August 12, 2022

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Nailing the Job Interview – How To Talk About Your Hobbies

Nailing the Job Interview – How To Talk About Your Hobbies

 

Link to the royalty-free image by Razvan Chisu here

 

Congratulations on being asked in for a job interview. The hiring manager must have been impressed with your resume: your skills and professional experience. That’s half the battle.

 

Now the hiring manager, probably along with a colleague or two, wants to meet you. They want to see if you would be a good fit in their company, a good fit on their team, and if you would reflect or project the company culture.

 

Of course, you will want to be yourself during the job interview, but you’ll want to present yourself in the most flattering way possible. And there are techniques you can use to do that in an effective and surprisingly subtle way.

 

In this short article, we’ll take a look at some ways you can show the hiring manager that you possess the skills employers look for in employees simply in your way of answering the “what are your hobbies?” interview question.

Finding the Balance Between Variety and Focus 

When the hiring manager asks you about your non-professional interests or hobbies, this is the opportunity for you to show them that you possess the attributes and personal characteristics they are looking for in an employee. Depending on the specifics of the job you are applying for, you will choose to focus on any of the following traits a person’s interest can reveal about them:

 

  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Creativity
  • Community engagement
  • Interpersonal skills and sociability

 

Before you go into the job interview, it’s best that you have a clear strategy as to what attributes about yourself you want to convey to the hiring manager. You will have a greater chance of success if you identify those attributes beforehand and keep their number to a manageable amount.

 

To be as best prepared as possible, you will want to decide beforehand on what interests or hobbies you will talk about. On the one hand, talking about many hobbies shows you have a high sense of intellectual curiosity. The is an attributes that all prospective employers look for in the candidates they are interviewing, regardless of the position they are interviewing for.

 

On the other hand, the more diverse interests you talk about, the greater the chance that you might come across as lacking focus. Depending on the position you are applying for and depending on the attributes you want to highlight, you will want to select the number of interests you talk about accordingly.

Choosing Between the Inward and the Outward

In overly simplistic terms, non-professional interests can be divided into two categories:

 

Inward Interests 

These are any hobbies or interests that call for activities to be carried out alone. They call for inward examination (even if, often, these activities result in outward expression. These kinds of interests do not necessarily mean the person who has them is an introvert – everyone needs a balance – but they do give off the connotation of being interests that appeal mostly to introverts.

 

These types of activities tend to show a person’s appreciation for or commitment to a process rather than to seeking short-term but immediate satisfaction. They are associated with intellect and they demonstrate that the person is intellectually curious.

 

  • Reading
  • Painting
  • Jogging
  • Mechanics

 

Outward Interests

These are any hobbies or interests that call for activities to be carried out with a partner or in groups. They often involve physical activity such as sport or training but do not need to involve physical activity to be considered outward interests.

 

These types of activities tend to show a person’s comfort level being with others. They involve collaboration, the results are earned collectively, and the rewards are shared.

 

  • Tennis
  • Poker
  • Role-playing games

 

The position you are applying for should help to inform your decision on which attributes you want to highlight. Do you want to present yourself as intellectually curious and committed to a process? Or would you rather present yourself as being a team player who gets on well with others? 

 

If you choose to try and convey that you possess both sets of attributes, you run the risk of conveying that you possess neither

Choosing Between the Competitive and the Constructive

Link to the royalty-free image by GR Stocks here

 

In overly simplistic terms, non-professional interests can be divided into two categories:

 

Competitive Interests

These are any hobbies or interests that call for competitive activities – generally games or sport. 

 

They often involve the participation of a partner or group, but not necessarily. These kinds of interests tend to show that a person is result-driven: they play the game not solely for the sake of playing but to win. They often imply a sense of dedication to improvement (especially in regard to sports that require physical and skills training), and they often demonstrate a person’s ability to interact with others.

 

Constructive Interests

In contrast with competitive interests, with constructive interests, the rewards are not zero-sum. Instead of winning, the reward is the completion of a project or a manifestation of outward expression.

 

Constructive interests can be either inward or outward. They include self-improvement as well as artistic expression and can be done either alone or with a partner or group. These kinds of interests tend to show that a person appreciates and is capable of imaginative thinking. The person who engages in constructive interests tends to appreciate the process or the craft as much or more so than the results they generate.

 

Constructive interests only yield rewards as a result of commitment and dedication. When speaking about any constructive interests you may have – such as cooking classes or gardening – it is important to also speak about the rewards. This will help to show the hiring manager that you make commitments and see projects out to their completion.

The Bottom Line – Your Hobby, a Commitment and Dedication to a Process

Talking about your hobbies or non-professional interests to a recruitment manager is the perfect opportunity for you to explain to them how you are someone who appreciates and respects a process, a way of doing things. Your passion and dedication show that you are able to imagine long-term rewards and have the patience and determination to work towards those rewards.

 

Hobbies that require a certain level of skill make for the best hobbies to talk about during a job interview. They offer you the opportunity to describe how you go about acquiring and improving on new abilities and knowledge.

 

The bottom line is that the hiring manager is looking for an employee how can be dedicated, enthusiastic, and is willing to make a commitment. They want someone who is able to imagine future rewards and apply themselves to a process to work towards obtaining those rewards. These are precisely the attributes your hobbies demonstrate about you. Take the opportunity to make the hiring manager see that.