The impact of personal interests and hobbies on job applications

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At PPS we screen thousands of job applications daily on behalf of our clients, working to set criteria that we have worked together to create.

We are seeing more and more employers add extracurricular activities and hobbies to their short listing criteria, giving more weight to this area of an application as a potential deciding factor during a selection process.

Most CVs have a section in which candidates can state their hobbies and interests away from the workplace. Opinions between recruiters are divided as to whether this section is relevant in actually landing a job. But there are a few hobbies and interests that demand attention on a CV and will be picked up on by a potential employer. Tips for an interview

Relevant hobbies and interests are activities that may be appropriate to the employment you are seeking. For instance, if a candidate were seeking a job position that entailed overseeing staff, then hobbies such as being the captain of a local football team may be significant in displaying leadership qualities. If a candidate undertakes voluntary work at Citizens Advice offices or national associations such as the Samaritans, then it could illustrate good people skills.

Most employers will have looked over a CV before interviewing a candidate. Interesting or unusual pastimes could act as ice breakers at the beginning of an interview. Hobbies such as scuba diving, skiing, dancing and horse riding may not seem unusual to the candidate, but they will be a good talking point for an interviewer. Golf may not seem a usual hobby for most, but many big  companies have some form of sports team, and it is a subtle way of showing that a candidate is a team player.

Many advertisements for jobs now specify a range of desired traits, so match these to your leisure interests. Offer variety and avoid lists. Specific detail is what makes it interesting to the reader, so give examples and emphasize any significant achievements related to your interests. It’s all about making a good first impression and capturing the interest of your recruiter so avoid the obvious pitfalls when including your hobbies, and steer the recruiters towards interests that add to your employability.

Recruiters what do you think? Do you pay any attention to this aspect of a candidate’s application or CV?

And job seekers, do you think your hobbies or extracurricular activities should impact your job application to an employer?

By Louise Birch, a recruiter at PPS.

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No Responses to “The impact of personal interests and hobbies on job applications”

  1. Bernard Tominey says:

    I agree with what youre saying. An overall assessment of the character and interests of a candidate always counts in their favour above the usual exemplary performances characteristics that most candidates rather boringly present on their CV.

  2. PPS Works says:

    Good point Bernard, if correctly balanced, the ‘Interests and Hobbies’ section of a candidate’s CV can help them to stand out – in the right way. More often than not however, this section of the CV is half-attempted, meaning it offers very little value in boosting a candidate’s suitability for a specific role.

    Have you come across a situation where a candidate’s noted interests has impacted their progress for a role? Positively and/or negatively?

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