Careers

How to answer the interview question, 'What are your hobbies?'

Photo Illustration/Bryce Churchill

In an interview, you can expect to be asked questions directly related to work, but sometimes hiring managers also want to know what you are like outside of the office. That's why an interviewer may ask something like, "What are your hobbies?"

As part of its 50 Most Common Interview Questions series, Glassdoor spoke with a career expert to find out the best way to address this question.

Career coach Angela Copeland tells Glassdoor that interviewees should talk about hobbies that the interviewer might share, or would at least understand.

"It's best if the hobbies are something that the interviewer may either relate to or respect," she says.

If you talk about a niche activity, you run the risk of being misunderstood. You could also miss an opportunity to connect with the interviewer over a shared interest.

You'll also want to ensure that your hobby is something appropriate to discuss in a work environment. A job interview is not the right moment to talk about your enormous shot glass collection, for example.

Copeland suggests keeping conversation to broad topics. "Perhaps you like cooking or traveling," she offers as an example. "Most people can relate to this experience."

If you have a hobby that helps others, Copeland suggests using this question as an opportunity to discuss it. "Maybe you enjoy volunteering for a local charity — that's very respectable."

But if you aren't saving the world through charitable acts, don't feel compelled to make something up. Always be honest and talk about something you are sincerely passionate about.

Bestselling management author Suzy Welch tells CNBC Make It that at the end of the day, "Your interviewer is hoping to hear who you really are."

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