There is an interview question that keeps coming up during job interviews, but candidates keep answering it incorrectly and that question is “what do you do in your free time?”
Majority of candidates think this is an invitation to start talking about how they go out with their friends, drinking, or how they spend loads of time on the internet or scrolling through social media. Those are not the things you want to say in response to this difficult interview questions.
If you have a job interview coming up soon for any role or organization, make sure you read this post from start to finish because you will learn the scripted answer.
How to answer interview question, “What do you do in your free time?”
To help you pass your interview, this post will cover the following four things:
- WHY the interviewer is asking you the question, what do you do in your free time? There is a specific reason why this question is being asked, and if you want to pass your interview, you need to know what it is!
- 5 things you should never say you do in your free time during an interview! These 5 things are RED FLAGS to an employer, so make sure you avoid them at all costs.
- 10 things you can do in your free time that the hiring manager will find interesting and appealing.
- 3 brilliant answers to the interview question, “what do you do in your free time”, to help you PASS your interview.
WHY IS THE INTERVIEWER IS ASKING YOU THE QUESTION, WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME?
Whilst it really isn’t anybody’s business what you do in your free time, the hiring manager is asking you this interview question for two reasons.
What you do in your free time often says a lot about your personality, your values, your goals and your work ethic. They want to employ someone who uses their free time in a certain way.
If you are the type of person who Burns the candle at both ends, you are likely to go off sick more than the average employee, and you are less likely to be flexible in your working hours.
The answer you give to the interview question, what do you do in your free time? Is going to contribute significantly to the overall outcome of your job interview. So let now look at the 5 things you should never say you do in your free time during a job interview.
5 THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME IN AN INTERVIEW
These five things are red flags to a hiring manager, so make sure you avoid them at all costs.
- Don’t say you go out drinking and socializing regularly.
Whilst there’s nothing wrong with drinking and socializing, the hiring manager could think your concentration levels at work won’t be up to the required standard.
- Don’t say you spend your free time on social media.
Again, whilst there’s nothing wrong with going on social media, it isn’t really a good use of your time, and you could be the type of employee who is always scrolling on their phone when they should actually be working.
- Don’t say you spend your free time playing computer games.
If you’re on your computer playing games for hours on end, you are less likely to be energized and motivated when you are at work.
- Don’t say you spend your free time working.
If you have a second job, or if you are running a business in your spare time, these are not good things to say when answering this difficult interview question. If the hiring manager thinks you are also working elsewhere, they won’t be convinced you will be 100% committed to their company.
- Don’t say you spend your free time watching television.
Watching television is actually a good way to unwind and relax. However, if you spend hours on end watching television or YouTube videos, the hiring manager might think you are someone who is lazy, and lacks drive, and ambition.
Before we look into those brilliant answers to the difficult interview question, what do you do in your free time? Let first know ten positive ways you can spend your time.
10 POSITIVE WAYS YOU CAN SPEND YOUR FREE TIME
- Is to say that you read.
There are so many benefits to reading, including increased concentration levels, improved use of words and vocabulary. It helps you to learn, it helps you to relax, and it can also help reduce anxiety and stress.
- Is to say that you have a hobby or a pastime.
If you have a hobby or pastime, again it can help you to relax but it also tells the hiring manager you are the type of person who has a passion and you can commit yourself to something meaningful. More often than not, hobbies require the ability to learn and apply yourself consistently over a prolonged period of time.
- Is to say that you play a musical instrument.
Playing a musical instrument is great on so many levels. Firstly, you have to learn how to play the instrument which takes time, effort, commitment and concentration. Secondly, it often means you play your musical instrument alongside other people and this requires teamwork, understanding and collaboration skills. And finally, playing a musical instrument is a great way to relax, unwind and improve your mental health.
- Is to say that you look after your family or your relatives.
You might be a single parent, or you might be taking care of elderly or sick relatives. If you are a single parent, hats off to you! This takes discipline, patience, understanding, and lots of energy. If you are looking after sick parents or relatives, it shows you to be a compassionate and considerate person.
All of these skills and qualities are very much needed in the workplace and they will be appealing to the hiring manager!
- Is to say that you’re part of a group, club or society.
This is a brilliant one to say how you spend your free time. You might sing in a choir, be part of a neighborhood watch group, be a member of a swimming or running club, or even be part of a dance class. Whichever one it is, if you are part of a group, club, or society, it tells the interviewer you are someone who has good team-working and communication skills.
- Is to say you study online training courses.
If you are the type of person who often studies online by way of videos or training courses through websites, this shows you to be someone who wants to continually learn, improve and grow as a person, which can only be a good thing for the employer.
- Is to say you keep yourself fit and active.
If you keep yourself fit and active by attending a gym, or by cycling, running or gardening for example, it often means your concentration levels are far better than the average person. You have lots of energy, and you can easily deal with the stress and pressures of the workplace.
- Is to say that you spend your free time with friends and family.
If you spend time with your friends and family, it will often mean you are a caring person, you are settled and stable, and you have specific social and interpersonal skills that are undoubtedly going to be useful in the workplace.
- Is to say that you have creative interests.
Creative interests include painting and drawing, sewing, acting, and even digital photography. Creativity is an invaluable workplace skill that can help a business grow, increase sales, and also develop new products and services.
- Is to say that you volunteer.
This is a brilliant one. Volunteering is a great way to use your free time and I guarantee it will impress the hiring manager. If you volunteer, you are probably a caring person with a selfless attitude who always puts the needs of others before your own.
What do you do in your free time examples (Answer options)
Let now look at the 3 brilliant example answers to that really difficult interview question, what do you do in your free time?
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME? INTERVIEW QUESTION ANSWER OPTION #1
“I like to use my free time productively. I visit the gym three times a week to do cardio workouts. I particularly enjoy using the cycling and rowing machines. Exercise helps me to maintain a positive mindset, it reduces stress, and it increases concentration levels.
I also enjoy spending time with my friends, family and reading. I have just finished reading Jocko Willink’s book entitled Extreme Ownership. It was a great read because it taught me the skill of taking ownership of difficult challenges in my life and how to achieve my goals.”
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME? INTERVIEW QUESTION ANSWER OPTION #2
“I am a creative person, and in my free time, I enjoy digital photography, reading, and studying self-development courses. I taught myself how to take professional standard photographs by undertaking online training tutorials and reading books.
I am at my happiest when I am learning new things and I have the discipline to sit down, apply myself, and learn. Finally, I love animals and have a 6-year dog that I take care of then often walk in my free time.”
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME? INTERVIEW QUESTION ANSWER OPTION #3
“I am a single parent whose free time is mostly taken up by raising my children. Being a single parent has given me numerous important life skills. I am a good multi-tasker, I am reliable, I have empathy for others, and I always make sure my tasks and responsibilities are completed on time.
Finally, I do enjoy keeping fit and when I get time I like to go out running. Running makes me happy, it gives me energy, and it helps to reduce stress and increase concentration levels when I am at work.”
Those are three brilliant example answers to that really challenging interview question, “what do you do in your free time?”
Thank you so much for reading and for paying attention, and I wish you all the best for passing your interview.
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