When you're in the hot seat interviewing for a job, you're answering questions such as "What's your greatest weakness?" and "Why should we hire you?" — so a query like "What are your hobbies?" will probably seem like a piece of cake.
But before you start babbling about your lifelong obsession with horses or your newfound passion for baking, consider this: The hiring manager wants to get a better sense of who you are, so it's important to think about which hobbies best showcase your strengths, passions, and skills — and then discuss only those in the interview.
"The employer is trying to determine whether you'd be a good fit, and getting insight into your interests, hobbies, and personality all help in evaluating that," says Amy Hoover, president of the job board Talent Zoo.
Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job," agrees: "By learning more about your outside interests, they can glean more about your personality, and even draw some conclusions about how you may thrive in the organization."
For example, if you like to paint in your spare time and you're interviewing for an account-executive position with an advertising agency, your creative flair might be viewed as an asset when working with your creative counterparts, Taylor says. Or, if you're involved in orchestrating community events, where organizational skills are critical, that would translate well into a promotional or event-planning type of position.
"That said, they are also looking for well-rounded individuals, so you don't want to limit your pursuits to only those that relate directly to your career," Taylor adds.
While there are no wrong answers per se, there are some smart choices you can make when answering this question in an interview, Hoover says.
Here's what interviewers are really looking for when they ask about your hobbies: