Should I mention my side-hustle in an interview?

With the rise of the Gary Vee’s, Ali Abdaal’s and all the YouTube entrepreneurs in the last 20 years; now more than ever, people are looking to establish those prized “multiple income streams.”

And fair play to you.

The conundrum facing a lot of people is whether they should mention it in an in interview though. Our parents’ generation grew up with the mentality that if you had a business on the side or other interests you should play them down as much as possible.

I even remember someone telling me they weren’t too active with the business mentioned on their CV and they were even planning on selling it… 3/4 years later it’s grown even bigger!

“Make sure they know it won’t affect your work” was the advice given to me once when entering the working world. And, I suppose, logically this does make sense, right?

I’d argue this thinking is completely outdated in 2021. My advice on this topic… shout it from the roof tops! Plaster your side-hustle all over your LinkedIn page. Put it on your CV. Make sure your interviewer knows about it. Let them know your plans for it. Tell them how you built it. Tell them why you’re so passionate about it. Why you chose this business. What adversity have you faced with it.

(Maybe don’t go so far as to tell them how much you’re making off of it though.)

All the answers to these points are directly relatable to the working-world and this shows true entrepreneurship – how many job descriptions have we seen that on?

Why would they not want to hire someone who’s trying to build a business? This means you can help them build their business. This means you’re building your commercial acumen. You’re able to spot trends in the market and most importantly (for a business), you know how to make money.

At the end of the day the business you’re interviewing for was built originally by an entrepreneur at some point, right? Whether it was 5 years ago or 105 years ago. Who are they to stifle an entrepreneur?

Does this mean you’re not likely to stay with the business for the next 10 years? Sure, maybe (and hopefully). But very few people stay in a job longer than 3/4 years these days anyway. So whether or not someone has a side-hustle, they’re probably going to end up leaving at some point regardless.

As a business, you should be concerned with maximising your ROI on that individual for the period of time they’re with you and, in return, you should be working to develop the skills of all of your employees whilst they’re with you. They should look back on their time with you and think, “that was a great period of my life; I had fun and I learnt a lot.”

If a company is willing to reject you on the basis that you have a side-hustle, I’d go so far as to say that they’ve probably done you a favour. They probably aren’t fostering the type of environment you want to be in and probably aren’t going to teach you anything that will help you with your business.

Take the rejection, thank them for their time and find a business that will celebrate your entrepreneurship.

As usual, thoughts, feedback, questions welcome.


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