The question “What are you passionate about?” may not be as difficult as some of the others you will be asked in an interview, but it is very personal. In order to answer this question effectively, you need to share what you find interesting with an interviewer that you may have only known for a few minutes.
It can be especially baffling if you are asked this question in a job that may not sound particularly interesting. For instance, how do you talk about your passions if you are an administrative assistant, or an accounts payable manager?
In this guide, we’re going to discuss why employers ask you about your passions and how you can answer questions about your passion. We’ll also walk through a few example answers to help inform what you say in your interview.
Why Am I Being Asked About My Passions?
Questions about your passions are common in job interviews for a number of reasons.
The first reason is that asking about your passion will help an employer learn more about your strengths. The thing you are most passionate about is likely an activity that you have invested a lot of time in. Thus, you should have a good amount of experience or knowledge related to that subject area. For instance, if you are passionate about web development, you’ll likely have many hard skills related to building websites.
In addition, asking about your passion can help an employer gain a better understanding of who you are as a person. Because this question is not specifically anchored toward job interests, employers can use it as a way to learn more about the personal interests of a candidate. For instance, if you are passionate about helping others, that is a good sign that you are a kind and well-rounded individual.
How to Answer the Question “What Are You Passionate About?”
Now that you know why employers ask about your passion, you may be wondering how you should go about discussing your passions in a job interview.
To help you answer this question, we have compiled a list of tips on how to discuss your passion in an interview.
Tip #1: Think about an activity or idea that you’re deeply interested in
Before your interview begins, take some time to think about what activity or idea you are deeply interested in. If you aren’t sure what you find really interesting, then think about the things that you look forward to doing.
Do you look forward to reading books about innovation in the evenings? You could mention this in your interview. Do you look forward to building websites in your spare time? That’s something you could mention in your interview.
Whatever you come up with, make sure you pick something that makes you feel excited. If you mention a passion just because it sounds impressive and is related to your job, you may be seen as inauthentic.
Tip #2: Consider why you are passionate about the activity
Once you know what you are passionate about, you should start thinking about why that thing is particularly exciting to you.
For instance, suppose you are applying for an administrative assistant job. You could say that you are passionate about managing phone lines because you enjoy talking with new people. This is a crucial skill that you’ll use on the job and something that an employer will be looking for in an administrative assistant.
Tip #3: Link your passion to the job
When answering this question, you should link your passion back to the job for which you are applying.
Suppose you are interviewing for a user experience design job and have noted that you are passionate about finding ways to make websites easier to use. There are many ways in which you can connect this passion to the job—user experience design is all about making websites easier to use—which you could explore in your interview.
Linking your passion back to the job is important because it will help an employee understand how your passion will help you be a more effective worker.
Tip #4: Share examples
In your response to this question, you should share an example or two about when you have pursued your passion. This will give an employer an opportunity to learn more about how your passion drives you, and what you have worked on related to your passion.
For instance, suppose your passion is stamp collecting. You could discuss how you write for a blog devoted to stamp collection which has a few thousand monthly visitors. Or, if your passion is finding creative ways to organize complex systems, you could talk about how you spend your free time optimizing your schedule and trying out new productivity systems.
In addition, you can mention goals that you have met in the past, which will allow an interviewer to learn about the results you have been able to realize as a result of your passion.
Tip #5: Don’t sound too passionate
While you may be extremely passionate about sewing or knitting or analyzing data, you shouldn’t let your answer to this question take up too much time.
If you talk about your passion in too much depth, you could create the impression that your passion could interfere with your job, and talking too much about your passion may also make an employer feel like you are more committed to your passion than your job. This is a negative signal in any job interview because employers want to hire people who can commit fully to their organization.
Example Answers to “What Are You Passionate About?”
Now that you know how to approach this question, you’re ready to start crafting your answer. To help you out, we have prepared two example answers that you can use to inspire you as you consider how you want to answer this question.
“As a full-stack web developer, I am passionate about creating efficient websites that allow people to engage well with technology. In my last job, I loved being able to see how a website comes together with the help of different developers. It was also great to contribute to bringing together the efforts of our front-end and back-end developers together. Launching a website that I built with others and seeing people use it makes me feel happy.”
In this response, the candidate has discussed how they have a passion for creating websites. They have also cited a specific example of where this passion has been realized and mentioned how their passion makes them feel.
“I am passionate about cooking. I enjoy spending my spare time reading through new recipes and experimenting with them to see what works and what doesn’t work. Over the last two years, I have maintained a blog where I share my takes on common recipes, and every month I contribute to my local church’s bake sale. My passion for baking allows me to practice my organizational and time management skills, which I also reinforce on the job.”
In this example, the candidate’s interest is baking, which may not be related to their job. However, in their response the candidate has mentioned two key soft skills—organization and time management—which are transferable to their job.
The interview question “What are you passionate about?” is a chance for you to open up to an interviewer and explain to them something that you find intensely interesting.
Talking about your passion will help an employer get to know who you are in more depth, and learn about your dedication toward the goals that are meaningful to you.
If you spend time thinking about this question in advance, you should find it easy to come up with a response that both demonstrates your passion and shows the skills that passion has allowed you to develop that may make you a better candidate for the job.