I think it is a silly question. What does a hiring manager expect a candidate to say, “I hang out at the local pool hall”, “I sleep a lot”, “I rob banks”? I never understood why people waste their time with this question. But they do.
So how do you answer this question with a straight face? Here are some tips:
- Stick with something related to the job. If I were asked this question, I might talk about an interesting leadership book I read recently.
- Talk about your volunteer or charitable work. Maybe you walked or ran in a charitable fund raiser recently or are planning to in the future. Maybe you volunteer for a local organization like a job seekers group or bake cookies for church bake sales.
- Take a look around the office you are sitting in and observe if there is something you talk about that would also interest the interviewer. If you see golf pictures hanging on the wall you could talk about your golf game. If there are pictures of little kids all over you could talk about how you spend lots of time with your grandchildren.
- If you have an interesting hobby like golf or boating or hiking or skydiving, you have lots of natural material at hand. Pick out some aspect that is interesting and kind of generic to talk about. Something that might spark a conversation.
A couple of warnings and some advice:
- Always tell the truth. Don’t make something up. It is not worth it.
- Stay away from hobbies, true or not, that are not as socially acceptable until you know for sure that the interviewer won’t reach a negative conclusion about you.
- Think of an answer that will spark a conversation. You want to build a relationship so the interviewer will think positively about you after you leave.
Whether it is a silly question or not, be prepared with an interesting answer that starts a conversation. Conversations lead to relationships which lead to job offers.
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