Résumé with playing computer games as hobby: A dilemma

Is it a good  idea to have “playing computer games” to reflect as hobby on a résumé? Everyone in our mailing list agreed that the honesty of the candidate was worth an appreciation. But we had varying opinions beyond that.

Samir, who heads consumer durables sales portfolio, felt that a majority of the candidates are ill-prepared to express themselves; they do not know what to expect and how to behave in interviews. At the same time, the interviewer is invariably in dark about the candidate. In 30 minutes, she has to make a genuine attempt to understand the psychological profile of the candidate, assess her on various competencies, check her fit with respect to job, and so on. She is equally unsure about her own choice. Her reputation is at stake if she recruits a wrong candidate. So, the attitude is safety first. Playing computer games could be perceived as an activity that is undertaken to kill time, and someone might assume that the candidate does not have better ways to utilize her energies. Therefore, hobbies that might not apply to deducing if the person can work better are of little significance.

Sachin, from the IT industry, said that it is not a bad hobby, but he was unsure if it is the best to be put on a résumé. Perhaps, authoritative management would consider such hobby as a negative and might even wonder if that person would spend time playing computer games at work!  The probable reason is that evaluators are from an earlier era and might not accept such hobbies that are not from their own eras and are many times perceived negatively for the impact they have on the broader population (mostly kids).

Amit, from consumer goods industry, emphasized that the most important thing is the value of the candidate as a team member. He will give brownie points for hobby, only if some significant result has been achieved. If not, the hobby does not impact their evaluation. He feared that people will, incorrectly, tend to link computer games with something that is unreal and an addiction  But, his final suggestion was that the person who wrote this on the résumé, can relax and continue to be honest with her answer. If at all that topic is discussed, the interviewer can be convinced about the reality based on the passion and knowledge that the candidate can demonstrate on the subject.

KP, from sales background, said that ‘playing computer games’ as a hobby may not be perceived negatively.  Pretty much everyone has a Wii, Playstation, Xbox or DS. In fact, he argued that if you don’t play computer games, you may not be able to keep up with the changing technology and human behavior (next gen)! He said people can be hypocrites: they might be playing video games everyday but when it comes to other guy playing it, they will perceive that negatively! As long as the person does his job, why should one care what he does with his free time?  Putting strict restrictions can be counter productive at work; in fact, flexibility is a big characteristic job seekers (good ones) value, particularly in jobs where you are really measured on bottomline (e.g., $ you bring) vs. how much time you spent working! To him, only results matter.

Lalit feels that to start with there is no reason to write about a hobby in a résumé. Anything that does not relate to selection should not exist. But, even if it is written, he feels this is a personal activity and should have no bearing on the selection. A hobby is meant for personal pleasure or relaxation – there is no other goal in a hobby! He pointed to articles “Playing Computer Games: A Good Hobby”  and Wikipedia’s description of hobby:

What are hobbies for some people are professions for others: a chef may enjoy playing computer games as a hobby, while a professional game tester might enjoy cooking. Generally speaking, the person who does something for fun, not remuneration, is called an amateur (or hobbyist), as distinct from a professional. An important determinant of what is considered a hobby, as distinct from a profession (beyond the lack of remuneration), is probably how easy it is to make a living at the activity. Almost no one can make a living at cigarette card or stamp collecting, but many people find it enjoyable; so it is commonly regarded as a hobby.

I (Pradeep) am from the  sales background. I consider this as a good hobby if it can help the candidate connect with others and, also, if the games are the strategy types.  If the candidate is candid in accepting and putting it forth, then most probably, he would show more value to customer and be able to start the relationship on honesty which is very important in sales cycle. What I need is a member who has has conviction; my customers would believe in him only if he believes in himself first!

The overall feeling was that there cannot be a final statement on the issue. The main reason seems to be the interviewer’s personal beliefs. But, almost everyone agreed that the honesty of the candidate would be worth appreciating!

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