When applying for a job, one of the questions will be:

Please list your interests and your hobbies outside work.

Surely, interests and hobbies are the same thing. Could you help to clarify this?

  • This question is way out of line in a job setting. Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 4:23
  • @RuiFRibeiro Why? It is a good way to get to learn the person, and you really can leave out things you want to keep private. Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 7:39

2 Answers 2


They're nearly the same. The only difference I can think of is this:

  1. Hobbies tend to be physical/tangible activities carried out by an individual on a regular basis for enjoyment. These could be anything, such as painting, singing, gardening, programming etc.

  2. Interests are generally topics that people are curious or like thinking/reading/watching about, but don't necessarily involve a tangible product or actual activity, for example: elephants, volcanoes, football etc.

As you can probably tell, there is room for considerable overlap between hobbies and interests - a hobby could also be an interest or vice versa. However, usually (and in the scenario you gave), they will be asked for together. This means you can just list a bunch of things you like in general, and they will fall under one of those categories.

  • Well put. You made the same distinction I would've made, so saved me the trouble of writing an answer.
    – nnnnnn
    Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 11:43
  • 2
    They could be very different: collecting hubcaps and volunteering at a soup kitchen.
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 15:53

Hobbies are recreational - painting, stamp collecting, playing a musical instrument, hiking, etc.

But you might be interested in, say, local government, and you might chair some committee or run for some elected office in your town or city. Few people would call that a hobby but it would definitely be an interest.

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