Of all the questions in a job interview, “What do you do for fun” is the one that constantly trips me up. My typical response (after a brief look of panic) is something like this: “Well, I like… the internet… I spend a lot of time on it. I like researching, stuff… Like programming… and internet stuff.”
Yes, I could technically come up with something I don’t do on the computer, but “going to bars and seeing if I can find someone interesting to talk to when I’m lonely and all my friends are busy” doesn’t exactly scream “definitely a team player who would benefit the company.”
Even hobbies that are remotely related to the job (“I love learning about cool new things to do with jQuery!”) seem like a pathetic attempt to suck up. (see also: “My biggest weakness? I work way too much.”)
What this question needs — demands — is a solid, official, work-safe, and productive Hobby with a capital “H.” Fly-fishing, golfing, pottery, competitive quilting, marathon running — these are all fantastic responses. I’ve just never been dedicated enough to ever have a hobby UNTIL NOW.
This is what I do when I get off the computer.
No, no, I’m not making meth. Promise. I’m making that OTHER drug we all know and love — alcohol. And this is a hobby that demonstrates my love for booze, but offers an air of productivity and industry in a way that “going to bars and drinking” doesn’t! Win win!
In all seriousness though, I really think that “what do you do for fun” is one of the questions where major points can be won, but most often aren’t. Even a slightly-tailored answer (Your interviewer has his dog in a Facebook profile photo? Mention that it’s unfortunate your apartment has a no pets policy, but you’ve since replaced your love of dogs with competitive fish breeding.) can lead to a real connection with your interviewer, or at least give you the freedom to throw in a joke and show a different side of your personality.
And, if you’re curious about the best way to make a bitchin’ hopped mead (yes, yes, it’s mead with hops!), just ask 😉