Yes, You Do Have Time to Read (or Do Anything Else You Want to Do)

Bobby Powers
5 min readDec 19, 2018
Photo Credit: iam Se7en

I’ve interviewed dozens (perhaps even hundreds) of job candidates through the years, but one interview last year stands out as the most memorable.

It was more memorable than the interview in which a woman detailed her messy divorce. It was more memorable than the interview in which a man made racist comments. And yes, it was more memorable than the interview in which a teenager told me he had a felony for robbing a bank.

In this particular memorable interview, things began to get interesting when I asked my favorite interview question: “What are you really passionate about?”

I love that question because it allows job candidates to briefly escape the stuffy professional setting and talk about something that makes them comfortable and excited: working out, raising kids, traveling, etc.

On this memorable occasion, the candidate said she was most passionate about cooking and reading.

My eyes immediately lit up. My biggest passion is reading, and I never hesitate to divert an interview to pick up new book recommendations.

I attempted to bridle my bookish enthusiasm by first asking about the candidate’s love of cooking. “What are your favorite meals to cook?” I asked.

She responded that life has gotten hectic these past couple years, so she unfortunately hasn’t had much time to cook. However, she loves to cook when she gets the chance.

Looking to give her a second shot at the question (as well as indulge my love of reading), I asked about her second passion: “What’s the last book you read?”

Her response: “It was called something like The Habits of Effective People, but I never finished reading it, and now that you mention it, I haven’t read much of anything in the past couple years. Too busy, I guess.”

To me, that answer torpedoed the interview.

I pushed back with what I hoped would be a life lesson of some sort: “I asked what you were passionate about, and you told me two things — the two things you’re most passionate about in the world. And yet, you don’t really do either one of those things?” The interview fizzled after that.

Bobby Powers

Voracious reader | Writes about Leadership, Books, and Productivity | Words in The Startup, Mind Cafe, and The Writing Cooperative | Visit me at