Passing on your pastimes

Music to an employer’s ears: Hobbies can demonstrate an ability to stick to goals and achieve targets
Music to an employer’s ears: Hobbies can demonstrate an ability to stick to goals and achieve targets

When interviewing candidates, employers are usually keen to find well-rounded individuals who will make good team players within their organisation. With that in mind, Excel Recruitment’s Barry Whelan explains why you should carefully consider the hobbies you list on your CV



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18 February 2016

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Traditionally we list our hobbies, pastimes, and interests at the end of our CV and sometimes our achievements in these. When listing your hobbies miles away from your educational qualifications and career history, did you ever wonder why we include them, almost as a footnote to this important career document? Or have you ever thought about what interviewers are looking for when it comes to hobbies?

When you’re in the thick of an interview, dancing around ‘What’s your greatest weakness?’ and ‘Why should we employ you above another candidate?’, talking about your hobbies may seem like a welcome respite, but is it?

An interview can be broken down into three parts; appearance, competency and fit. Appearance is the easy part; we all make judgements instantaneously on how we see people. Do you look professional and well groomed? Competency is your experience for the role. Do you have the competencies to do the job? It is unlikely that would you would find yourself in the interview in the first place if you didn’t! Lastly fit; do you fit the company, its ethos and culture?

The employer will want to ascertain if you are a good fit for the business and getting insight into your interests and personality is one way to evaluate this. By learning more about your outside interests, the employer can glean more about your personality fit and how you would thrive in their business.


Most companies need team players. If the interviewer cannot find that trait in your work experience, perhaps it could be shown through your hobbies. Team sports or organising voluntary events could demonstrate teamwork.


If you stay with a leisure pursuit and learn to try and better yourself, perhaps with a musical instrument or through practising yoga, your learning can be perceived as perseverance. A trait required in most positions.


If you lead the team in sport or lead a group in leisure activities or voluntary work, this reflects well on your ability to do the job. Whilst not all jobs require leadership skills, leading in sport or hobbies does project an interest in making a difference, an admirable trait for any business.


Goal setting and goal achievement is an important part of any job. Demonstrating, setting and achieving goals in your leisure pursuits will go a long way to demonstrating your ability to stick to a task and achieve targets.


Showing that you have a passion for something and get excited and enthusiastic about it, demonstrates you can get passionate about tasks you enjoy in work. Enthusiasm is infectious and it is a great trait to show in an interview. Do be careful with this one. If your outside interests sound like they take up all your time and could leave you less able to thrive in work, the interviewer may take note.


Interviewers will want to know that you’re a well-rounded individual who can contribute. This again can be demonstrated through hobbies and interests. If you engage in a diverse assortment of hobbies, you may be better equipped to manage a broader array of experiences and people on the job. However, be careful not to list too many hobbies. This can imply that you’re indecisive, you don’t commit adequate time to each hobby, and you’re stretched too thin.


Speaking of too many hobbies and outside pursuits, here is a note of caution. If an employer senses that you won’t be fully committed to a role and that your outside interests (perhaps an entrepreneurial venture) may distract you from the job at hand, this may be seen as a negative.

Outside interests

We don’t believe that all employers want workaholics. Whilst all employers want employees that work hard; burnout and stress make for poor performance. You should always have interests outside of work to complement your CV.


So before you start raving about your passion for ping pong or your love of dogs, have a look at the job you’re going for and highlight the interests and hobbies that most adequately suit the personality fit for the position.

Lastly, try not to highlight hobbies that could be viewed as vices, such as beer brewing or wine tasting and remember that Facebook is not a hobby, it is a distraction.








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