Job Interview Question: What Are You Passionate About?

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When you're asked what you are passionate about during a job interview, it's a good opportunity to share hobbies, enthusiasms, or whatever is important in your life. The hiring manager is looking to learn as much as possible about you, and what you can bring to the company in addition to the skills that qualify you for the job.

Why Employers Ask What You're Passionate About

Why do companies want to know about more you than whether you meet the job requirements and are a good fit for the position?

Employers ask this question to learn a bit more about your personal interests and values, and also to see whether or not you are a dedicated person whose activities outside of work can benefit the organization.

Interviewers are also looking to see that you're a well-rounded person, with a life outside of the office. Your answer to this question can reveal if you will be a good fit with the company culture. While you still want to be careful and thoughtful in how you respond, try to be genuine in your response, and show how you engage with your passions.

This is also a good opportunity to connect with the interviewer on a personal level, and build a rapport – even if they don’t share your passion, they’ll relate to your enthusiasm.

How to Respond

Your response doesn't need to be focused on work, but it should demonstrate your ability to devote yourself to a particular task or hobby about which you are passionate.

If what you're passionate is very personal, you don't have an obligation to share it with an employer. Instead, you could share something else that you're interested in doing and give a simple response about that.

Whatever your response, provide some examples of how you have dedicated yourself to that interest or activity.

You can also mention goals (such as training for a race, if running is your passion), which gives interviewers a sense of your long-term thinking and perseverance.

The interviewer may ask follow-up questions about your passion, so make sure it's something you feel comfortable discussing.

If film is your passion, for instance, interviewers may ask for movie recommendations, or inquire about your favorite movie.

No matter what your answer is, be sure that what you share isn't something that could potentially cut into your working hours. For example, you don't want to say that you're a mountain climber with the goal of climbing Mountain Everest soon, that you're getting ready for the Tour de France, or forward looking to spend the winter skiing in Aspen.

Examples of the Best Answers

  • One of my greatest passions is helping others. When I was younger, I enjoyed helping my mom with household repairs. As I grew older, that habit grew and I desired to help others as well. I like helping people find solutions that meet their specific needs.
  • I'm passionate about painting. I take an evening art class once a week and try to find time each weekend to paint. Painting is a good way for me to relax after a busy week.
  • I lost my father to pancreatic cancer and ever since then, I have spent time volunteering to help raise awareness and funding for cancer research. I volunteer for PanCan, an advocacy group, and I'm part of their volunteer network. One of the things I'm passionate about is assisting in finding a cure, however I can. I also love getting to know patients and survivors on a personal level.
  • I'm passionate about making a difference. When I'm involved with a project at work, I want to do my best to achieve success. I feel the same way about what I do in my personal life.
  • I'm passionate about baking: I love the process of researching new recipes, and testing them out. I've been writing up my experiences baking for the past three years, and every year, I host a massive cookie swap around the holiday time with friends.
  • Animals are my passion. I have two dogs and a cat, and I volunteer at pet adoption clinics on the weekend. I enjoy early morning walks and weekend hikes with my dogs. It helps me focus and gather my thoughts.

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