Sundar Pichai once said, ‘’I did dream of being a cricketer like so many Indians’’. Today he heads ‘Alphabet,’ one of the most valuable companies in the world, as its CEO, and is passionate about tackling challenges through technology. The topic is ‘Answers to What Are You Passionate About?’
Collins dictionary describes being passionate as having strong feelings about something or a belief in something. Sundar Pichai liked playing cricket but technology was something he was enthusiastic about and something he firmly believed in Hence, there is a need for us to differentiate between a hobby and a passion that one possesses.
What is a Passion?
A person might like hiking, as it gives them a sense of achievement or it makes them feel euphoric about breaking the limits of their own body, and each time they go hiking, they are filled with enthusiasm, and that feeling is what being passionate about something is because it motivates you to achieve something even if it means going through suffering.
Interviewers love asking ‘What are you passionate about?’, and while this might not be a technical question, but it plays a vital role in hiring because it reflects your personality and gives a peek into who you are outside of work and what you value in life, whether you are suitable to work in a team, are you motivated to learn new things and upgrade yourself in such a way that you bring value to the organization you work for and in the end this question can be a crucial factor in the interview process.
Why do interviewers ask about your Passion?
In an interview, a hiring manager is not only looking for a candidate with the required skills but also someone with work ethics and value for the work the candidate will be doing if a person is a pro at coding and isn’t disciplined enough to complete his work on time or learn new techniques that will add value to the task hence, it’s pointless for an organization to hire someone like that instead, a person with minimal skills who is enthusiastic about learning more and adding quality to the work and organization has higher chances of being hired for the Job.
The interviewer analysis the following things when they ask what your Passion is:
- They want to know what motivates you in life.
- How honest you are because often people answer to impress the interviewer hence, honesty takes a back seat.
- What your values and beliefs are
- Whether you are open to learning new things
- What are your interests and whether will you be able to work with the same dedication and persistence?
Now you might wonder how they can know all these with just an answer, well you will reflect on your many qualities while answering this question. So make sure that you think and deliberate on this question before going for an interview.
How to know what you are passionate about?
When going for an interview, often people prepare answers for this question based on the job profile, and to make an impression in front of the Hiring Manager, the ingenuine answer leads to follow-up questions, which they fail to answer, or their reply sounds made up, and that is not a good impression in front of the interviewer.
A passion can be anything from gardening to horse riding or running, playing video games, hiking, traveling, writing, Reading, Teaching, painting, etc. Each of us has something that we like doing just for fun, for inner peace and satisfaction that motivates us to push beyond limits. So, identify what makes you curious, what is it that makes you excited.
How to answer what are you passionate about:
- It should be something you like – Remember your passion is something that you find yourself comfortable with, it’s an emotion-driven activity as much as it is a fun activity to you hence, it is not necessary that it has to be related to your job, it can be any activity that makes you want to indulge into. A software engineer might be passionate about photography, or a digital marketer might be into reading.
- Be Concise- Give an introduction about how you come to like that activity, for example:-
“As a child, I used to read many books that my father would bring home, Over time I developed a reading habit as I realized the importance of reading because books have taught me amazing things and have taken me to several places now, I feel that I will lose out on so many things if I don’t read hence, even if I’m busy, I try to squeeze out some time to read and that’s what I’m passionate about.’’
Remember to give a brief but comprehensive narration of your passion. It shows that you have worked upon something over time and developed yourself.
- Be honest- ‘’Honesty is the best policy’’, and if you think you are not passionate about anything, then it’s alright, Making up things can land you in trouble so, go with the flow, and it will give an impression that you are an honest person, and if you are passionate about anything that’s directly related to the job then do not hesitate to talk about it, because the employer knows enough to identify truth from lie.
- An appropriate passion- When you are talking about something you are passionate about, then do not go on to say ‘I like clubbing’ or ‘I like makeup’ because these things are not appropriate in a job interview and might give a negative impression to the interviewer because you may be misinterpreted, makeup is a great passion but only if you are interviewing for ‘Maybelline’ hence, talk about a genuine interest that’s appropriate in a formal setting.
Some tips to discuss your passion
- Be Confident – Whether your passion is appealing or not, even if it’s something that very few people know about, do not let these factors affect your confidence, keep your head high, and talk about it confidently in the same way you feel about that passion. If your passion is gaming then, talk about that how you love challenges and gaming has taught you how to overcome those, In the end, justify why you like what you like.
- Try to relate it with the job you are applying for – If someone is interested in modern art, and they are applying for a managerial position in a tech company, then they can talk about how art instills creativity in them to reinvent technology every day and a desire to bring perfection in their work hence, you can relate your passion to your job in a way that whatever you are passionate about acts as a motivation to helps you professionally.
- Try to be engaging with your passion- Whatever your passion is, you should try to show that you often engage yourself in it, for example, if your passion is dancing, then you can say that you practice dance regularly to stay fit and release your stress or if your passion is coding then you can say that you try to code regularly to make something new and update yourself with the ingenious coding languages.
- Avoid being emotional- do not show how extreme you are towards your passion. If you are passionate about helping others, that’s good but, you don’t need to say something like your heart pains seeing the pain of others and that you wish to change the world, never do that instead focus on the bright side that you believe in yourself, and whatever you are doing, be concise and confident.
- Do your homeworK- Before you go for an interview, review whatever you are passionate about, the new trends about that passion, or its usage in developing oneself, because you need to face follow-up questions, and completing your homework will help you in answering with confident.
How to construct your answer to express your passion
|Step 1 – I like or I’m passionate about ( explain why you are into that particular activity)Step 2- Explain how your passion has helped you in your life. Step 3- Talk about the qualities you have learned through your passion. Step 4- Talk about how you feel when you are doing that particular action. Be brief and concise and you will nail the interview.|
Examples to What are you passionate about
- Example 1 – If you are passionate about singing
|‘’I am passionate about singing, ever since I was a kid I remember listening to ‘Elvis Presley’ and ‘The Beatles’, with my Grandpa on his old Gramophone and then I would sing those songs for my mother, later on, I was part of the school band then, it continued in college too. These days, I sing for my friends with my old guitar, that makes me happy.’’|
Try to show how you are still pursuing your passion and why you like to do what you love.
- Example 2- If you are passionate about gardening
|‘’Once in school, we had a lesson on the sense of touch in plants and our teacher showed us how ‘Mimosa Pudica’ folds itself inward when we touch it, that incident made me curious about plants and how amazing they are and then I started gardening to observe their behavior and later on it became a habit, I tend to plants at home and it makes me feel at peace when I’m gardening.’’|
Talk about the values you have learned while being passionate about something and express what prompted you towards a particular passion.
- Example 3 – If you are passionate about hiking
|‘’I was always scared of heights but, when I was in college, my girlfriend forced me to join her on a hiking trip, and I wasn’t left with any option but to go with her. I remember my heart was thumping fast when we reached on top of the mountain, I was shouting with exhilaration, and at that moment, I realized that there is more to life than studies and ambitions it’s this euphoric feeling in us that keeps us going in life, and I have been a hiking lover since that day.’’|
Show how you feel when you are doing something you are passionate about.
- Example 4 – If you are passionate about cooking
|‘’I’m passionate about cooking, earlier I used to do it to help my mum, but later, I started it to experiment with new ingredients. I remember that big smile my sister had when I had baked a cake for her birthday. I like it when my food brings a smile to someone’s face. Cooking motivates me to keep experimenting new and doesn’t content yourself with what you know.’’|
Try to show how your passion helps you in your professional work and building discipline.
- Example 5- If you are passionate about helping others
|‘’I started volunteering in old-age homes during my school days as part of my English project, I initially wanted to do it for extra marks, but once I started doing it and meeting all these new people whom I can help somehow I have kind of formed a connection with them, I often volunteer for NGOs and organize crowdfunds and other initiatives to help the needy, it makes me feel useful to the society.’’|
- Example 6 – If you are passionate about caring for animals
|‘’I love pets, my mother would never allow one in our house so, I sneaked my puppy ‘Bruno’ and kept him hidden under my bed. I used to play with him whenever I had time. Later on, I was caught, but my mother allowed me to keep him, so growing up, he was my best buddy even though he is no more now, and I miss him. He taught me to be compassionate and calm in every situation, and I do volunteering for animals. I feel it keeps Bruno alive in me.|
- Example 7 – If you are passionate about traveling
|‘’I believe that traveling is the best teacher one can have. The myriad of things I have learned as a traveler has helped me develop myself as a person. I never sit around during vacations. I go to different places sometimes with friends and at times alone and meet new people, know about their culture, it just amazes me how huge and beautiful this world is, and we are just a speck of dust.’’|
- Example 8 – If you are passionate about Health and fitness
|‘’I am passionate about being healthy, as a child, I would eat whatever I can, Later, in college, I was distressed due to lack of inconsistency, my grade and a plethora of thing due to which I had severe hair loss, weight loss, and bone weakness. My doctor told me about various deficiencies in my body. I was scared of my condition so, I vowed to make myself healthy. I started with a good diet and exercise after that, I joined the gym and observed how being healthy has helped me remain positive and confident about everything around me ever since being healthy has become a passion.’’|
- Example 9 – If you are passionate about Knitting and crocheting or craft
|‘’I like crocheting/craft. I remember being attached to my phone all the time, and it was becoming an issue. My lifestyle seemed a mess, I was ignoring many things in my life because of my phone addiction, and I wanted to set things right so, I started crocheting/craft on the advice of my sister. I would not touch my phone till I finish the task at hand. Initially, it was difficult, but I was so engrossed in crocheting/craft that it helped with my phone addiction, now I’m not addicted to phones, but I enjoy crocheting/craft because it makes me feel that I’m creating something new.’’|
- Example 10- If you are not sure about your passion
|‘’To be honest, I’m not sure about having a passion, but I enjoy learning new things and socializing because this has helped me overcome the fear of being in a crowd. I enjoy knowing others, doing things that require teamwork, and making new friends’’.|
When you are not sure about what your passion is then, it’s better, to be honest, and tell them about things you like in general, don’t try to learn something just to impress the hiring manager, remember that your biggest strength during an interview is being yourself.
Note- The above examples are for the readers to help them construct their answers and they are not to be necessarily followed.
Common mistakes to avoid while talking about your passion
- Long and unnecessary stories – Avoid talking about anything that hasn’t happened in your life be authentic and genuine even if you think what you are passionate about is boring. The goal is, to be honest when answering.
- Stuttering- Remember there should be a smile on your face if you are talking about something you like, hence practice in front of a mirror, and you will feel more confident.
- Not researching enough- No matter what you are passionate about, always research before an interview because it helps you gather quick points and saves time.
- Making unnecessary links between what you are passionate, and the job profile – If your passion is not related to the job profile don’t force yourself to make a connection because It’s important to be concise and natural.
- Trying to be emotionally passionate – Remember that you have to sound convincing and practical, being emotional while talking about a passion makes you look imprudent.
- Talking about too many things – When you are questioned, What are you passionate about, indirectly you are being asked what you are most passionate about so, make sure you talk about one particular thing, not too many vague hobbies, understand the tone implied when a question is asked…
Concluding the passion trip
What you are passionate about is a question that tests your personality as an individual rather than your knowledge. There is a Japanese secret to a happy life called ‘Ikigai’ which means ‘reason for being’ it suggests having four things in life to lead a satisfying life, they are:
- Passion – A thing that you love doing.
- Vocation- What you are good at doing.
- Mission- What can you do for the world.
- Profession- What you can do to get paid, primarily is your job.
Hence your passion is an aspect or an activity in your life that you love doing. Therefore it can be anything so don’t hesitate to answer even if you feel that it’s not interesting enough or not relevant to the job profile, remember it is the first step of your Ikigai, and it reflects who you are because that’s what the employer wants to know, the real you to understand whether you are suitable for the role.
FAQs (Frequently asked questions)
- Can I say that ‘I’m passionate about collecting something’?
A- YES, remember you have to be honest and to say that you like collecting something, be it cars, old watches, or pokemon cards it simply shows that you value something in your life and you are willing to spend your time and effort to have it.
- I’m applying for the role of an investment banker, is it alright if I’m passionate about running.
A- Yes, running is a physical activity, and when you say you are passionate about it, it means you are putting effort into achieving miles, and as an investment banker, you will have the same attitude towards your work.
- What if I’m confused about many things
A- Pick one area of interest that you love the most, and if you are still confused then, talk about them in terms of hobby and reply honestly, that, ‘I’m not sure, but there are things which I love’ and you will be good.
- What if the interviewer asks that instead of pursuing your passion, why are you applying for this position?
A- Well tell them that there is a difference between being passionate about something and being ambitious about a role hence, your passion is the love that drives you to achieve your ambitions.