What are your outside interests?

While you will nearly always be advised not to talk about your personal life or interests during an interview, sometimes the interviewer may ask you about your outside interests directly. You can and you should give an honest answer, after all they asked.

However, you can use this answer to position yourself better than the other interviewees. How? Well, instead of just talking about any interests, or more realistically, the first thing that popped in your head, you should talk about your interests that may also help you in the job or in the company.

Think about what the job needs and if possible use your interests or hobbies to highlight a skill that might come in handy at the job. For example, your love of word puzzles to highlight your problem solving skills.

You can also focus on the company culture. If you know that the higher ups like to get together and play golf on the weekend, and you like golf as well, then this would be a good interest to highlight. Or if the company has a football team, and you played football at college, then mention that. While these have nothing to do with your job, they can be used to highlight you as a person. These are additional skills that make you interesting, that make you who you are. After all, the company is not only investing in your skills, but also in you as a person. Hence, they want to know who you are as a person, and whether or not you will be a good fit with the team and with the company.

While you can list any hobby, you should avoid talking about vague hobbies that add nothing of value, such as listening to music. You can perhaps talk about how you love rock music and that you were in a band yourself. Use this opportunity to stand out from the crowd of other interviewees, and to be memorable. Keep in mind that the may interview 10 to 20 people a day, you don’t want to be just one of those faces. Also, don’t talk about too many hobbies, as this may make it seem that you are all over the place or that you are indecisive.

Sample Answer:

While I enjoy many things, I have a special fondness for playing video games. I feel that they improve cognitive abilities, hence allowing you to learn new skills faster and more efficiently. They also improve your hand to eye coordination, as well as improving your response time, as you need to make quick split second decisions. One of my favorite games to play is FIFA, as it reminds me of the time I played on my high school football team.

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