April 13, 2011
Difficult Interview Question: What Do You Like to Do in Your Free Time?
When recruiters and hiring managers veer from questions about past job duties (and "where you see yourself in five years") to start asking about your free time, they're often trying to figure out whether you'll fit in with the team and the company culture. These questions can provide insight into your personality.
But your hobbies and favorite pastimes also say something about on-the-job behavior, so make sure the ones you describe say good things. Sure, your prospective manager may be an avid TV buff, but if you say your primary hobby is "channel surfing," he or she may see you as (instead of a kindred spirit) something of a couch potato.
Not all of our favorite activities and portray us as we want to be seen at work, so the question "What do you like to do in your free time?" has been known to cause panic. Here's one way to prepare:
On the left side of a piece of paper, write a list of adjectives that describe the perfect person for your target position: conscientious, diplomatic, tenacious, or whatever makes sense. Then, on the paper's right side, make a list of your hobbies -- include all the things you love or enjoy doing on at least a semi-regular basis. Now draw lines between the hobbies and the characteristics that describe them (many hobbies match more than one adjective). For instance, "being a parent" would match all the aforementioned characteristics, and "running marathons" would match at least the final one.
The hobbies that match a lot of your adjectives are the hobbies you can plan to talk about in your interview (and "channel surfing" probably didn't make the cut).
Note that this isn't about being dishonest: it's very risky to claim a skill or an ability that you don't have, or to misrepresent yourself in any way when you're in a job interview. This is about putting your best foot forward -- showing off your best self. Think about what your different hobbies say about you. For instance, enjoying golf may say you like competition, enjoying crossword puzzles may say you seek out mental challenges, enjoying lake fishing may say you have patience, and enjoying watercolor paining may say you're strongly creative.
Planning ahead for these tough interview questions will help you shine when the spotlight is on you.
How do you answer this interview question? Or do you have any tough interview questions you'd like help answering? Let us know in the Comments section, or find us on Twitter or Facebook and be in touch.
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You can also add volunteer work.
Posted by: JR Westberg | Apr 19, 2011 4:36:33 PM
You can also add volunteer work.
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Posted by: Harry Mae | Jul 25, 2011 2:18:29 PM
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