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Interview Question: “What Are You Passionate About?” – With Examples

Interview Question: “What Are You Passionate About?” – With Examples

September 15, 2021

This question can appear in the interview in many forms. The interviewer might ask:

  • What motivates you?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What aspect of your job do you like the most?

Preparing a suitable answer to this question might be difficult, but it certainly isn’t impossible. And if you prepare well in advance, you won’t be left struggling to think of a suitable answer on the spot.

The key to any good interview is preparation. You can be confident that the interview questions will follow a similar structure, even if the phrasing tries to catch you off guard. 

It can be helpful to think of the question as an exploration of your interests, particularly if you don’t feel compelled to use the word “passion”. With this question, the interviewer really wants to understand your motivations. They want to know which aspect of the role is most interesting to you. 

For example, an architect applying for a junior architect role could be motivated by many things. They might be passionate about design, the environment, or they might love bringing their client’s ideas to life. 

An architect who is passionate about the environment would thrive in an agency that is about to sign a new sustainable development client. In this way, interviewers can learn a lot about a person’s suitability for the role by their answer to this question.

But this raises an important point. If this question is about suitability to the role, how do you answer it in a way that lets the employer know you are the best person for the role? Honesty is often the best policy in this situation, so don’t be tempted to stretch the truth just to secure the role.

What do interviewers want to know?

Interview Question: "What Are You Passionate About?" - With Examples CMD Recruitment

Every interviewer will have a different motivation for asking this question. Some want to know your motivation so they will know how to inspire you to do your best work. Some employers want to know your motivation so they can determine if you’re the right fit for an existing team. 

They could also be asking about your strengths because we’re more likely to put in time and effort towards things we enjoy and are good at. For example, if you say you are passionate about helping others, the employer will know that you have empathy, communication skills and organisational skills.

Employers might also be looking to understand who you are as a person. Outside of work, what motivates you, and how do you spend your time?

How to answer this question with confidence

Interview Question: "What Are You Passionate About?" - With Examples CMD Recruitment

With most situational interview questions, you would use the STAR method to answer the question. Since this isn’t asking for a situation, you need to take a slightly different approach. We recommend breaking down your answer in the following way:

  1. First, choose something you are genuinely passionate about
  2. Next, explain why you are passionate about it
  3. Give some examples of how you pursue your passion
  4. Show how this relates to your job

This all sounds very simple, so what does this actually look like?

Choose something you are genuinely passionate about

It goes without saying that you should choose something that you are genuinely passionate about. This could be anything that you look forward to doing. If you’re struggling to think of something, you could choose something more general like fitness or exploring new cuisines.

Interview Question: "What Are You Passionate About?" - With Examples CMD Recruitment

Explain why you are passionate about it

Now it’s time to explain why you are passionate about this thing. As much as possible, try to keep this closely related to the job you are applying for. This can be a great way to make yourself appear more three dimensional. So, if you’ve said you’re passionate about fitness, you can talk about how you like to set goals for yourself and then achieve them.

Give some examples of how you pursue your passion

Now you’ve outlined why you are passionate about this thing, you can share what steps you’ve taken to follow your passion. Back to the fitness example, you could share that you recently competed in a race or joined a running club. This shows employers that you have hobbies outside of work and that you can apply yourself to achieve goals.

Show how this relates to your job

This is perhaps the most important part of the answer. Everything you say needs to link back to the job you are applying for. So if the role is target-driven, and you’ve talked about your passion for fitness, you can now show how setting and achieving goals is a huge source of motivation for you.

Interview Question: "What Are You Passionate About?" - With Examples CMD Recruitment

Example answer

When preparing your own answer to this question, use this example answer as inspiration for how to structure your answer. You’ll see that the answer isn’t very long, so don’t be caught in the trap of rambling on about your passions. Keep it short and to the point to make the best impression.

“I’m really passionate about spending quality time with my whole extended family. We all live quite far apart, so I take on the role of the organiser to make our time together even more special. I’ll often plan accommodation, entertainment and travel for the whole family so we can be together. I really love when an idea comes to life and everyone has a great time. I’ve managed to use these skills in my work as a PR manager as I often have to take the lead when organising creative events for influencers and the press.”

After you have answered the question, be prepared for follow-up questions about your motivation. This is why it is beneficial to choose something you are genuinely passionate about, no matter how silly it might seem. If you’ve told any lies, you will be quickly caught out during the follow-up questions.

For example, if you say you’re passionate about something you’ve only done once, you might get caught out if you are unable to answer follow-up questions. Instead, stick to the truth and think of a creative way to link your interests to your role.

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