What Are You Passionate About?

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May 21, 2020
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min read

There are many interview questions you might be asked throughout the job-seeking process. We're here to make sure you are prepared for any question that you might be asked.

In this article, we'll focus on the question, what are you passionate about? We will break down why it's asked and the best way to make your answer work.

Why interviewers ask what you're passionate about

Companies and hiring managers want to get to know candidates as best they can throughout the interview process. They want to know if you would be a good fit both professionally and culturally. Asking about your passion is a great way to get to understand the type of person you are.

What people like to do in their free time gives insight into the person. An interviewer might ask this question in a different way though.

Be on the lookout for other questions that are worded differently but that are ultimately asking, what are you passionate about?

  • What do you like to do in your free time?
  • What hobbies do you have?
  • Do you have a hobby or passion?
  • What interests do you have outside of work?

Regardless of the way the question is asked, the hiring manager is attempting to get to know you and what you like. Even if the interviewer doesn't like the same things, they are looking for enthusiasm about a passion of yours. What motivates you?

Keep in mind this question is not being asked to trip you up in any way. The interviewer simply wants to get as much information about you as they can during your time together.

Listing passions on your resume

It's a good idea to include a passion or two on your resume. It gives a sample of your personality to the company before the day of your interview.

Companies decide who to interview based on applications, so include something from your life that might help you land an interview. Taking a few minutes to include a passion on your resume might better your chances.

Passion examples for interviewing

As you start to think about what your passion example should be, here are a few tips to keep in mind. Think about something you like to do that also shows you are a dedicated person. For example:

  • Do you like to volunteer or help others?
  • Do you spend your free time helping your community?
  • Is working with animals your passion?
  • Is there a sport you enjoy playing?
  • Are you training for a race or marathon?
  • Do you take classes to perfect a skill?
  • Are you working to get a higher degree?
  • Are you involved in any clubs or groups?

Is there something in the list above that matches what you like? You want your answer to be genuine, so really take the time to think of something that is true.

There is no perfect answer to what your passion is. An employer will be able to see right through an answer that isn't truthful.

Think about what you might say and run it by a friend or mentor. Talking it out with someone can help make your answer stronger.

Make sure you include something that can also be applied at a professional level. Your passion should show that you are dedicated, motivated, and those skills will be used at work.

For example, that could be an animal, a sport, or learning a language. Next, find a way to share how that excites you. Explain how your passion relates to the way you work.

For example, if you are training for a marathon, it shows the employers that you can set goals and follow through. If you do anything that helps or gives back, it shows you care about the world and what is going on around you. That dedication and passion can help a candidate's career by showing you could potentially be a great team player.

The same goes for someone who likes to play a sport or plays a musical instrument. You take the time to practice and help your team.

What to avoid

Here are a few things you do not want to include when discussing your passion.

  • Playing video games
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Doing nothing
  • Watching TV

Everyone likes to relax, but that is not a passion. Think about what you love. It could be something that you don't think could relate to work.

Never think your passion isn't good enough. Whether you study, go mountain biking, or participate on a team, your passion is what makes you the candidate you are.

Talk about how you got into your passion and how often you participate. Give an example of what it means to you and the biggest takeaways you have learned.

If you're not sure what your passions are or you're not sure what you want to do for work, consider taking a personality quiz or working with a career coach to discover more about yourself.

Final thoughts

Job interviews are very challenging, so you want to be prepared. If you are new to interviewing, take a look at commonly asked questions and answers. Think about both professional and personal questions that you might get asked.

While your experience and skills are most important when it comes to applying for a job, your passion might be the thing that you have in common with the interviewer. Maybe that helps establish rapport and pushes your name to the top of the list for the open job.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I identify my passions for the "What are you passionate about?" interview question?

To identify your passions, reflect on activities that you enjoy and that motivate you, even outside of work. Consider what topics you love reading about, the projects you've been involved in that excited you, and the accomplishments you're most proud of. Look for patterns in these areas to articulate a clear and genuine passion that aligns with the job you're applying for.

How can I relate my personal passions to the job role during an interview?

To relate your personal passions to the job role, first understand the core values and mission of the company. Then, draw connections between your passions and how they can contribute to the company's goals. For instance, if you're passionate about continuous learning and the job requires staying up-to-date with industry trends, highlight how your passion for learning will drive you to excel in the role.

Is it acceptable to discuss multiple passions in an interview, or should I focus on just one?

It's best to focus on one or two passions that are most relevant to the job during an interview to keep your answer concise and impactful. Discussing multiple passions can dilute the message and make it harder for the interviewer to see the connection to the job. Choose the passion that best demonstrates your fit for the role and the value you can bring to the team.

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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