What You Can Learn From Other People’s Hobbies


When analyzing others most of us get focussed.

Sometimes, too focussed.

If we’re keen to assess for loyalty, we’re likely to focus on the length of their relationships. If we want to screen for intelligence, most people start with academic achievements. And when screening candidates for job fit, it’s natural that most hiring managers focus on the work place and career achievements.

The problem is, as innately social creatures us humans are keen to please. With experience, we learn what to say that will be agreeable with others. And so most interview answers become the same and hiring managers begin to think most candidates are similar.

The answer lies outside the box. Or the outside the CV to be more precise.

Often we can learn more about other’s when they are relaxed and their guard is down. And a great place to really develop a deeper understanding of others is getting them to talk about something they are passionate about outside the workplace – their hobbies, interests or past-times.

Not only can information be less biased, it can also undercover powerful insight into character.

Here are some things we can all learn from examining other people’s hobbies.


Are they continuously looking to grow?

The business world is changing fast.

Technology, globalization and increasing competition means that standing still is no longer an option. In ten years as a recruiter I can say with confidence that nowadays the candidates who are embracing new skills, tools and methods faster are getting ahead in the workplace.

To stay ahead you have to continuously be looking to grow.

Hobbies can tell us a tremendous amount about how much other’s push themselves and their desire to learn. The person who is learning Mandarin or training to do a marathon has a very different outlook to the person who is content with only going to the cinema on the weekend.

Top achievers have an innate desire to continuously improve and grow across all aspects of their lives. Looking for indicators in people who push themselves through pure self-motivation can be a powerful way to identify winners.

Achievers always look to grow.

Are they team-players?

More and more, studies are proving the fact that team players achieve and contribute more in the workplace.

Being a team-player is not to be confused with only being a good “cultural” fit. Rather than simply being nice and agreeable, team-players look to empower others and build powerful collaborations to get better quality work done faster.

People who can demonstrate a strong track record of excelling in team based activities can often be very good candidates to consider in a work based setting. In many cases these people can often also be good prospects for leadership type roles. In my experience, often the highest performing people in the workplace are those people who have been involved in team sports, communal work or charities.

Business is all about people. Although technical skill, experience and knowledge is important, those individuals who enjoy being around others and are motivated by team objectives are likely to perform better.

Great people enjoy being around others.

Are there any associated traits that could be useful?

For most people, outside the work place time is precious.

What we often pursue as our hobbies usually fulfils an underlying personal need and can give powerful insight into our true character.

Great leader understand that actions and attitude are usually closely linked. By examining other people’s past-times we can get a good indication of what drives them and inspires them to action.

For example, people who get up and go for a run at 6am every morning are unlikely to be late to work as they display punctuality and reliability. Other’s who enjoy fierce competition on the football field are less likely to be intimidated by the competition. Someone who spent several years to save a local school from shutting down might have the right attitude to deal with the complex and lengthy business problem you are currently facing.

People respond better when they are doing something they enjoy. By finding out why other’s purse their hobbies, leaders can find out what motivates others and analyze whether they are likely to respond to the challenge.

Hobbies are linked to personal needs.


Analyzing others is not all about experience or achievements.

Often attitude and individual motivators are more important.

Great leaders understand that examining other people’s hobbies and personal interests can give powerful insight into their true character and likely performance.

What can you learn from your hobbies?

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