Job Interview Question & Answer: What Do You Do in Your Spare Time?

What Employers Are Looking For

Some interviewees regard, “What do you do in your spare time?” as an intimidating question where employers want you to slip up and provide information that could ruin your chances for hire. In reality, interviewers just want candidates to open up and give glimpses of personality traits. The question gives candidates the chance to offer information about lives outside of work. Employers may not necessarily look for spare-time activities which relate directly to the job applied for. In most cases, hiring managers simply want candidates to simply express enthusiasm.

How To Answer

Candidates need to provide answers which reflect creativity, drive, and passion. Hobbies and volunteer work demonstrate the qualities well. Common hobbies which appeal to employers include sports, carpentry, gardening, and DIY projects. Volunteer work may include any type of community involvement. The question gives candidates the opportunity to stand out, so applicants should choose unique activities hiring managers remember. Additionally, candidates should prepare to talk in detail about hobbies or volunteer work, as employers often use the question to open up conversations.

Mentioning activities which relate to the job in some way may benefit a job seeker; however, candidates should not strictly focus on job-centered hobbies and volunteer work. In fact, candidates who mention only job-related activities in responses may come across as disingenuous. Employers want associates to maintain proper work/life balances and should mention hobbies representative of well-rounded personalities.

Things To Avoid
Remain truthful during the interview yet avoid volunteering potentially negative information. Non-creative or inactive hobbies, as well as activities largely considered as vices, should stay out of answers. Many job seekers may enjoy drinking beer, spending time on social media, playing video games, or watching TV all day. While fun, the activities do not favor applicants in interviews. Also try to avoid talking about affiliations in social groups or clubs, as others may hold negative views of the organizations. Additionally, avoid vague answers, like “I don’t have any free time” or “I hang out with friends.”

Example Answers
Candidates may keep answers brief, as one or two sentences often suffice. Some examples of appropriate answers include, “I enjoy staying fit and going out in nature. At least once a week, I like to hike around the nature preserves near my home,” and “I enjoy working with my hands and like to restore old furniture.”

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