Question forms part of
Other interview questions that are similar
What do you do for fun?
If you were given a week off work at short notice what would you do?
What did you do at the weekend?
What does your personality say about you?
What the interviewer is looking for by asking this question
What you do in your free time says a lot about your personality and how you operate as a person.
While this question may seem a bit intrusive, the interviewer isn’t trying to pry into your personal life – they more want to see if your character and energy levels are inline with what they are looking for and importantly whether they would fit in with the team and wider organisation you are applying for.
So don’t feel like the interviewer is asking deeply personal questions about what you get up to (that might even be illegal), treat the question as more asking what hobbies you like and how those hobbies reflect on you as a person and as a work colleague.
The best approach to answering this question
The best approach to this question is to be honest (but not too honest).
This is not a ‘tell me about a time‘ which relies on you retelling your experiences, or a skill based question that has you explaining technical matters related to your job role.
This is a question about you, who you are, what you like and how you act around others.
That is why the best approach is to to be honest (but not too honest).
You want to tell the interviewer something that you genuinely like to do in your spare time, but tie it back to the job you are applying for.
Maybe you like to do puzzles and that’s why you are applying to a cryptography role.
Maybe you are captain of your local rugby team and can segue that experience into a management position.
Maybe you travel a lot and are good at itinerary planning as a result – this would look good in a number of positions to do with projects or corporate planning.
Whatever it is you like to do in your spare time just tell the interviewer and tie it back to how that would make you a good fit for the role. And be prepared for follow up questions. The interviewer is definitely going to want to hear more about your hobby or interests.
BONUS: If you have a common interest with the interviewer definitely use it. You should be researching the organisation as prep work for your interview anyway so if you find out that you and the interviewer share any hobbies or outside interests make a note of it. If you can get the interviewer talking to you about something they genuinely enjoy the interviewer will leave with a genuinely positive impression of you which will almost certainly help later on when they are assessing all of the candidates.
How NOT to answer this question
“THAT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS”. As I said earlier the interviewer has a reason for asking this question. They want to know your personality and what sort of energy you would bring to a team. Sure if you really don’t want to share any details you are free to say so (try to phrase it a bit better though), but if you do refuse the question don’t be surprised if this goes negatively against you during the assessment.
Do not lie to the interviewer. It might seem like a good idea at the time. Just a little white lie. But it’s not worth it. The main reason is because the interviewer is likely to have some follow-up questions. And that is when the whole lie will come crumbling down like a house of cards. And even if they don’t are you sure you want to keep up this lie for the entire time you are working for this organisation?
Do not talk about drinking, partying etc. Everyone loves a good party, and a lot of people do love a good drink – especially in this country! But even if all you do in your spare time is hit the pub with your mates try to come up with a different answer that doesn’t leave the impression you like to get boozed up at every opportunity – as true as it may be!
What do you like to do in your spare time? – Interview Answers
“I love to travel but I like to stray from the beaten path and take the trips that don’t show up on any tourist websites. This often requires a lot of scheduling and detailed itineraries to be made so I do really lean on my Project Planning skills when doing this”
“I am a big reader of both fiction and non-fiction. I always like to have at least 2 books on the go; one for entertainment – most often some kind of science fiction (I am currently reading the Expanse series) and one for learning. I always like to be learning new things, I find it fun and also incredibly rewarding to learn a new skill. I even find it rewarding when I fail miserably – as I do often – as I always learn something from the experience, I suppose this desire to learn new things and improve is why I was drawn to change management.”
“As a mother I spend most of my spare time doing my second job; being a parent. Having small children around the house is a blessing and a curse in that your time is never your own. I like to go on walks with my children every night where we take our dogs to the local woods. This is one of the reasons I am so keen on conservation and why I pursued a career in it. I want to ensure that my children – and their children – are able to enjoy nature to its fullest as I have been able to.”
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