We’re so much more than our work. When your interviewer asks, “what are you passionate about,” you have the chance to talk about your hobbies, side-hustles, and whatever else motivates you in life. Your response will reveal more about who you are than they can deduce from your resume, and if you’ll likely fit in with the company culture. Plus, there are smart ways to tie your answer back to the job or company in the interview.
How to answer: What are you passionate about?
1. Talk about a passion you’re actively involved in
When choosing a passion to talk about, make sure that you’re currently involved in that passion somehow. Never give a fake answer just because you think you’ll impress your interviewer. It’s important to show how your interests fit into your life and prove that you follow-through on what you believe in.
I love fostering shelter animals. I’ve always loved animals, and I’ve fostered over ten dogs in the past year. I love pampering these animals who’ve been neglected and abused their entire lives—it gives me a real purpose. I was so excited when I saw [Company Name] had a dog-friendly office policy!
2. Make sure you’re knowledgeable about the passion
There’s a 99 percent chance your interviewer will ask you follow-up questions about your passion, so it’s in your best interest to pick a passion that you can easily talk about. Don’t say you’re passionate about reading if you can’t discuss any recent books you’ve read.
Reading is one of my greatest passions. I love getting lost in stories and feeling the joy or pain of fictional characters—it’s so powerful. I just read The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict, and it was incredibly thought-provoking. It’s about actress Hedy Lamarr and her secret life as a scientist and inventor. It made me think about human potential and what we’re all capable of achieving.
3. Give concrete examples
Don’t just say, “I’m passionate about running,” and stop there—dig a little deeper and tell a story related to your passion. This is your chance to open up and talk about something that honestly excites you.
I absolutely love running. Years ago I used to hate it, but I forced myself to run to get some exercise. Once I got in the routine of running my favorite trails, I fell in love with it and run all the time to clear my head now. I spent the past year training, and I actually just ran my first marathon in Portland a few weeks ago. Now I’m committed to running a marathon every two years.
4. Make a connection to the job or company
When possible, tie your answer back to the job, and communicate why your passions would make you an asset to the company. Before your interview, familiarize yourself with the hard and soft skills required for the position and tailor your answer accordingly.
I love writing about food. In college, I started a simple food blog so I could write restaurant recommendations and share recipes I concocted at home. I’ve developed it over the years, and it’s become a real passion project for me. I think the skills I honed from developing my own website will help me succeed here at [Company Name].
5. Explain why you’re passionate
Explaining the background behind your passions adds sincerity and gives more insight into who you are and how that’ll translate into being an employee. For example, explaining that your passion for art stems from a desire for a creative outlet and way to unwind after work will mean more.
I'm passionate about creating art. I take an evening art class once a week and try to find time each weekend to just create something, whether it’s sketching, painting, or collaging. I was looking for a way to destress after a busy week at work, and I found that art was the perfect outlet for me. It’s also great to tap into my creative side and let my imagination run wild. I’ve found that it helps me to be more creative in other aspects of my life, and some of my best work ideas come to me while I’m creating art.