What’s Your Talent?

Britain’s Got Talent is airing soon, and I’m ready to see what hidden talents will be revealed.

It is a regular occurrence on BGT that the best contestants have applied on a whim, or have been very secretive about their talent prior to the show. When these acts deliver such phenomenal performances, it seems astonishing that they haven’t been discovered sooner, or haven’t shared their talent before now! When it comes to business interviews, these talents should not be hidden away – they are your USPs and can really set you apart from other candidates.

A common interview question is “What are your hobbies?” This question is often seen as a breeze in comparison to competency based questions concerning your strengths and weaknesses, but it is just as important to give a strong answer to prove your value to the business. Unquestionably the employer needs to believe you have the skills to do the core duties of the job, but this question discloses more about your personality and helps reveal if you will thrive in the company culture. Additionally, they want to see what new initiatives you can bring to the organisation, which your talent may uncover.

In 2007 Paul Potts won the first series of Britain’s Got Talent for his phenomenal opera performance, catapulting him into a showbiz career and out of his management position at Carphone Warehouse. I’m sure you’re thinking ‘why is singing relevant to a Store Manager’ but, pursuing his passion and hobby outside of work demonstrated his drive for personal development which is a talent to boast about in an interview. Any hobby which develops a new skill or improves your knowledge/performance are great to discuss in interview, for example learning to play an instrument, learning another language or taking a first aid course.

If you have a creative flair and you’re going for a finance or sales role, you may not think it is relevant. However, having a creative hobby suggests you might be able to develop an aspect of the organisation you may not be directly involved with or create new incentives to drive your team. If you demonstrate you are passionate and capable of delivering new ideas, you can explain how this skill can be transferred into corporate roles which will impress potential employers.

When applying for a role where you will be part of a team, make sure you take full advantage of ‘what are your personal interests?’ or ‘what are your hobbies?’ to demonstrate your talents! Use the opportunity to discuss an activity where you work closely with others. In 2013, the Hungarian shadow dance troupe Attraction won Britain’s Got Talent. This hobby could be briefly mentioned in an interview as “I like to dance”, but if you take the time to give a detailed answer about team meetings and training, and relate it back to the role at hand, it will set you apart from other candidates and demonstrate you are confident and successful when working in a team.

If you are interviewing for a managerial role, don’t wait for the question “tell me about a time when you have lead a team” to give examples of your skills. If you take an active leadership role in your hobby it indicates you have a natural talent for management. Great examples of these are leading a community group, running a book club, or even taking the initiative to arrange a group gym class. Rather than saying “I like to read” or “I go to the gym”, developing your answer shows you have a talent and are a driven individual.

I’m sure we will all be hearing Simon Cowell say, “Britain has got exceptional talent” numerous times in a couple of weeks. Most hobbies naturally develop a skill which becomes a personal talent, and 99% of the time this can be relevant or transferable in some way to any role you apply for. So, next time you’re asked about your hobbies, consider what talent this has given you and how you’ve developed transferable skills to the role in question.

Katrina Whitehead, Marketing and Operations Executive, Foundation Recruitment

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