Your university degree will play a big part in helping you get a job; but it is possible to add more skills to your
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Sometimes, the simplest graduate job interview questions can be the most difficult to answer. While you might have prepared your answers to “Why should we hire you?” or even “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, a question regarding your interests outside of work can be a bit of a curveball.
When put on the spot, selecting your hobbies and interests that are simultaneously work-appropriate and not too vague can present a real challenge - especially under time pressure.
However, the question can be a chance for you to impress (and even bond with) the employer, while also being able to talk about the things that genuinely interest you.
So in order to decide which of your interests are best to talk about in a graduate job interview, let’s look at why employers choose to ask it in the first place…
While graduate employers are interested in your skills and qualifications, they’ll also be keen to know that you’re a well-rounded and balanced individual.
No-one wants to hire a workaholic with no life outside of the office, and someone who has pursued passions and interests out of work or alongside their studies will be able to offer a number of transferable soft skills.
Whatever hobbies you choose to mention, the fact that you are able to discuss them will indicate that you are enthusiastic, dedicated and adaptable – skills that will be beneficial to any business.
As well as demonstrating that you’re a well-balanced individual, the hobbies and interests you choose to talk about will signify particular soft skills. These might include:
Often, employers will ask you about your hobbies to assess whether you would be a good culture fit for their company.
If, for example, a company is big on volunteering, hearing that you’ve been heavily involved in charity or community work would indicate to an employer that you would be a good match for their team.
Likewise, if a team is heavily involved in outdoor activities, your involvement in similar pursuits would signify that you’d be a great cultural fit.
An employer will be able to tell straight away if you are lying about your interests.
Not only could this be a source of huge embarrassment (imagine if they have follow-up questions!) but being insincere about your life outside of work will be a huge red flag for any employer.
Lying about your hobbies (or not having any to mention at all) will imply that you have no life outside of work, and aren’t the kind of well-rounded individual an employer would want at their company
While this question is relatively informal, mentioning hobbies that are work-inappropriate is a big no-no.
Telling an employer that you like drinking or gambling will, for obvious reasons, fail to give them a great first impression of you – so stick to mentioning interests that are relatively uncontroversial.
On the flip side, giving answers that are too vague or generic can be equally detrimental.
If you say that you like music, for example (something the vast majority of people would claim to be interested in), an employer might be led to think that you have no real passions, active interests or unique attributes.
Make sure that your “hobbies” are things you actually take an active interest in, and can back up with events you’ve attended, groups you’re a part of, or activities you’ve partaken in.
Before you go into any graduate job interview, think about which of your interests will be most attractive to an employer – and construct an answer that shows you’ll be an asset to their business.
Read our complete guide to Interview Questions!
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