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Interview Questions: What do you do in your spare time?

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A common interview question that you might find hard to answer is ‘What do you do in your spare time?

While there is no wrong answer, this question can give an insight into what you would be like to work with, and if you’ll fit in with the company culture, so do put some thought into it.

Candidates who are big into the sport are more likely to be competitive, those with a lot of social hobbies will be likely to get on well with people, while if you say you have no hobbies you probably won’t do well in most job interviews.

The answer to this interview question shines a light on your personality and indicates how well you’ll get on with your co-workers – an increasingly important element of job interviews.

If you’re unsure of what to say, here are some good options:

How to answer “What Do You Do In Your Spare Time?”

Volunteering

If you have any experience volunteering this is the time to mention it – especially if it aligns with the companies own CSR efforts. This will show the interviewer you’re a caring and compassionate person that can add value to the work environment.

Employers are aware of the benefits of volunteering and recognise the initiative and commitment that is required to be a volunteer.

Team activities

Whether you’re part of a sports team, a band or a debate team, being part of a team shows you work well with others, have the ability to time keep (for practice or rehearsals) and practice dedication and commitment. All brilliant soft skills that employers are on the lookout for.

Keeping fit

Instead of just saying that you like to “workout”, explain a bit more about your interest. For example, if you go to the gym a few times a week and follow a strict fitness plan or if you are running to train for a mini-marathon.

A detailed answer shows off your dedication and self-discipline. Health-conscious people also tend to have fewer sick days at work and have better energy levels.

Socialising with friends & family

If you’re interviewing for a company that has a strong social company culture, it’s important to show that you have good social skills and enjoy interacting with others. Assure the interviewer that you are a good people person by mentioning the importance of your family and friends.

What not to say:

Don’t overshare

“What do you do in your spare time?” is not an invitation to spend 15 minutes telling your life story. Give detailed information in the shortest time possible. Talking too much may lead the interviewer to lose concentration, especially if they don’t share your passion for a certain hobby.

Don’t lie

Whatever you do, don’t lie. Interviewers can spot a lie, and if they notice you’re making things up it’ll ruin your chances of getting the job. Even if you did get the job, you’ll then have to keep up the pretence of loving something you have no interest in.

Whatever your hobbies and interests may be from gardening to video games or volunteering, use this part of your interview as an opportunity to show off your curiosity, dedication, and creativity. Keep your answer brief and if possible relate it back to the job description and company culture.

There’s always a chance that the interviewer will share one of your hobbies, so be prepared for them to stray off topic a little.

Need more job interview advice? Download our free video interview handbook