self-improvement, both in their personal and professional lives. If you spend all of your time on TMZ or Deadline, you're not really interested in the kinds of things that will help you get ahead in life.
How to Answer the Question
This is a question that gets asked about 50% of the time, so it's good to have an answer prepared.
Think about the websites where you spend most of your time. Probably most of these sites are social media platforms like:
All of them are good for interacting with others, but they don’t represent who you are as a professional looking to get hired. You DON'T want to list any of the above as your "favourite" website in a job interview.
Instead, why not think about other sites where you spend a lot of your time, like:
These sites offer a lot of entertainment, but they also offer a lot of value in terms of professional and personal growth. For example, Upworthy has a lot of funny videos, but there are thousands of inspiring, motivational videos as well. BuzzFeed has a lot of fun and funny pages, but a lot of what the site offers is news as well.
Highlight one of these sites that combine entertainment with education, and focus your answer on the educational side of things and how they present it in a fun way.
You want to show the interviewer that you are a hard worker and learn quickly. Qualities that every employer values a lot and they know you will be a good cultural fit.
"My favourite website is BuzzFeed. I love to see the latest news in the world of technology, particularly the latest advancements made in computer science and robotics. I've been a computer geek for years, even though it's not my profession. It's fascinating to see where computers are going, and how technology is evolving."
Whether or not you actually spend all of your time on BuzzFeed researching computer technology doesn't matter, but you are giving an honest answer. You probably do enjoy spending time on BuzzFeed, and the tech articles are fascinating. All you're doing is emphasising the aspects of your internet time that makes you look better as an employee. Be honest about the sites you like, but make sure the answer paints you in a professional light - no social media unless the job specifically requires it.
Have you ever been asked this question? How did you handle it?
This article was originally posted in June 2014.