Knowing about the job, the company, and maybe even some of the interests of those in charge can help frame this answer. The purpose of the question is to determine if you’re a well rounded individual. It’s OK if your hobbies aren’t the same as the interviewer or the boss. But if you learn you share some interests, now is the time to exploit that.
Be honest. It’s OK to exaggerate how often you participate, a little bit, but if you make up an interest just to impress the boss, it could spell trouble in the future. Made up interests often turn out to be the passion of the interviewer or boss and can lead to some sticky situations. Trying to ride a horse, or sky dive, or run 10 miles when you’ve never done those things is the first step to disaster.
“I enjoy running every day, usually I do 10 miles.” That’s a good answer even if you only do a 10 mile run every week. It’s a bad answer if you’ve never run more than a few steps, or even a mile.
“I enjoy walking in the sunshine. I golf every week – usually shoot a 90 on my weekly 18.” That’s fine if you’re a good golfer, but it might be best to avoid mentioning the score.
“I try to read a book a week.” It shows you do more with your off time than watch television, and that you’re willing to learn new things. Don’t mention that the book is a comic book.
It’s best to mention hobbies that show both a cerebral side and a physical side, unless it’s a complete fabrication. This can include two hobbies – a sport and a thinking hobby – or a hobby that combines both.
Sport and Thinking:
“I enjoy writing poetry and playing softball, sometimes I write about the game.”
Combination – Carpentry:
“I like to build things, from the planning stage to the hands on work. Watching something I’ve designed come to life by my own hand is exhilarating.”
If you don’t have hobbies, don’t lie. The interview isn’t the time to pretend, but it’s a good idea to participate in some hobbies to improve yourself in general.
Avoid the transparent “My hobby is work.” It makes a person seem like a real dud, and employers know that if people work all the time they burn out in a short time.