Answering 'What Are Your Areas Of Interest?' In An Interview
Updated 12 August 2023
Many recruiters understand the importance of hiring candidates who pursue hobbies and interests beyond their work, as it helps them maintain a work-life balance. During an interview, they may ask questions related to hobbies and interests to better understand your overall profile as a candidate. If you are applying for jobs, learning how to answer this question can help you prepare well in advance. In this article, we discuss why an interviewer may ask 'What are your areas of interest?', explain how to answer this question and share some examples of appropriate answers:
Why Do Interviewers Ask, 'What Are Your Areas Of Interest?'
Interviewers ask the question, 'What are your areas of interest?' to learn more about who you are a person. They typically want information about your interests related to your profession and beyond work. Work-related answers help them identify the type of work and tasks that you may enjoy, which can help them allocate responsibilities you might find interesting.
Learning about your interests beyond work can help recruiters understand what you like doing in your personal time. This can help them determine if there are like-minded professionals in your team who share your interests. It can also help them evaluate whether you might enjoy working with their team or participating in the company's planned recreational activities. While answering this question, it is a good idea to talk about your genuine interests. You can combine your interests at work and in your personal life in one answer.
How To Answer An Interview Question About Your Areas Of Interest?
Here are some steps you can follow to prepare for an interview question about your interests:
1. Understand the job description
Before you start preparing an answer to this question, it is important to read and understand the job description. Based on your previous experiences, you may be able to identify things in the job description that excite you. For example, at your previous job, you may have been responsible for creating interesting marketing campaigns for different products. Because of your experience, you know you enjoy creating interesting concepts for marketing campaigns.
Reading the job description can also help you identify some interests in your personal life that you could use in the job you are applying for. For example, you may like to read and write in your free time. If your job requires written communication skills or content creation, this extra-curricular interest can help you excel.
2. Brainstorm your interests
The next step is to think about all the things that you like to do. On a blank piece of paper, you can create columns and start listing activities and hobbies that you enjoy in your personal and professional life. This can help you identify interests you may be passionate about but might not have thought about initially.
3. Select a few genuine interests
Once you have compiled your list of activities and hobbies, it is important to select those which you are genuinely passionate about and that also align with the values of the company, as this can help you bring them up during the interview. The interviewer may use your answer to allocate you to certain departments or teams. This is also a good way for them to help you connect with like-minded team members if you get the position.
4. Relate your interests to the job
After you have identified which interests you want to include in your answer, think of ways in which you can relate them to the job. Compare your interests to the job description and make relatable connections that the recruiter would notice. It may also be a good idea to read the company's description on its 'about' web page so that you can find additional similarities between your interests and those of the company.
Companies may use their social media profiles to display their extra-curricular interests, values and beliefs. They may also use these to showcase activities that they have organised for their employees outside of work. Checking these profiles can help you compile talking points for your interview and make your answer more relatable to the recruiter.
Related: How To Crack A Job Interview
5. Organise your answer
The final step is to organise your answer so that it flows naturally. There are no strict guidelines for the answer's structure, but it is helpful to consider it while preparing one. Some of the job-related interests you discuss may vary depending on the job description, but your personal hobbies may remain consistent.
For each interest, consider why you enjoy it and how it helps you. While it is good to connect your work-related interests to the job you are interviewing for, it is acceptable if you only do this with a few of them, as the interviewer also wants to understand your hobbies outside of work. For example, if you like swimming or running, talk about why you like the activity or how you developed it. You can then talk about how it helps you stay active, exercise daily and enjoy the movements.
Example Answers To The Question, 'What Are Your Areas Of Interest?'
Here are some examples of answers that can help you prepare for your interview:
Example 1: Sports
Here is an example of how you might answer this question regarding your interest in sports:
As a child, I grew up playing outdoor games with my siblings and cousins, such as badminton, cricket and kabaddi. I still enjoy playing these games in my free time and during outings with friends. While these games help me stay active, they have also taught me a lot about teamwork and sportsmanship. Since the work hours at my previous job were early, I would often miss my exercise routine in the mornings.
Because of that, I have been playing badminton every evening with my friends and neighbours. It helps me get my daily exercise, socialise and keep my mind fresh. Before my interview, I visited the company's social media page and noticed that it has organised several outdoor activities for its employees. I found it delightful to know that I may have the opportunity to enjoy my personal interests at my job.
Example 2: Travel
Here is an example of an answer that discusses a passion for travel:
I am extremely passionate about travelling. I try to travel whenever I get the chance. In the last year, I have taken about 15 local trips on the weekends and visited three countries. While I love travelling with my friends and family, I also enjoy travelling solo. It helps me clear my thoughts, introspect and plan my next steps.
With each trip, there is so much that I get to discover. It helps me learn about the local culture, art and cuisine. But I often experience delays, cancelled plans or unexpected situations. This has helped me learn how to adapt to uncomfortable situations, develop my problem-solving skills and figure out how to make decisions quickly.
Example 3: Writing
Here is an example of how you can discuss your interest in writing and demonstrate your communication skills in your answer:
While I have several interests, something that I really enjoy doing is writing. I have been creating some form of content over the last ten years and it has helped me hone my written communication skills. I feel that I express myself best through words. When I was younger, I enjoyed writing essays and stories in grammar classes.
As I grew up, this interest continued and I started writing articles. I also have my own blog where I publish one article every week. I often spend a significant part of my week planning my article. Considering the role that I am applying for, I believe my passion for writing can also help me at my job. I can apply my skills to social media content creation, article writing and other marketing content.
Example 4: Volunteering
Here is an example of an answer you can provide to discuss your volunteer experience as a hobby:
One of my hobbies is doing volunteer work in my free time. During my college days, along with my classmates, I founded a club that offered students a platform to contribute to society's welfare. Now, I volunteer with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) for women and children.
My primary role in the NGO is to help children with their education, but I also volunteer in the life-skills workshops organised for women. For me, one of the most fulfilling experiences is to be able to contribute selflessly to the welfare of other human beings. I often help organise volunteer activities at my job and I have helped my teammates do volunteer work too.
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