One of the most common interview questions that a recruiter can ask you is “what are you passionate about?”.

This question is mostly used to determine what you do outside of work and whether you’re interested in the job position. If you’re wondering how those two things connect—essentially, if your passions and interests overlap with the job description, you are good to go.

This, however, does not need to be just the luck of the draw. You do have some leeway in terms of choosing, describing, and framing your passions to make them fit the job description better.

That’s why we’ve created this extensive guide on all the ins and outs of the “What are you passionate about?” question, to help you master the answer. Let’s dive in.

Key Takeaways

  • When employers ask you what you’re passionate about, they mostly want to know what your strengths and skills are, how your personal and professional interests align and how you use your passions to motivate yourself.
  • While answering, it’s always important to stay truthful. The employers will definitely notice if you decide to lie about what your passions are since you won’t be able to talk about it freely if you don’t have extensive prior knowledge about it.

Why Employers Are Asking “What Are You Passionate About?” Question

When employers ask you what you’re passionate about, they want to figure out what you like to do with your personal time and what you value the most. This question also lets the employer check if you’re a versatile person who has other interests outside of work.

The “What are you passionate about?” interview question is also used in an attempt to understand you better. Through this question, an employer can find out what motivates you, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and whether you’d fit well in the company.

Besides that, employers ask the question to try and make a connection with you. It’s also usually used as an icebreaker so you can both feel more comfortable throughout the interview.

Lastly, this question helps employers figure out what steps they need to take in order to motivate and inspire you to work well.

job interview what are you passionate about

How to Know What Your Passion Is

Although you’ve been constantly told to follow your passions growing up, the truth is that finding out what you’re passionate about is pretty tricky, and if you’re still asking yourself what your passion is, you’re definitely not alone.

To figure it out, you might want to try following these steps:

  • Keep an open mind. If you’re constantly telling yourself that it’s hard to find something you’re passionate about then you’re not helping your chances of finding your passion. Stay open-minded and look for the things in life that you enjoy, as you might be able to come up with ways to turn those things into passions.
  • Try to think of any activities that you enjoy doing. Take a deep breath and think about things you like to do during your free time. After you’ve analyzed most of the notable activities that you’ve experienced throughout your life, you’ll definitely find some of them passion-worthy. Ask yourself—When did I thrive the most? This way you can discover whether you liked leading a group of people, for example, or perhaps you enjoyed helping people in certain situations more.
  • Make a list of those activities. After you’ve come up with activities, try to make a list. The list will help you prioritize and remove any activities that can’t quite compare with some others.
  • Try to find a way to connect these activities. Once you make your list, you’ll notice that it’s basically an incoherent mess of activities that don’t seem to fit together. That’s why it’s a good idea to look for a pattern and some major activity that can string many smaller ones together. Finally, take your career goals into consideration to come up with an end result.

How to Answer “What Are You Passionate About?” Interview Question

After you figure out what you’re most passionate about, here’s what you can do next:

Be Genuine

It’s always important to stay truthful in your interview. This question gives you an opportunity to express yourself and your personality, and showing enthusiasm about your passion usually leaves a good impression on the recruiter.

Staying genuine means that you’re allowing recruiters to get to know the real you better, so it’s best to avoid saying something just because the interviewers want to hear it.

Besides that, it’s also important to keep it relevant. To do so, avoid mentioning any passions or hobbies that are entirely unrelated to the job, especially if those are the ones that can distract you from work.

Be Actively Involved in the Topic

Always talk about a passion that you’re actively involved in, as this will make it easier for you to talk about it genuinely and freely.

It’s a good opportunity to express yourself and what you believe in, and preferably demonstrate your true skills and interests. If you like jogging, try to talk about how you’re energetic and disciplined. If, on the other hand, you’re great with students, talk about how you enjoy helping people.

Be Enthusiastic

The main thing you should focus on when you talk about your passions is finding the perfect level of enthusiasm. While it’s important to show how much you enjoy your passions, it’s also crucial not to overdo it because it can look fake.

Additionally, if you’re overly enthusiastic about your passions, the employer might think that you won’t be able to focus on your job enough.

Make Your Passion Work-Friendly

Lastly, avoid talking about your passions if they are not work-friendly. Don’t mention your passions if they might be considered inappropriate or controversial.

Instead, try to link your passion with the job in a natural way. If, for example, you enjoy doing research on personal finances, mention how that has helped you hone the budgeting skills you need as a project manager.

a woman working online and a dog

Work-Related “What Are You Passionate About?” Answers

Although your passion doesn’t need to be work-related, it’s still important to try to at least partially link it to the job description.

Here’s how you can do that:

#1. Sample Answer

Answer example: I have worked in the IT industry most of my adult life. I noticed very early on that I am someone who’s just in love with developing new code. I have also been playing video games quite regularly for as long as I can remember, and growing up, I’ve always wanted to create something like that myself. That’s what motivated me to start learning Python. I’m extremely passionate about coding, as I genuinely enjoy the process of bringing something to life.

Why this example works: This links your skills with your passions, and since they are actually related to one another, it’s much easier to connect them to the IT job.

#2. Sample Answer

Answer example: I have recently gotten really into personal financing, and I’ve been writing about it at length in my blog. This enabled me to hone my marketing and SEO skills as well, in addition to being a great way to entertain myself and learn about ways to manage personal finances. I can say that I’ve also become quite confident in my new skills and that those will be helpful for budgeting within your finance company as well.

Why this example works: If you’re applying for a finance job, try to talk about your skills and relate them to your passion. This way, you’ll show that your interests align with the job description and that you’re naturally predisposed to do well at work.

#3. Sample Answer

Answer example: I am very passionate about helping people. I find a lot of joy in finding solutions for customers. As I’ve previously worked as a customer service agent, I’ve noticed that I am quite patient and always ready to help, no matter how tough a client’s problem can be.

Why this example works: This is a great way to answer “What are you passionate about?” for customer service related jobs. Showing that you’re someone who loves to help and be there for people is a great way to relate your passions to the job description and position.

#4. Sample Answer

Answer example: I’ve been told that I am great with children, which ultimately led me to becoming a teacher. I’m very passionate about helping students reach their full potential. I’m a firm believer that anyone can be taught and that patience is a great virtue.

Why this example works: It demonstrates your steadiness, patience, and dedication with children, which is something that most schools are looking for when hiring new teachers. Mention how you’re passionate about helping them get better, and you’ve got yourself a good answer.

#5. Sample Answer

Answer example: At a young age, I had to go through my mother’s death. She had been diagnosed with cancer and did not make it. Ever since that happened, I have been dead-set on working in healthcare so I can help other people. This is what kept me motivated through medical school, and now I am very passionate about helping people recover from serious health issues, and I believe everyone should get the care they deserve and need.

Why this example works: It describes a sad, but very impactful moment in your life that has molded your passions and motivated you to become the person and professional you are today.

#6. Sample Answer

Answer example: I am very passionate about painting. The whole process of creating something new and beautiful always mesmerizes me. I love exploring shapes and color combinations to create a piece of art that everyone can enjoy. That’s why I’ve decided to become a graphic designer. I have a good eye for color and details, and I believe that I can utilize my skills quite well in this type of job.

Why this example works: It focuses on the fact that your passions breed a skill that you can now use in a work environment. Mentioning that you’re artistic and creative is something that most recruiters expect from a graphic designer.

friends talking what are you passionate about

Not Related to Work “What Are You Passionate About?” Answers

Employers often ask this question to see whether you have a well-established life outside of work as well, so don’t be afraid to talk about your non-work-related passions.

Let’s look at some “What are you passionate about?” examples you can use as a guide:

#1. Sample Answer

Answer example: One of my favorite things to do is play chess. I find it beautiful how each step can change the outcome of the game. Being good at chess has made me more strategic, and it has helped with my decision making, which is something that has served me well at my previous project managing job.

Why this answer works: This example demonstrates that, although chess and management have nothing to do with one another, this passion has helped with developing a set of skills that can be useful in a job.

#2. Sample Answer

Answer example: I’m very passionate about skiing. Ever since I was a child, I’ve attended many competitions and even won some prizes. Being so passionate about this sport has made me goal-oriented and motivated to work on myself in order to succeed, and I have transferred these principles into my professional life.

Why this answer works: It shows enthusiasm and demonstrates how being passionate about your childhood dream has made you more ambitious and disciplined in the professional setting!

#3. Sample Answer

Answer example: I just love creating new recipes. Doing research on what ingredients work well together is exciting for me. This has made me quite detail-oriented and patient. Sharing my recipes has allowed me to meet new people, which has led to a drastic improvement in my social skills.

Why this answer works: It demonstrates both the soft (social) and hard skills (research skills and attention to detail) that an employer wants to hear about.

#4. Sample Answer

Answer example: I am very passionate about improving myself and my well-being, as I believe that you never stop learning. ew learning opportunities and challenges are high on my priority list, and that’s why I enjoy working with people. Working as a customer service agent has made me a better listener, and I communicate with others way more efficiently.

Why this answer works: One of the safe bets when talking about your passions is to say that you are consistently focusing on bettering yourself. This approach paves the way to easily link your passions to the job opportunity.

What if You Are Still Looking For Your Passion?

If you haven’t figured out what your passions are yet, here are some sample answers you can use:

#1. Sample Answer

Answer example: I actually consider myself a person with many interests. Quite frankly, I find it pretty difficult to pick just one. I enjoy volunteering and helping people in need, and I also really enjoy cooking for others. My interests are consistently growing, just like I am, and I believe that they all helped shape the person I am today.

Why this answer works: It’s completely okay to not have one specific passion. You can always answer with an activity that you like to spend most of your time on—a hobby or some interest, even if you don’t consider that a passion.

#2. Sample Answer

Answer example: I have always been passionate about my well-being and health, so I invest a lot of time into working out and I religiously keep track of my workouts and progress. This has helped me differentiate between my short-term and long-term goals in the professional context as well.

Why this answer works: It is a great way to answer this question because you talk about your dedication. If you’re dedicated to your passion, it can be assumed that you’re likely to be dedicated to the job as well. Don’t forget to mention skills you developed through your passion that might benefit the company as well.

a satisfied and happy elderly man

Final Thoughts

If you’ve made it to this point, you now know everything you need to perfectly answer the “What are you passionate about?” interview question. Whether your passions are work-related or not, figure out one special thing that you enjoy doing and try to link it to the job description.

Make sure to talk about a passion that doesn’t distract you from work and always give a truthful answer. This question is a perfect opportunity for employers to get to know you better, so don’t hide your true self. They’ll definitely notice if you’re using an online sample answer.

With all that in mind, we hope our guide has helped you learn how to express and frame your passions during your interview, and we wish you good luck on your next one!