Answering the “What Are You Passionate About?” Interview Question
“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life” goes the old adage. And yet, this isn’t always the most practical advice. After all, making a living from playing video games or petting your cat is highly unlikely. So, why do interviewers ask, “What are you passionate about?” Because your passions show the real you—and the skills that you’re motivated to build even when you’re not collecting a paycheck.
At the same time, you want to ensure your every interview response bolsters your “I’m the best candidate” case. Today, we’ll show you how to check both boxes. The best way to connect your personal passion with your day job is by focusing on the transferable skills that apply to both.
How to answer “What are you passionate about?”
The interviewer wants to know what inspires you and brings you joy. To craft a successful answer, use the following framework for your answer:
1. State what you most love doing.
Start by sharing what genuinely excites you. It can be a hobby, an activity, or a cause (but stay away from anything controversial). If it directly relates to the job, that’s great; this question will be easy for you. If not, that’s totally fine. This is all about letting your passion and enthusiasm shine through. In general, engaged and motivated people are engaged and motivated employees. Let’s take a look at an example for an aspiring social work intern:
2. Share how you’ve pursued your passion and integrated it into your life.
This question is less about the passion itself than how you’ve pursued said passion and what you’ve learned from it. Include specific examples of what this interest has inspired you to do, like this:
3. Discuss which skills you demonstrate through your passion.
This is where you start to seal the deal. Focus on which skills you’ve gained or honed through your passion. These will likely be soft skills, which can also be applied to this role. “Aha!” your interviewer will think. “If this candidate is so successful with their passion using these skills, they’ll also rock this job.”
4. Apply your passion, and the skills above, to the job/field at hand.
Finally, you want to ensure the interviewer understands exactly how your response makes you a great candidate for this role. Spell it out to drive the point home, such as:
“What are you passionate about?”: Example answers
Take a look at some more examples of strong responses.
Example 1: Entry-level marketing coordinator
Enthusiastic, ambitious, with a direct link to the job she’s interviewing for, even though the passion appears unrelated to the role: this response hits all the right notes. At the same time, a love for travel could spook potential employers. Will it interfere with your job and impact your ability to be in the office? This candidate gets ahead of any anxiety by letting the interviewer know that travel makes her an even better worker.
Example 2: Software development intern
This candidate has a unique passion and more subtly connects it to the internship at hand, which is simple and effective.
By sharing your passions, you show the interviewer that you’re a complex person. A good employer will recognize that and want to capitalize on what truly makes you tick.