Lucy Wesson – HR Recruitment Consultant for the West Midlands
I recently put forward a simple question on LinkedIn around the importance of ‘hobbies and interests’ on a candidates’ CV which garnered quite a few responses from various professionals within HR and other business sectors.
Please see below for some of the responses:
Zoe Clark, MCIPD – HR Business Partner | Available for new HR opportunities in Kent and London. I think that they are useful – they contribute to the picture that I build up about a candidate before I interview them, of the type of person that they are, how that might fit in to the team etc.
Steve Hargreaves – Owner; Coach, leadership developer at Socratic Learning and Development Not really my area of speciality though I think it begins to tell potential employers something about who we are rather than what we do/have done. Although there often appears to be a bit of a tick list it does potentially give us a starting point to consider more about who they are.
Lee Goodwin – Information Security Manager at North Yorkshire Police I have spent the last 18 months or so speaking to a wide variety of HR consultants and specialists with an aim to build the perfect CV for my entry into the world of HR at Management level. On all occasions I have been told to leave hobbies and interests off a CV. Due to the demand across the HR industry employers are only interested if you can do the job they want to employ you for and you are prepared to hit the ground running from the off. At 14 job interviews ranging from HR Business Partner to HR Advisor I have never been asked about hobbies and interests. I do not include these on my CV. At your interview you should be able to let your personality and character shine through and include teamwork examples.
Mark Turner – CSO at Capita BDO Since a CV is about applying for a position through experience and capability I think that hobbies are wasting an opportunity. The exception would be where your hobby was aligned to business delivery or ethos but these situations are unusual. A good interviewer will usually establish what a person does to relax anyway as part of the discovery around the individual in case their hobby conflicts with ethics or need of the company (think rock climbing, rally driving, etc).
COLIN HAGUE (DHFT) – Director of HR at Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust My view is it is useful to have some concise background on hobbies and interests that help give an understanding of the person and can support a CV.
Frederick Caiger – English Tutor at Global Village Foreign Languages Ltd In the UK with the way the tick box mentality work when recruitment consultants scan through CV’s for short listing, it serves no purpose. On the other hand, with company internal recruiters, it may well be very useful, as a skilled interviewer can learn a lot about a candidate by exploring their hobbies with them. This will relax the candidate and induce him to open up more later in the interview, thereby feeling no threat from the interviewer. But the operative term is “skilled interviewer”, and this seems to be in short supply nowadays.
Jonathan Edge – Divisional HR Director | International Organisational Development, L&D & Employee Engagement Specialist In my experience they only serve possibly as a rapport builder once a candidate is at interview stage, however if I received a CV without any hobbies or interests I would not consider that anything was missing.
Julia Robinson, MA, MCIPD – Human Resources Consultant, Writer I think it’s helpful at the end of a CV to have just a concise sentence of a few interests. Keep them neutral e.g., theatre, music, charity volunteer or keep fit. Nothing that might make you appear whacky.
Lisa Gibson – Hiring, Inspiring and (sometimes) firing your staff. Human Resources consultancy, networker, Juice Plus+ advocate. Agree they are useful as an icebreaker. Top tip don’t just list ‘hobbies’ or interests that you have no real understanding of. Once interviewed a candidate who said they were a keen skier, turned out they had once been to a dry ski slope. Agree also keep neutral.
Frederick Caiger – English Tutor at Global Village Foreign Languages Ltd It’s useful to gain an understanding of the persons character if explored properly at interview. A perceptive interviewer, who is also skilled, can observe a lot from a candidate as a person through exploring their hobbies with them. But this type of interviewer with these people knowledge skills and understanding are not exactly plentiful. For the average interviewer who doesn’t have these perceptive skills, a hobby will probably serve no purpose in a CV, but I don’t see that it can do any harm, and in the off chance you come across a skilled interviewer with excellent character perception, it may even pay off.
Leigh Cacchioli SMICS – Training Consultant (Interim) at Barclaycard I always read the hobbies and interests as it gives you more of an insight into a candidate’s personality, but I would only ask about them in interview if I was particularly intrigued about something that stands out from the norm.
Depak Dhar – Technical L&D Advisor at ARM Holdings Plc Dependent on the role, but for the most part, very important. During my graduate recruitment days, we had x amount of CV’s coming through with very similar degree’s, experience etc. Hiring managers and I were looking for individuals that stood out, that would be a perceivable ‘good fit’ for the team we were hiring into. It really does help differentiate and gives us an insight into the individuals prior to shortlisting. Hobbies / interests can bring in other skills to a role which experience otherwise may not have provided.
Colin Grethè – HR Consultant at The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland For a very long time now, I have NEVER been asked about my interests/hobbies or any ‘personal based’ questions. I think this is a big mistake as surely you should be looking for the right experience, skills and knowledge coupled with a ‘right fit’ of person…? Sadly a lot seem to rely on ‘tests’, some of which I have done have been ridiculous (writing the letter ‘S’ forwards and backwards as many times as I can in 10 seconds). I have also come across some serious misunderstandings by management of ‘engagement’…thinking it is about staff doing what they are told rather than being consulted and part of change. I look to the CIPD to influence this need for change, but as ever they appear to have no interest or impact.
As you can see – there are a lot of contrasting views on this subject, which to me is extremely interesting. As a specialist HR recruiter, the ‘hobbies and interests’ section on a CV does not detract from a candidates’ skills and expertise, but at the same time, it doesn’t necessarily add anything either. The candidates’ skills and experience are the driving factors unto which a candidate is put forward for a job. However, this could be possibly due to the fact that a client has never indicated to me that they are looking for a HR Professional who frequents the gym or is ‘a keen film buff’.
It could be argued that the hobbies and interests section on a CV has become rather generic and therefore ultimately outdated?
Keen to hear your thoughts – you can still contribute to this discussion on our HR Professionals LinkedIn Page
After previously recruiting in various sectors across the East Midlands, Lucy Wesson joined Ashley Kate HR in March 2013 to recruit for HR professionals from £25k to £40k in the West Midlands. Lucy works alongside Leon Morley, Emma Dobson and Sarah Eite in the Midlands team.
If you enjoy networking and want to connect with other HR professionals – Kim runs the LinkedIn Groups-HR Professionals Network-UK and HR Directors Boardroom. The former cited as one of the fastest growing HR specific groups. Kim also runs Ashley Kate HR’s HR Directors Boardroom style debate events in the UK.