Answering “What Are You Passionate About?” in an Interview

Updated 16 April 2023

A common interview question is "What are you passionate about?" Employers may ask this question because they seek to understand what motivates you during your interview. Having a strong answer to this question can help you succeed in an interview. In this article, we discuss what employers are looking for in your answer and how you can prepare to answer questions like these.

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How to answer the interview question "What are you passionate about?"

To answer this question, follow these steps during your interview:

1. Select something you are genuinely passionate about

To avoid sounding unenthusiastic, think of something you are genuinely passionate about. Speaking about a topic that excites you means you are more likely to know about the topic, and your excitement is more likely to be apparent in your explanation. To prepare an answer to this question, think about your hobbies and interests. List activities you look forward to, or that you can spend a long time working on without getting bored. From that list, select a topic you are knowledgeable about.

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2. Explain why you are passionate about it

Think about the topic you have selected to determine what makes you feel passionate about it. List a few different reasons that you have adopted the hobby or chosen to educate yourself about the topic. This is where you can really demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm about the topic. You want to show your interviewer that you can take a topic seriously and dedicate yourself to it. This can confirm that you take your work seriously as well.

Relate any reason that you have to care deeply about your topic back to a skill that you want to share with your employer. For example, if you like to draw because you enjoy practising precision and expressing yourself, your employer can learn that you value creativity and attention to detail.

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3. Give examples of how you have pursued this passion

Use anecdotes to give a few examples of how you have pursued your passion. These anecdotes can help describe your experience and provide a context for your passion that helps your interviewer understand how your skills can transfer to your job performance. Showing your pursuit of a passion can demonstrate problem-solving, determination, leadership skills and self-motivation. For example, if you are passionate about exercise, you can mention a time that you ran a marathon, requiring you to create a training schedule and dedicate yourself to training for months at a time.

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4. Relate it to the job

Once you have explained your passion and described how you pursued it, the final step is to relate it to the job for which you are interviewing. The interviewer has asked you this question to determine if you are a good fit for their company. Your answer can include how your dedication to this passion has taught you a valuable skill that applies to the position. List a few skills that you can connect to your passion so you can prepare to make the connection during your interview.

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Why do employers ask this question?

This is a common interview question employers might ask because it gives them clues to a few different areas about you, including:

  • Who you are: It is helpful for employers to connect with you to see if your background and culture align with the company's values, beliefs and attitudes. One way to better understand you as a person is to find out what moves you or what you are passionate about.

  • What motivates you: Asking what you are passionate about might help them understand how they can motivate you. It might also inform them whether you are able to be committed to a certain task or hobby.

  • Your strengths: You likely put time, effort and practice into the things you are passionate about. This can mean you have certain strengths built around them. For example, if you are passionate about helping people, you likely have several strong soft skills like communication, organisation and empathy.

What are examples of passions?

Examples of passions you can mention are passions that meet the following criteria:

  • Appropriate: Only speak of passions that are appropriate for the workplace. For example, you may be passionate about organisation and relationship-building, both of which are good passions to mention during your interview.

  • Current: Mention a passion in which you currently participate. This can give your answer more authenticity.

  • Relevant: You can likely relate any passion back to the job, but consider researching the company to see if you share any interests with the stated mission of the company. For example, if you are passionate about animals, and the company is a pet food company, you can relate your passion to the job easily.


When thinking of a passion that you can present to an interviewer when asked this question, think of a passion that encapsulates the following aspects of your professional persona:


Choose a passion that showcases both your hard and soft skills. Hard skills are technical skills that require a certain amount of training. Soft skills are usually skills that you develop as a part of your work ethic or personality. Here is an example of an answer that showcases skills:

"One of my passions outside of work is dancing. I have studied dancing for years, consistently taking classes. I believe that the best way to maintain a skill is to practise and prioritise improvement in that skill. In my pursuit of this passion and my desire to share it with others, I have organised dance recitals, where I took on a leadership role. Through dance, I have learned a lot about attention to detail and teamwork with other dancers, but organising a recital also gave me a chance to exercise my leadership and event planning skills."


Your interviewer is looking for a topic that excites and motivates you, so try to let your genuine enthusiasm come through in your answer. Here is an example of an answer that shows enthusiasm:

"I am passionate about caring for plants and learning more about gardening. Someone gave me a beautiful weeping fig plant that started my interest in gardening. Since then, I have accumulated more houseplants of different varieties and care needs. I have researched a lot in the past few months through reading gardening books and joining online forums that share experiences and helpful plant care tips. I love having plants in my house because they bring colour and vitality to the environment, which I believe has positively affected my productivity and sense of fulfilment.

Gardening requires attention to detail and adherence to a set schedule, but I also enjoy how you can witness the change in a plant because of your own actions. It has really put into perspective how my hard work can positively impact a project."

Work ethic

A passion is something that you want to work at, which means it can be one of the best examples of your strong work ethic. When answering this question, show your interviewer that you can work hard at something that is important to you, including working at their company. Here is an example of an answer that demonstrates your work ethic:

"I am very passionate about tutoring students in English. I struggled with English in school, and I am dedicating myself to additional tutoring to overcome it. I am familiar with how much work mastering a subject can require, so I love to help others. I work with English students twice a week to review their homework. I also do research and study to make sure I am providing accurate and up-to-date tutoring. It is a lot of additional work, but I believe it benefited my professional life and that I can help these students succeed too."

Ideal working environment

Your passions can say a lot about what excites you and how you feel comfortable. For example, if you are an extroverted person, your passions may reflect ways you can interact with others. Think about how your passions reflect your personality and ideal working environment to share with your interviewer to determine if it aligns with the company's environment. Here is an example of an answer that showcases your ability to thrive in a working environment:

"One of my biggest passions is knitting because I love that it is something you can do alone or with other people and because it is a skill that my mother taught me and my sisters. I believe that this skill has taught me about the benefits of spending a lot of time on one project, and how small actions can affect the entire project.

It has also taught me that being by yourself does not mean that you are not engaged in the activities you are participating in. This is something that I believe can be helpful to me in this role because it is fully remote, and I would work alone most of the time."


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