Finding the Qualified and Passionate Candidate

Passion will never quit being a buzzword. Candidates often like to refer to themselves as passionate and employers often ask for the “passionate go-getter” in job postings. Passion will be important in just every field if candidates want to be happy at work and employers want to have the most productive employees possible.  But is passion developed on the job or is it something that you can interview for? At my company, we’re interviewing experts, many of whom consider themselves a passionate candidate. We’ve conducted hundreds of interviews and enabled thousands. Here’s how to interview for passion.

The Value of Caring

Pride in one’s job can help employees work through the more difficult times. Passion motivates one to push past a problem with energetic determination. Where others may quit to go find something else, passionate employees will stick around and do the work that needs to get done. Often times, this is developed over time in one’s career path.  The key is to finding the passionate candidate in your search.

As Daniel Barber (@gaijindan), Director of Sales Development and Operations at ToutApp explains, this attitude is essential in determining success.

“Why passion? You can determine a candidate’s desire to succeed in thirty minutes or less. Simply, you’re looking for those who care versus those who do not . . . Finding people who possess hyper-performance attributes will lead to long-term value creation.”

As technical skill is important in many industries (as someone who works with video interview technology, I understand this better than most), passion is proving just as important, and employers are catching on. In a recent survey, 31% of employers reported that being passionate about work and the business’ values is important to their hiring process. If you’re not looking for passion in your hires, now might be a good time to start.

Identify a Passionate Candidate In An Interview

How do you find passionate employees? Create an honest dialogue with your candidate about what it’s like to work at your company. While your transparency won’t resonate with every candidate, it will attract the right ones. Don’t just talk about the job though! Talking about outside interests can reveal someone’s work ethic, enthusiasm, and energy.  A key attribute of passionate employees is they often exhibit passion in other areas as well. These are the candidates who can tell you excitedly about their judo contests, nature hikes, and more.  Listen intently because you may discover you’re interviewing a passionate candidate.

Whether you interview via video, at a coffee shop, or through the telephone, look or listen for cues that the person is truly interested in what you do. In industries that are less than glamorous, this can be tricky. Instead, convey your values and see if you can find alignment there. Outside of Hank Hill, nobody grows up saying they want to be a propane salesman.  But the successful candidate may be someone with passion for helping others, closing the deal, and getting out in the field.

Building a Culture of Passion

“Culture” is another buzzword in recruiting, and fortunately, culture is only a stone’s throw away from passion. Culture is creating an environment in which employees thrive, feel comfortable with one another, and produce great, innovative work on a regular basis. Culture can be so important to the workplace, in fact, that 43% of hiring managers ranked culture fit as the most important factor in their hiring decisions.

A good culture follows passionate employees, and in interviewing for passion, you’ll build a better culture. Let’s take an emerging market, for example. In Vietnam, information technology is a burgeoning market and companies there are looking for passion. Four-fifths of Vietnamese IT employees work in their field not because it makes them more money, but because they love working with computers.  They gain an introduction to the medium as early as the second grade and maintain a life long passion for computers.

Hiring for passion, though it may be an eye-rolling buzzword for some, is important to building more productive workers, can lead to better cultures and building up industries, and with video interviewing finding it in your potential hires is easier than ever.