How to Answer ‘What Are You Passionate About’ Interview Question

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A common question employers may ask you in a job interview is ‘What are you passionate about?’ Your answer to this question can give the interviewer insight into who you are and how well you could fit into the role. This article explains how to answer, ‘What are you passionate about?’ with example answers.

Why employers ask, ‘What are you passionate about?’

Employers ask this question to gain a better understanding of your personality than what they reviewed in your resume and cover letter. Your personal interests can express your values, beliefs and general outlook. An effective answer could show what motivates or inspires you, what your strengths are, if you are capable of commitment and how you relieve stress. 

When you explain your passion, you may be more likely to focus on what you enjoy, which can help remove the pressure of the interview. It can help the hiring manager learn more about your personality and whether you would be a good fit in the company culture. Your passion may also use hard or soft skills that could be useful for the job, allowing you to make a personal connection to the position. 

Surprising ways employers phrase, ‘What are you passionate about?

Employers can ask about your passions in various ways. You can answer any of these questions by explaining your passion:

  • Tell me something you care about.
  • What’s your favorite hobby or interest?
  • What are you like outside the office?
  • What do you like to do for fun?
  • How do you spend your free time?

How to answer, ‘What are you passionate about?’

Use these five steps before your interview to prepare an answer that will impress your potential employer:

1. Choose a passion

Select a passion in advance so you can prepare a thorough answer that connects to your value as an employee. Choose a topic that you care about that would be interesting and relevant for the interviewer. Try to choose a passion that is related to the job you’re applying for, such as a shared skill set or similar audience. For example, you could talk about your beloved pet if you are applying to work at a animal clinic. 

2. Explain why it’s your passion

It’s helpful to explain why you enjoy your selected hobby, interest or activity to the interviewer. This part of the answer tells hiring managers and employers about your personality and can provide insight into whether you would be a good hire. Perhaps the passion helps you focus, gives you a sense of community or makes you feel accomplished. Describing why you have a certain passion can show the hiring manager your ability to reason and your capacity for commitment.

3. Give an example

Offer a brief example of how you participated in an activity that relates to your passion. Try to provide a recent account so the interviewer knows you’re actively pursuing your passion. 

4. Connect to a larger context

If you can, connect your passion to an overall context that will show the interviewer how you fit into your community or interact with others. You can use your answer to show that you have strong core values. For example, a passion for running and participation in marathons can show your dedication, or volunteering can show your emotional intelligence. 

Learn more: Complete Guide to Common Interview Questions and Answers

5. Consider follow-up questions

It is possible that your employer will ask follow-up questions after you explain your passion. Think about what questions someone might ask about your passion so you will be prepared to answer these as well. For example, if your passion is snorkeling, the interviewer might ask about your favorite types of fish or coral. 

Example answers for, ‘What are you passionate about?’

Here are three sample answers to this common question that you can use to help you prepare before your interview: 

Example 1: Choose a passion that shows your commitment 

I’m passionate about running. Aside from staying healthy, running gives me time alone to think and helps me feel energized. After I go for a long run in the morning, I feel peaceful and ready to embrace the challenges of the day. In March, I ran my first 5k. It was a charity run to help raise funds to research breast cancer, so I felt great that I could use my passion to help a worthy cause.

Example 2: Choose a passion that shows your hard skills

My passion is coding and learning new programming languages. I enjoy the mental concentration and the feeling of success after completing a project. I started coding in high school, and I’ve created several computer games by myself. After I finished programming my first computer game, I realized I wanted to pursue a career in technology. I want to learn more and contributions that advance the field.

Example 3: Choose a passion that shows your teamwork abilities 

I love to volunteer at my local animal shelter. Once a week, I help clean, feed and play with the animals. I also help with the adoption counseling process by helping families find the perfect pet. Right now, I’m working with some colleagues to organize a free adoption day at the local community center. I think it’s important for everyone to try to give back to their community however they can.