Tough Interview Questions: What Are Your Hobbies? |

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EP 747 Although this may not seem like a tough interview question, it is a subtle one with subtle intention.  Here, explain how to answer it.

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The question for today is (I know you're not gonna think this is a tough interview but I'm going to explain why am going to include this), "What are your hobbies?"

What the trying to do is to connect with you in some way and at the same time, you something to evaluate you with to see if you are an A performer or your someone who goes to the job, goes home and forgets about everything. They're not looking to find out if you're a member of "the resistance," or a member of the Republican National Committee as part of your part-time or volunteer work. What the trying to do is to see if there is something that can be translated into work-related stuff.

I know there are things in terms of organizing that can translate but you open up the possibility of being rejected based upon politics or faith, or other things. When you bring in religious organizations, when you bring in political activism… Stuff along those lines that I don't think really serve you. It may be true. Which would you rather be someone who is right or do you want to look at something a little bit differently and get the result?

What I suggest people do proactively is think about the things they do outside of work and tell the story of being actively involved so that you demonstrate something that's congruent with the work that you do. For example, the obvious case is, "What I do (this is a sales person's story) is competing martial arts. I work with the sensei, we test regularly, it is fabulous for my "edge" to be in a situation where I am constantly competing." You understand why that story works and, yes, I could've gone into this big elaborate story here, but I just want to make the simple point that there are things that you do in your personal life that demonstrate the right tone for answering this question.

If you think being a mom doesn't show that you can be well organized, that you have empathy and care for people that you are interacting with, you're missing the point of all this. This is a situation where you can bring out a great quality that employer wants to see in a new hire, brings a right to the surface in a very subtle way so that it is a part of your life and you demonstrate authenticity all in answering this question.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for what more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1100 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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