This is a pretty typical question that you will be asked during the "Get to Know You" portion of the interview. You'll probably be asked this right after being asked, "What do you do in your free time?" It's one of the more common interview questions, and it's a pretty easy one to answer!
Why the Question is Being Asked
When an interviewer asks what your hobbies are, they're trying to get a sense of who you are and what you like, as well as what you do with yourself when you're off the clock.
If an interviewer hears you say, "I love to play video games or watch TV", they're immediately going to think that you're a slacker. If, however, you tell them that your hobbies include gardening, mechanics, or inventing new devices, it gives you the appearance of being someone who finds ways to be productive with their free time.
The way you handle your time off the clock often reflects the way you act during your work hours. Those who like to waste time during their free hours often do the same during work hours, while people who fill their time with productive hobbies are usually the most productive employees.
How to Answer the Question
Think about the things you enjoy doing. Are any of them productive, or are they all just ways to pass the time? If you're a gamer, a TV addict, or someone who spends most of their free time sleeping, that's definitely not going to look good.
However, here are a few hobbies you may want to highlight:
- Fitness/exercise -- If you spend time at the gym regularly, make sure to mention it as one of your hobbies. It shows that you are the kind of person who cares about their appearance, and it makes you sound like a high-energy, active, ambitious person. Sports are a great way to network, as you meet new people when you play.
- Daily activity -- Are you the kind of person who likes to take long walks or hikes with your dog? Do you do the New York Times crossword puzzle every day? Do you do jigsaw puzzles? Do you organise activities for your family? Do you visit museums and exhibitions? Are you a reader or an artist? All of these daily activities make you look smarter and more appealing as a person.
- Volunteer work -- Many people around the country volunteer their time and services at local animal shelters, retirement communities, youth outreach programs, or soup kitchens. It's not something to brag about to everyone, but if you're asked straight out in an interview, it could be a good answer. It will help to increase the interviewer's estimation of you as a person.
- Professional development -- Do you like to attend workshops and conferences to learn new things and improve your professional skills? If so, you definitely want to highlight this as one of your hobbies. Any employee that is motivated enough to learn new things on their own time is a valuable one.
You'll find this question is pretty easy to answer if you'll take time before the interview to think about how you'll respond. You may just find that your hobbies can actually get you the job!