How to answer “What do you do for fun?”

The things you like to do for fun.

 Among others, the HR managers or employers ask more frequently in the interview. And for many applicants, responding to it is not hard.

 If you have some activities you love to do in your spare time, you will simply respond to them.

 But if you have rare hobbies and specific interests can find this question tough to respond to.

This question is used to understand the candidate and figure out if he has fun doing things other than work.

 But this question can be a bit difficult for some people who do not have many hobbies or interests.

And while you may feel like it's your responsibility to give an impressive answer, you don't want to lie about your hobbies.

 In our post, we will discuss the reasons why the HR managers question it, give tips on how to respond to it, plus give some answering examples.

Why are interviewers interested in the things you do for fun?

The reason is simple – the recruiter wants to know your skill level.

When you're asked about hobbies and interests, recruiters are looking for how rounded of a person the applicant is.

 If you like to run and do yoga, that shows an interviewer that you like to be active and strive for physical fitness.

On the other hand, if you like reading books and spending time at home on your couch, that tells the interviewer you are a homebody.

If they employ you, they need to understand whether you will get along with the team, or at least just whether you are an interesting conversationalist. That is, your boss needs to know if you can speak and build relationships with unknown people or if you would rather stay at home and play computer games on your tablet.

When asking it, the organization tries to understand:

  • How you balance between job and private life: it is important for them to know if you are ready to spend the time on the project.
  • What is your character: what does it say about yourself? For example, playing with kids means that you are a good person who likes children and who can easily make contact with people of different age groups.
  • How do you find personal fulfillment: it will help the interviewer to understand if you are satisfied with your life or if you feel like you don't have enough hobbies.
  • Whether there are some common things between your potential boss and you: This question can help your employer to know if you will get along with his personality or not.

There are some instances in which the interviewer might not be satisfied with a simple "I relax by going to the movies" answer. Usually, these cases occur when the candidate has a history of criminal offenses or drug use, especially if they just got out of prison.

  • Your ability to sift the unnecessary that is not suitable to discuss on the job: it helps the interviewer to understand your choice of topics and what you think is important.
  • Whether the person will take advantage of available resources: for example, if you like playing games on your iPhone and would like to play them during working hours as well, that's not a good fit for this job.

The responding strategy

 If you tend to succeed and get the job, you should get ready to answer any question. And the telling about the things you like to do for fun is not the exception. Now, we will present you the strategy that will impress your possible employer and bring you a victory:

  • Share your hobby: When preparing the response, we recommend you think about your hobby and choose the one (or maybe you have a few favorite activities) that demonstrates the significant capabilities you can use in your job. 
  • Valuables' emphasizing: Your spare time and the ways you spend it speak a lot about the things you value the most besides the job. These activities can also relate to the capabilities that are useful and appropriate for your job. For instance, if you sew in your spare time, you can say that it helps you develop the detail-focus ability.
  • Share an exciting story: If you have some funny stories about your hobby, we advise you to tell them. The response will be more winning if you have a story where your favorite activities have a connection with the organization's values or if they have helped you acquire some essential abilities. 
  • Share the reasons you like these activities. Never simply name your hobbies – tell the reasons you like them and what you get from them. Your motivation speaks a lot about you as a worker, so don't miss this chance to show that you're a perfect candidate. 

The best solution is to choose the hobby that describes you and your personality: for example, if you like playing guitar and singing, say so. If it would be more appropriate to describe your personality as a creative one, try saying that your favorite activities are writing songs or making videos.

  • The case of changing hobbies: However much we think that consistent hobbies are good, it isn't always the case. If you've changed your favorite activities many times during your life, don't worry about it. It's not a bad thing to have no consistent hobbies or passions that last for over ten years – you can describe it by saying that you're still trying to find yourself and what gives meaning to your life.
  • The case of unnoticeable hobbies: Saying that you're not sure what do you like to do and the only thing you know is your job doesn't seem very attractive, does it? Try thinking about some activities or sports that might be connected with your job – maybe you can try surfing during the weekend and that will help you develop some useful abilities for your work.
  • The case of strong interests: If you're passionate about some activities that require more than just spare time, but also money and effort, don't be afraid to share them with the interviewer. You can say something like "I love to do sailing during my free time because it helps me develop my responsibility and teamwork abilities." Of course, it's better, to be honest, and explain if the activity requires extra expenses you can't always afford.

The main idea is not to lie about your hobbies, even if they're unusual for this profession – it won't work out in the end.

There are more recommendations on how to successfully respond to the "What are the things you do for fun" question:

  • Start responding vaguely, and then be more concrete. For instance, you can start your answer by talking about your love of dances. If you see that the HR manager or future boss is excited, discuss it more precisely.
  • Show enthusiasm for the things you like. Demonstrate your passion for these things. Otherwise, the employer will doubt whether you like these activities you're discussing.
  • Speak about your favorite constructive activities. Yes, watching movies or walking is great, but if you want to get the job, you need to speak about more constructive activities that develop you as a personality. 
  • If you do not have any favorite constructive activities, you can speak about the interests that you've had in the past or those you want to have in the future. 
  • Don't miss the question and respond to it directly. Otherwise, the interviewer will think the worst ever things.

All of us make mistakes. And when speaking about the things people do for fun, they make some mistakes that affect the answer and the job interview result. So, we will name these mistakes for you to avoid when answering the "What are the things you do for fun" question:

  • Never claim that you don't have any favorite activities at all. Even if you genuinely don't have it, it's not good at all. So, during the answer, you need to describe your interests the way the other person can get interested and be willing to know something more about it. 
  • Always tell the truth and never lie. Or you'll show yourself as a liar and never get a job.
  • Never speak about illegal things. 
  • Don't discuss how you like to party with your friends. Here, it'll be best to talk about the things you like to do together.

Before sharing responding examples, we will advise you the preferable activities to discuss:

  • Outdoor occupations (such as riding bicycles or rock climbing): It's great if you like these activities because they help develop your responsibility.
  • Sports: Discuss the types of sports that match with this profession, for instance, a tennis coach should be a very active person.
  • Hobbies connected to your future profession: Be careful – don't pretend you have things from your past but actually don't have them anymore. If you're a physician and still like to work out, talk about it, but don't say you love to paint when actually you haven't painted for a long time.
  • Reading books or listening to various podcasts: You can say how you love to read books about the history of your profession.
  • Playing various games like chess or crossword puzzle: If your profession includes solving problems, you can talk about how you enjoy playing puzzle games.
  • Participating in local community activities: If the interviewer sees that you are involved in the life of the community, he or she will get a positive impression of you. So, don't forget to include this if it's good for your personality.
  • Painting: If you like this, don't hesitate to say it.
  • Discuss your favorite TV shows: It is a good opportunity to make a conversation and connect with the interviewer. You can also discuss movies that you've been watching lately or books that have recently excited you.
  • Horticulture: This activity is great because it shows how responsible you are for nature.
  • Cooking: This good activity to discuss as a hobby, but you need to show that you're not just a simple cook, but someone who's very experienced and passionate about cooking.
  • Volunteer work: You can say that you've volunteered recently or in the past and you've liked it.
  • Dancing: This shows how flexible you are and how you integrate into new groups.
  • Singing: If you're a good singer, don't hesitate to mention this!

And now, we will share some examples of how to speak about the things you like to do for fun. We hope they will help you to prepare your own answer.

  1. Cooking is my passion, and I'm not joking. I always look for new recipes and experiments. Sometimes, these experiments are catastrophic, but I want the food to be perfect (except for my Mum's pasta – nobody cooks it better than her).
  2. I genuinely love traveling. I've already visited over 20 different countries around the world. I like to examine new cultures, speak with people and learn their traditions. I even have a blog where I post everything I've discovered after traveling. 
  3. I cannot count all my favorite activities on two hands. I like reading books, listening to various podcasts on Spotify, riding a bicycle with my wife, playing guitar… Oh, recently I've started to learn painting, but it'll be long before I can paint something.

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