At a certain point in any interview, you’re going to get asked:
“So, what do you do for fun?”
It’s an inevitable question, and for some people, it’s an easy enough one to answer.
These people have, for lack of a more dismissive word, hobbies.
The rest of us have a different experience with the question.
“Well earlier today I spent nine hours reading Game of Thrones fan theories and Damon Lindelof’s Wikipedia page. That’s a hobby, right?”
When you’re the sort of person who fills your time with rich and rewarding experiences that better you as a person, it’s easy to bring those up when someone asks.
But when you’re the sort of person whose idea of fun is to take two sick days off work to binge the new seasons of Stranger Things and Mr. Robot consecutively, then you’re in a bit of a quandary.
When you’re trying to impress an employer, what hobbies are good to talk about? And what should you leave out?
As with most interview questions, it’s important to understand exactly what’s being asked by this question.
You see, while it’s definitely important for a hiring manager or potential boss to know what your qualifications for a job are, at the end of the day there’s also the possibility that they might have to, you know, work with you.
In the event that this happens, they need to know how you’ll fit into the company culture, or even just if you’re a baseline interesting person to talk to.
All of this means that it’s important for your boss to figure out if you’re willing to hang out and develop relationships with strangers, or if you’re more likely to stay home and play obscure, disturbing indie games on your VR console.
“I’m telling you, no one else use Judy’s Oculus Rift. I don’t know where she got it, but I put the goggles on one day and saw straight into Hell.”
Here are some things your boss might be trying to figure out about you by asking this question:
Unlike some interview questions, you don’t really need to prepare a full answer to this question, and doing so might even work against you.
You’re looking for common ground with your interviewer, or for some way to portray your unique interests to them in such a way that they’ll understand what you find valuable about your hobbies.
Just don’t try to defend something like beer pong as a worthwhile use of your time. However you manage to frame it, it’s not going to go over well.
Pictured: Beer Pong, a drinking game which everyone looking for a job would do well to pretend they have never heard of. And anyway, it’s not as good as Boom Cup.
There are a few other major dos and don’ts you want to keep in mind when you’re answering this question:
Good Hobbies To Mention Here (And Why):
“No one’s disputing how good Kevin is at Scrabble, we’re just saying it’s not fair for him to keep using words that only exist in the Black Speech of Mordor.”
Not Bad Hobbies, Per Se, We Don’t Want To Shame Anyone Here And (Frankly) More Power To You, But Hey, Maybe Avoid Bringing These Ones Up At This Point In Time:
For f***’s sake, Greg.
When it comes to talking about what you do for fun, remember that enjoyment — much like beauty — is in the eye of the beholder.
What you find fun isn’t necessarily what other people would find fun, but then, that isn’t really the point.
The point is that you enjoy things outside of work and that you have some way of communicating that enjoyment to other people, even if they don’t share that interest themselves.
Or even if that interest is something societally disruptive and objectively unfun. Like cycling.
“Oh hey, fellow bikers, don’t worry about that old bikes-only lane nearby. I found a way better route through the middle of this busy highway intersection. Let’s follow the entire length of it during rush hour while moving at 25 miles an hour. This is a good hobby.”
If you’re able to convince someone that you enjoy a hobby like that, you’ll have no problem at all landing yourself a job.
Best of luck! Here are some other links to help you on your way: