The question “How do you spend your spare time?” or “What do you do for fun?” or “What are your hobbies?” is not a trick question and many kinds of answers will be acceptable. The interviewer is simply trying to get to know you better by asking you this question as they understand that an employee is about much more than academic skills. The most attractive employees are those who have interests they focus on during their spare time, as this shows balance in your life or may highlight a personality trait considered as beneficial to the culture of the organization.
This is a question that requires a thoughtful response, if you are unprepared when this question pops up; all the good things you did up to now in the interview might diminish with an inappropriate response.
Our first thought is to answer this question by pointing out activities that we think will advance our career. In the real world the reality is often a little more complex, as whatever you answer has to be the truth.
Graduates often spend their spare time hanging around with friends drinking beer, playing video games and then catching up on sleep lost while partaking in all the aforementioned hobbies. Or they spend twelve hours a day on Facebook or Instagram. Although truthful, these are not the best hobbies to describe in detail – unless you are interviewing for Google, of course. Working mother’s hobbies could include watching kid’s sports, hobbies could include taking care of sick or elderly parents. All of these “hobbies” take so much time that they prevent hobbies that you would like to pursue, like sailing or golf. Just remember that there is a very good chance that the interviewer also doesn’t have time to enjoy hobbies either, so be alert to the believability of your response.
Your answer to the question could prompt a follow-up question by the interviewer, so be prepared for the chance that the interviewer may have the same hobby and ask you to go into more detail. For example if you say that you enjoy running and often compete in races, be prepared that you may be asked about your times or your training methods. Running or jogging is a popular hobby as a free time activity since it can be done on your own and at pretty much any time. So to avoid any embarrassment, support your statement with proof. If you enjoy reading, be ready with the names of interesting authors or books.
In short, there is no right or wrong hobby – so long as it is legal and that you actually perform the hobby. This question is a way to get to know the part of you that is not on a CV. It gives subtle hints about your personality and what you are passionate about. If you are into coaching sports, it suggests that you are competitive and able to talk to many different people on different levels. Scrap booking suggests that you are social and you value your close friendships, but may also indicate a creative side.
Always remember to focus on more “adult” hobbies and justify why you engage in them in an intelligent, thoughtful way.
And most importantly when you’re discussing your hobbies, always speak with enthusiasm and smile.