Despite the industry, one question every interviewer or hiring manager will ask in an interview is, “What are you passionate about?”. This isn’t a question they ask to trip you up or want you to panic when they speak to you. Interviewers ask about your passions and interests because they want to learn more about who you are as a person.

The answer you respond with needs to be strategic. They want to hire a candidate who is excited about their work, their life and will bring the same energy and passion in the workplace — not someone who will show up deflated and quit in the first year.

The difficulty when answering “What are you passionate about?” revolves around what makes it the correct answer. After all, they’re your passions, so there shouldn’t be an incorrect answer. However, there are certain ways to answer this question to impress the interviewer — here are some of the best ways to answer questions about your passions in your interview.

Why do interviewers ask, “What are you passionate about?”

Before you begin crafting your response, it’s essential to understand the ‘why’ behind an interviewer or hiring manager asking you this. They want to understand more about you and your answer will help them realize:

  • Where your strengths and weaknesses lie
  • What your professional and personal interests are
  • What motivates you

This isn’t a conversation filler, either. The way you respond about your passions gives the interviewer an idea of how they can make their team efficient, what you’d bring to the team and what they would need to do to inspire you, should you join the company. When they find out about your passions, it gives them a better understanding of what they’d need to do to motivate you if they hired you.

It’s also a question they’ll ask to find out about your strengths. If you struggle to respond to a direct question about your strengths or you struggle to highlight them on your resume, indirectly mentioning them when discussing your passions goes a long way. You’ll put a lot of effort into the skills and hobbies you’re passionate about, meaning you’ll have naturally built specific strengths around them.

An example might be that you’re passionate about volunteer work. That could mean you have skills in communication, teamwork and empathy. While you may not need to mention these skills outright, highlighting your passions can bring the strengths out.

“What are you passionate about?” is also a question interviewers ask because they want to know what you’re like as a person and what you’d add to the existing team. By discovering your passions and motivations, interviewers and hiring managers know how you fit in with the organization’s values.

How to answer “What are you passionate about?” in your interview

Although the passions you mention are unique to you, you can follow methods and outlines when preparing to answer this question during our interview. To help answer the question without panicking, you should:

Pick something you’re passionate about

Only pick one passion so the conversation flows naturally and make sure the passion you choose is one you can speak confidently about. Otherwise, you risk sounding unenthusiastic. If you can bring some knowledge and excitement to your chosen passion, employers will enjoy your answer.

Highlight why it’s such a big passion of yours

After selecting your passion, explain to the interviewer why it’s your passion and what excites you about it. There’s nothing wrong with it being a personal passion and something you feel strongly about. But where possible, try to relate it to the experience or skills you’ll need to excel in the job you’re applying for.

Showcase examples of your passion and interests in action

The next step involves explaining what’s involved when you take part in your passion. Your passion might include teaching the next generation of developers. This shows you’re committed to the role you’re applying for — if it’s a developer role — because it’s something you’re involved in outside of work. 

Bring it back around to the job you’re applying to

To complete your answer about your passion, always end it by relating the passion to the position you’re applying for. Also, subtly explain why you’re the best choice for the role. Let’s assume your passion is coding and you’re interviewing for this type of job. There are obvious connections to make with your skills as a developer and how your experience will benefit the organization.

The best example answers to “What are you passionate about?”

Again, the way you answer the question depends on your passions and interests. The more work-related you can make it, the better. However, here are some examples you can tweak and use to fit in with your particular passions in your next interview.

Example answer 1

“As you’re aware, I work as a software developer and it’s the role I’ve applied for. So, my passion is creating beautiful experiences for people that use technology easy and memorable. One thing I look back and smile on is the work in a recent client project we worked on which had great results and feedback. The fact I can lead more projects from idea to launch is one of the big reasons I applied for this role.”

This is a good answer as it’s directly related to the position and industry in which you’re trying to secure a role. It also references a valuable skill you can pass on to your possible new team and what you expect from them.

Example answer 2

“I’d say my biggest passion is healthy eating and living. I’m a big advocate of being your best self in life, as it’s something that was ingrained in me at a very young age. Even in this industry, I enjoy bringing that passion as I can blend my personal and professional interests together. I love working with a happy, motivated team and doing my part to keep the team energized, positive and in a good place both mentally and physically. 

“This is why I applied to this managerial role here, as working with people motivates me to do my best work and also to bring the best out in them, too.”

This combines the best of both worlds — you reference your personal passions and the skills you picked up that would work well in the new position. Plus, it shows your leadership qualities.

Example answer 3

“Without a doubt, my biggest passion is the development of technology and software. I’ve been into this since a very young age. It’s my hobby on the side, it’s what I majored in and I haven’t stopped working in this industry since I started working. I get to shape how the internet progresses and evolves, plus I learn a lot myself. I don’t need learning to be prescribed, which is why I think the company will benefit as I’m always forward thinking.”

This answer is a type that shows the company doesn’t need to encourage you to learn more about your industry. It subtly explains how your work is your passion and that the business will benefit from your passions and interests.

Example answer 4

“My biggest interest and passion lies in self-improvement and developing myself both personally and professionally. I always push myself to learn more, do more and challenge myself more. That’s why I love working in this industry. I’ve picked up a lot of communication, problem-solving and listening skills that have helped me get this far. I can bring all of this and a lot more to this company.”

The answer to what your passions are could go down the personal route, like the example above. It gives the interviewer an insight into what you’re like away from work and the type of personality the office could gain. It’s a great catch-all response, especially if you’re unsure of what your true passion is.

Example answer 5

“I have a couple of interests, to be honest. One of my biggest passions, though, is spending time volunteering at my local charity. Their mission resonates with me and my beliefs so it’s been a great opportunity. While volunteering, I improved my organizational skills massively, which I can see is an important requirement to succeed in this position.”

Interview question

It isn’t a requirement to have a work-related passion. It can just be a bonus if you do. If this applies to you, an answer like the one above tells the interviewer what you’re like as a person.

The examples answer above regarding what you’re passionate about show a range of different qualities. After you respond, be prepared for follow-up questions. You should also prepare for this so you can remain calm and confident during the interview.

To secure the interview in the first instance, set up your profile on VanHack. Create an engaging profile and stand out from others to increase your chances of landing your ideal job. You can also film a handful of videos so interviewers and hiring managers can get to know you, the person behind the digital profile.

If you need more help with the interview, the VanHack Premium Academy can help you get prepared with practical interview answers, nuance education and more. Get started today.

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