What Do You like to Do for Fun: How to Answer the Hobbies and Interests Interview Question

A woman enjoying her polaroid camera as she exemplifies how to answer the what do you like to do for fun interview question

Overview

What Do You like to Do for Fun: The Hobbies and Interests Interview Question

Let’s talk about answering the infamous interview question that asks, “What do you like to do for fun?” Don’t feel like reading? Listen here!

Try as you might, you can’t predict everything you’ll be asked in a job interview. Most candidates prepare for standard questions about skills, experience, and expectations — but if you want to stand out? You need to prepare for the less common interview questions as well. And one of those questions is often, “What do you like to do for fun?”

If the hobbies and interests question pops up during your interview, you’ll want to answer in a way that meets — or even exceeds — expectations. So in this article, you will find everything you need to prepare some sensible responses. And as a bonus, we also provide some sample answers to get you started. 

Is the What Do You like to Do for Fun Interview Question Standard?

Asking about hobbies during a job interview has become a controversial topic among both career experts and HR professionals.

Some say such questions help the HR department learn more about applicants and their soft skills. However, others protest against this line of questioning and argue that it violates applicant privacy.

The latter group believes the after-work activities of potential employees are none of their business. Moreover, they say innocent answers are often misunderstood and painted in a negative light.

Nevertheless, the “What do you like to do for fun?” interview question persists. So if you want to be ready for anything, you must prepare to talk about your hobbies for interview purposes.

A professional holding his job interview via online.

What Is the Purpose of Asking What Do You like to Do for Fun in an Interview?

When a hiring manager asks what you like to do for fun in the middle of an interview, they might actually want to know about your hobbies. Then again, they might be asking the question for an entirely different reason. 

  • They might be initiating small talk to see whether you can keep a conversation going. In some positions, after all, making small talk is a valuable skill. And if you fumble here because you aren’t prepared, the results won’t bode well. 
  • They might want insight into your skills, interests, and passions. Show them you have a zest for life and a unique personality!
  • They might be trying to surprise you with a random question unrelated to the job. Show you can turn on a dime without breaking a sweat. 

What Do You like to Do for Fun: Keeping It Positive

You should view the “What do you like to do for fun?” interview question as a chance to shine — no matter the motives of the person asking.

This is the approach recommended by Shiv Gupta, CEO of Incrementors SEO Services:

Some of your extracurricular activities may be directly relevant to this particular position or organization. Discuss the activities that qualify you for tasks, training, and other workplace progress. The company’s recent involvement in charity work or its positive employee surveys. This procedure can help you focus on the vital details and demonstrate your skills, qualities, or values.

Of course, your hobbies and interests may not relate directly to the prospective position. And that’s okay, too. Because no matter your current hobbies, you can frame your answer to showcase the value you’ll bring to the team.

And all it requires is some care, attention, and forethought on your part. 

“How Should I Discuss My Hobby So the Interviewer Takes Value Out of It?”

The specific hobbies or skills you mention are less important than how you mention them.

When you talk about your hobbies, avoid:

  • Listing out your hobbies with no elaboration
  • Act embarrassed or shy about your hobbies
  • Breezing over them as though they don’t matter to you

After all, this question is an opportunity for you to reveal your sense of passion and engagement with the world. Even better, it’s also an opportunity to give yourself a boost as a job candidate.

Keep reading for tips on how to show that your hobby makes you a better employee.

Linking Your Hobbies with Transferable Skills

Whatever else you do, be sure you consciously connect your hobbies to useful, transferable skills that will benefit you in your new position and thus also benefit your prospective employer.

According to Andriy Bogdanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Online Divorce, it is of the utmost importance that you create an obvious connection between your hobbies and the beneficial skills they have afforded you. 

Sincerity is paramount, but do focus on applicable interests and hobbies in relation to the job. Some of those I have interviewed gave me interesting answers like traveling, blogging, and gardening. The most impressive are those who were able to relate their hobbies and interests to the job they were applying for. Providing a reply that will show the recruiter a skill you learned from a specific hobby or interest will earn you points. Answering the question by simply narrating a litany of sports or other interests without citing its benefits to the company would set you back by a few points. 

Providing Context

Context is vital for hiring managers to understand the value of your interests and hobbies, and that context can only be provided by you.

When it comes to discussing your hobbies, context is huge. For example, perhaps you enjoy playing video games in your spare time. And while fellow gamers might automatically link this hobby to strong problem-solving skills, non-gamers might buy into stereotypes instead. They might assume your gaming hobby means you don’t like to interact with real humans and you rarely get off the couch in your spare time.

Most likely, these assumptions are incorrect. But if you fail to draw the connections during your interview, the panel or hiring manager may judge you based on their own preconceived notions. 

But guess what? With the right context and explanation, your answer can help your prospective employer to see your hobby as a benefit rather than a distraction.

A closeup view of painting as a hobby.

How to Answer the What Do You like to Do for Fun Interview Question: 3 Sample Responses

No matter your hobbies, you can prepare a “What do you like to do for fun?” job interview answer that enhances your hireability. And in the process, you’ll get one step closer to landing the job you want. 

Sample 1: The Runner

Most people know at least one runner who never stops talking about running. In this case, though, runners get a free pass to share their enthusiasm in the name of their job interview.

Most runners have learned:

  1. How to overcome obstacles
  2. How to stick to plans and programs that prepare them for long races
  3. When to push and when to slow down to avoid injury

All of these traits common to runners are also qualities that can benefit a team and company

Sample Answer

I’ve been running since college. I find it a good way to stay fit, have fun, and get some fresh air at the same time. As a matter of fact, when I’m running, I find that the rhythm and monotony actually help my brain loosen up and practice some creative problem-solving, especially when I’m running long distances. I’ll just be putting my miles in, letting my mind wander, and then suddenly, BAM! My brain will come up with a solution to a problem I hadn’t even been thinking about at the moment! It’s amazing. Must be all that oxygen to the brain! This has come in handy more than once on major projects.

Sample 2: The Artist

Artists can have a reputation for being flighty and fanciful. However, these are just stereotypes.

In reality, artists typically:

  1. Have increased neural matter in specific parts of their brains
  2. View the world with a sense of beauty, wonder, and possibility
  3. Exercise patience in completing projects

Sample Answer

In middle school, I took a painting class because I didn’t want to be in band, and that was my only other option. I’m so glad! It’s been one of the most unexpectedly rewarding decisions of my life, and I haven’t stopped painting since. Though my skills are still improving, I’ve found that the artistic discipline itself balances out some of my Type-A, hyper-focused tendencies. It also reminds me to relax, unwind, and reconnect with the world outside of work. After I’ve been at the canvas, I always return to the office renewed, refreshed, and in the right headspace to collaborate more effectively with others. 

Sample 3: The Gardener

Some people may think of gardening as a hobby for retired folks. But in actuality, gardening has no age limits and can be enjoyed by anyone. 

Gardeners also:

  1. Learn perseverance over many seasons
  2. Purposefully increase their knowledge of horticulture and the local environment
  3. Stay fit and active while bringing beauty into the world

Sample Answer

I’ve really gotten into gardening! My partner and I have a small yard, but we built some raised garden beds and planted flowers and herbs. Our first season wasn’t too spectacular but we learned what we did wrong, readjusted the next year, and enjoyed fresh flowers and herbs all season long. As much as I’ve loved learning about gardening itself, I’ve also loved learning about how to adjust my thinking, discover new realities, and try better the next time. It’s a skill I’ve been able to bring with me from the garden to the office. 

“What If I Don’t Have a Hobby?” 

Here’s a conundrum. How should you answer interview questions about your hobbies if you don’t have any?

The truth is, everyone has hobbies, passions, and interests outside work. Yours might just be so fully integrated into your life that you haven’t recognized it as a hobby.

Identifying Your Hobbies

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help identify your hobbies:

  • Who cooks the meals at my house?
  • How many books do I read per year?
  • How do I relax when I’m tired or stressed?
  • Do I fix things around the house myself instead of calling for a repairperson? Why do I do that?
  • What do my friends and family members know me for? 

In answering these questions, you likely discovered something about yourself that you can mention as a hobby.

If this exercise proved less than helpful, select something you do as part of your daily routine. Even something as basic as cooking, cleaning, or exercising can be used to form a stellar answer about your hobbies and interests.

So, what’s one of the worst ways to answer the “what do you like to do for fun” interview question? It’s stating that you have no interests, passions, or hobbies. At best, you would come across as guarded and defensive. And at worst, you’d seem uninterested in the world around you or unprepared to talk about yourself and your life. Neither of these situations looks good during a job interview.

But remember: With a bit of preparation, you can easily avoid disaster. 

Tennis racket and ball

Wrapping Up: The Main Takeaway

Not everyone will face the “What do you like to do for fun?” interview question. However, plenty of employers still ask prospective hires about hobbies and interests outside of work.

To prepare a sensible answer to this interview question:

  • Consider why the question is being asked
  • Decide on one or two hobbies or interests that you can offer as examples
  • Consider how to present your answer so that it showcases your hobby’s value — and how it can benefit the company

And that’s really all there is to it!

With a bit of preparation, anyone can confidently answer interview questions about hobbies and interests.

More Resources for Job Interview Questions and More!

Beyond the “What do you like to do for fun?” interview question, you’ll also want to be prepared for every other aspect of your next job interview. Check out more resources available from Lensa Insights, and walk into your next interview ready for anything!

Ruth Buchanan
Ruth Buchanan
Ruth Buchanan has spent the last decade writing for the business and corporate worlds. Blending careful research with insightful commentary, she seeks to help job seekers level up in their chosen career paths. A US-based writer, she currently works from the shadow of the Carolina foothills.

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