Jun 1st, 2021

Finding Balance

Part 4: Get a Hobby

  Written by: Jesse LaDousa, Chief Operating Officer

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An interview question I frequently ask candidates is: “What do you do outside of work for fun?”. I ask this question for a few different reasons. First, I genuinely want to know what types of activities the person enjoys participating in. It helps to determine culture fit which is the primary driver of our recruiting process.

Deeper than that though, what I am really looking for is to see if the person is passionate about what they describe with their answer. I’ve found through many years of interviewing hundreds of candidates for various positions that having passion about a hobby outside of work is a key driver for satisfaction with, and performance at, the job they are interviewing for.

The majority of people I have hired over the years are technologists, so you may assume that I am looking for an answer related to the technology space. While writing personal apps, gaming, or tinkering with home automation are completely acceptable so are non-technology related items. Over the years I’ve met people that are passionate about parasailing, motocross, cooking and even falconry (that’s an interesting story).

Regardless of what the answer is, what I am looking for is the excitement in the persons voice when they talk about their hobby. If a person perks up at the opportunity to relay information about this hobby and explains it with enthusiasm and excitement, I get a great sense of their underlying personality. Conversely, if a candidate can’t come up with anything to share, that too reveals something about them.

Those of us that succeed at our jobs are diligent, hard working people that are dedicated to our companies, customers, and employees. We spend a great deal of time working to ensure the success of our projects, our teams, and ourselves.

In order to maintain that level of dedication, I firmly believe you must have an outlet that receives a portion of your attention. Singular focus is dangerous and, in the long run, leads to decreases in productivity and job satisfaction. Finding balance by participating in something outside of work allows your mind to shift away from that singular focus and provides an opportunity for it to reset. This produces higher levels of focus and productivity when you start work again.

What’s your outlet?