Are you struggling to come up with interesting answers to standard interview questions?
When you have a formal interview, there are certain questions that are almost guaranteed to be asked, but unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword.
While standard interview questions allow you to prepare your answers, it is important to be interesting. The interviewer is likely to meet several candidates on the same day and ask the same questions multiple times.
So, let’s find out exactly how to answer “What Are You Passionate About?”…
Why Employers Ask “What are you Passionate About?”
This is a common interview question that gives interviewers an insight into your values and personality. It allows interviewers to understand what motivates you, what interests you professionally and personally, and what your strengths are.
One of the main goals of employers is to make their teams as efficient as possible. Therefore, it is useful for them to know what inspires their workers. If several team members are passionate about similar things, it is easier to motivate them to work together efficiently.
This question also gives interviewers an insight into your strengths. For example, people who are passionate about helping people are likely to have strong communication skills and empathy. Those who enjoy charity work are likely to be good at motivating other people and have good organizational skills.
How to Answer, “What are you Passionate About?”
While this question may seem simple on the face of things, there are several tricks to it. While it is important to not give a short and bland answer, but you also do not want to ramble on. So, here is an outline that will help you to craft the perfect answer to this interview question.
Choose something you are really passionate about
Make sure that you are genuinely passionate about the activity, hobby, or skill that you choose. People come to life when they talk about a topic they are passionate about. This enthusiasm translates as confidence and will make you appear more interesting during the interview.
Explain why you are passionate about it
Make sure that the interviewer understands why you are passionate about the subject you choose. On the face of things, your topic may seem rather ordinary and even mundane. However, explaining how the activity challenges you and the skills that you use will display valuable working skills.
Give examples about how you have pursued this passion
Explain the steps that you have taken to participate in your passion and take it to the next level. If your passion is working out, you may have trained for a marathon. If you volunteer at an organization, you may have organized special events to raise awareness.
Relate your passion back to the job
Never forget that you are in a job interview, and this may even be the most important job interview of your life. Even when the conversation is light and seems to be casual, try to connect everything you say to the job. This also applies when you are talking about your favorite hobby or pastime with the interviewer.
End your answer by relating your passion back to the job you are interviewing for. You should also highlight why your passion makes you perfect for the job. If you are passionate about reading and writing, explain how you have learned the importance of focus and attention to detail.
A good way of answering this question is to explain how your working life helped you to find your passion. Perhaps you worked as a computer programmer and decided to try to make simple apps. This is sure to be a skill that employers will appreciate and may even be able to utilize it at work.
Working Out What You Are Passionate About
While you may have a clear idea of what you want to talk about, it is not always that easy. Trying to sound genuinely passionate about something that is connected to the job or industry can be tricky. It is best to brainstorm a few ideas and pick something that you can talk about convincingly.
It is a good idea to start with the industry you work in and work backward from there. Brainstorm the types of skills and abilities that are values and even essential in the industry. Pick one of these skills that connects to something you are passionate about.
Think about the types of things that attracted you to the industry in the first place. You are likely to find that there is at least one aspect of the industry that you find especially attractive. You may have been practicing certain industry-related skills for fun for several years.
Even the most mundane jobs can be turned into a passion with the right spin. If you are interviewing for a job as a secretary, you are likely to spend a lot of time on the phone. The passion you highlight could be making new friends and finding out about their lives.
Perhaps you are the type of person that people tend to come to for advice. Expressing a passion for helping people and counseling them can be a valuable work skill. Employers are sure to recognize that you work well with others and could be the glue that holds the team together.
Tips for Giving The Best Answer
As with any interview question, talking about your passion is your time to shine. All of the interviewer’s attention will be on you, and you have the chance to truly impress them. So, here are some ways to ensure that you make the most of your time in the spotlight…
Be prepared for follow-up questions
If you have sold your passion well, the interviewer is likely to ask follow-up questions. Therefore, it is important to choose a topic you feel comfortable talking about at length if need be. If you are passionate about writing, the interviewer may ask about your favorite writers and books.
When answering follow-up questions, it is essential to answer the actual question rather than rambling aimlessly. It is a good idea to work out in advance the types of follow-up questions you are likely to be asked. This will allow you to prepare concise answers and stick to the point rather than wandering off course.
The interview may ask you a follow-up question regarding how you incorporate your passion into your life. This gives the interviewer a sense of your commitment level to the things that you are passionate about. This is likely to help them to understand how committed you are likely to be to work.
It is a good idea to provide a couple of examples about how you have dedicated yourself to the interest. This helps to support the details of what is important to you. It is also a good way to engage and connect with the interviewer.
Talking about goals such as training for a race shows that you finish what you start. This demonstrates the ability to plan and persevere. Explain how achieving your goal made you feel and how you enjoy taking on new challenges in your professional life.
Explain why you are passionate
It is a good idea to briefly explain why you are passionate about a certain hobby or activity. This will give interviewers a clearer insight into what motivates and inspires you. Perhaps you enjoy running marathons because you thrive in a competitive environment where you can succeed while having fun.
You may be drawn to a certain hobby because it allows you to flex your creative muscles. Alternatively, a passion for tutoring allows you to help other people and make connections. No matter what your passion is, highlight the soft skills that can be connected to your professional life.
Connect your passion to the job naturally
You may find that there is not an obvious connection between your passion and your career. It is important not to try and force a connection that sounds false and rather desperate. However, with a little brainstorming, you are likely to find a natural connection that interviewers will appreciate.
Avoid making up a passion because you think it is what the interviewer wants to hear. If the interest you choose is not your true passion, it is likely to be obvious in the way that you talk about it. Talking about something enthusiastically is more likely to appeal to an interviewer and helps them to see you as a well-rounded individual.
What Not to Say?
Sometimes, knowing what not to say is as important as knowing what to say. Rambling or putting your foot in your mouth could make the interviewer question your professionalism. Here are some examples of things that you should not say when answering this question.
Do not overemphasize your passion
Make sure you do not talk about something that could cut into your working hours. No employer expects you to be chained to your desk around the clock. However, if your passion requires rigorous training that could eat up numerous hours, the interviewer may question your commitment to work.
Make sure you are not sharing something that is controversial. Talking about something taboo is likely to make you memorable. However, it is much better to be remembered for your work-related achievements.
Do not make something up
It is important to talk about something that you are actually passionate about. Spinning an elaborate yet convincing story is likely to trip you up in the end. The interviewer may ask for a lot of details about your pretend passion that you are unable to answer.
But What about The Other Questions You Will Be Asked?
No worries! I have created in-depth guides to answering all the most common interview questions such as Answering Tell Me About Yourself in Interview, or responding well to Why We Should Hire You, and even blowing them away with the perfect answer to Why Do You Want to Work Here in 2021.
And, if you’re interviewing with a major retail outlet, we also have a packed database of interview questions for a vast range of companies! Everything from Kmart Interview Questions and Cheesecake Factory Interview Questions, to Aeropostale Interview Questions and Bed Bath and Beyond Interview Questions. Just search the site to find what you’re looking for.
Back to today’s guide…
The good thing about this question and other standard interview questions is the chance to practice. Make sure you grab this opportunity with both hands. You should practice your answer with a friend or family member so that they can provide feedback.
It is also important to be aware of your body language when answering interview questions. Practicing speaking in front of the mirror will help with this. You will be able to identify any distracting body language and minimize it so that it is less distracting.
The very best of luck in your next interview.