Interview Insights | Interview Question: What do you like to do for fun?

What do you like to do in your free time?

The best employees have outside interests. They can include spending time with family, running marathons, organizing cook-outs, or reading novels. A well-rounded employee is marketable and your outside interests could very well boost your odds of getting an offer — it all depends on your specific interests.

Boring interests

  • I love to travel
  • I like to invest money in the markets
  • I love to cook
  • I spend time with my family
  • I love to watch TV

Great interests

  • I enjoy traveling off-the-beaten path to places such as Kazakhstan; I’ve gathered thousands of beautiful untouched landscape pictures throughout the years and displayed some locally
  • I like to focus on social investing in particular in the realm of education; I’m up by 30% this month because I decided to focus on the East African market which is very hot these days
  • I spend my Saturdays trying to perfect every sort of pasta dish you can imagine; my Instagram account has 3K followers and I’ve tried 200-plus vegetarian and meat-eater recipes thus far
  • I take advantage of my time with my sons — we put together one new puzzle each week — last week we did one featuring Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
  • I’m addicted to reality TV — from the Biggest Loser to Shark Tank — I love catching up on these shows and blogging about my predictions which tend to be pretty good at a 90% success rate

The key is to pick something that is unusual or specific. Your choice should make you stand out from the crowd. You should be able to speak at length about your interest and engage the interviewer.

Caveat: If you are looking to transition from one industry to another then this is your perfect chance to articulate how you feel in love with your new desired industry — perhaps it was while you explored this interest?

Example:

I’m very passionate about sports — as a spectator, participant, and coach.

I’ve been racing since 1997 locally and around the world. In Brazil, I ran the Rio de Janeiro Half Marathon eight times. I also trained for and ran during the Volta a Ilha de Florianopolis nine times.

Outside of Brazil, I ran in Prague, Berlin, Chicago, and NY.

Running is my first passion but I also row, swim, and participate in triathlons.

Actually these experiences are why I’m here.

Even as an investor relations professional, I’ve always figured out ways to improve Brazil’s position in the world of various sporting activities. For example, after having been a runner during these local races, I was handpicked to bring in sponsors and train other runners for these races. I’ve brought in close to R$ 460 million throughout the last several years.

As a result, I look forward to attending the Rio Olympics in 2016 and helping during the event. I couldn’t miss out on this opportunity to make Rio — the pride of Brazil by organizing our 2016 Olympics running series.

Melissa Llarena’s craft is coaching top executives on how to strategically dissect and deliver the perfect job interview. Get instant access to a 20-page interview preparation kit that will give you an edge. Join the thousands who’ve read her career insights in Forbes and The Huffington Post. Follow her at @CareerOutcomes.

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