What Do You Do in Your Free Time?

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: September 01, 2022

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Interviewers have many questions they can ask you, and you may be ready for many that are technical or dig into your work history. However, some interview questions are of a more personal nature, and ‘What do you do in your free time’ is one of the most common ones. They may pose the question in other ways as well, such as asking about your hobbies, special interests, volunteer commitments and extracurricular activities.

What interviewers really want to know is if you will fit in with the company culture, if your outside demands will interfere with your dedication to the job, and if your personality lends itself well to the job description. Ideal candidates will be able to communicate well with other employees, which is easier for people who have compatible temperaments.

Understanding the motive behind the question can help you formulate the most agreeable answer without appearing as if you are simply stating what you think they want to hear. With proper preparation, you can give an answer which will set you apart from the competition.

Ideally, your response to the interview question will make it plain that your character, interests and disposition are an ideal match to the job you are applying for. PS: If you need help writing a resume that’s tailored to the specific needs and requirements of the job you are applying for, our Resume Builder can help you get the work done fast.

How to Answer the ‘What Do You Do in Your Free Time’ Interview Question

Each person being interviewed for a job will have a different answer for this question, but no matter what you like to do in your free time, there are points that must be emphasized when crafting your answer. By following these points, your response will demonstrate your commitment to your career and your likelihood to succeed in the job.

1. Highlight How Serious You Are About Your Career

Share how you stay current in your industry, such as attending seminars, reading relevant books and online materials, and mentoring young people who are entering the field. If you maintain a blog or any type of professional journal, be sure to mention that as well. Often, extra skills such as writing well can be very appealing to potential employers.

Also mention a few personal interests and explain how and why they are important to you and how they help you in your career. For instance, if you work at a desk most of the time, your passions for running and Sudoku might help you stay fit and keep your mind sharp. Making sure your answer is relevant to the job you are applying for should be your number one priority when answering tough interview questions.

2. Show Enthusiasm for Your Activities and Interests

No matter what answer you give, be sure to speak clearly, concisely and with optimistic energy. Keep your list of interests brief, and remember the purpose of the question is to evaluate your personality, so maintain a positive tone but do not brag or embellish the truth.

For example, if you are a marathon runner, be sure to mention it, but don’t include your stats. Also, mentioning activities you do not enjoy may be perceived as negative, so avoid talking about your dislikes.

3. Keep It Clean and Neutral

In the interest of keeping a positive tone, never mention any activities which may be controversial. This includes political activities, religious affiliations, and anything that you wouldn’t share with your grandmother or your neighbor’s children.

An exception to this rule would be if the position you are applying for is directly related to a controversial topic. In that case, stating your involvement is perfectly acceptable. Again, be sure your answer is upbeat, to the point, and completely true.

Sample ‘What Do You Do in Your Free Time’ Interview Answers

  1. In my free time, I like to stay current with the industry by reading trade journals and attending seminars put on by well-known experts in the field. I also keep a blog about current trends in our field, which helps me stay focused on how the business needs to evolve to meet market demands. On Tuesday evenings, I attend a book club for adults who are passionate about historical fiction. Most weekends are spent in my garden or hiking in the mountains with my rescue pup. Eating fresh and healthy food, clearing my mind and keeping my body fit are important to me so that I can focus on my career.

  2. My career is very important to me, but I realize that I have to take time to recreate as well. To help me transition from a busy day at the office to downtime, I spend a couple of hours each evening reviewing spreadsheets, journaling my ideas, and reading trade publications. I have a couple of favorite websites in our industry which I enjoy browsing as well. I also enjoy gourmet cooking, which helps me learn to focus on detailed instructions and procedures; this is very important in our line of work. Good food also helps me relax and stay healthy.

Now that you are prepared to answer one of the most common interview questions- you can knock the interviewer’s socks off and be a memorable candidate for the job.

Similar Questions That Might be Asked

1. How Do You Spend Your Free Time?

When answering this interview question, keep the following in mind:

  • Your answer should touch on hobbies/interests that are related to your career/industry
  • Your answer can also touch on hobbies/interests that aren’t related to your career/industry
  • Avoid mentioning hobbies/interests that are of a political or religious nature (unless they tie to the job you’re applying for)
  • Keep your hobbies/interests PG-rated

2. What Do You Do for Fun?

When answering this interview question, avoid the following:

  • Mention of illegal or illicit activities, such as recreational drug use
  • Mention of any activities that could put you in a bad light (for example, booze-soaked weekend brunching with friends)
  • Mention of hobbies/interests that are of a political or religious nature (unless they tie the job you’re applying for)

3. How Do You Spend Your Time Wisely?

When answering this interview question, keep the following in mind:

  • Discuss activities that will put you in a positive light – for example, activities that tie to your career/industry, or ones that show you’re intellectually or creatively inclined
  • Do not discuss activities that will put you in a negative light – for example, playing shooter video games for 10 hours straight on a Saturday

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