Is a candidate passionate about the position?

The last thing any employer wants is to hire someone who merely wants a J-O-B to fund their lifestyle. This is a person who is going to do the least, with minimal enthusiasm, and likely little or no thought about how they can help your company grow and thrive. What you want – what you need – is a candidate who is passionate, about the position and your company’s future.

Every HR pro needs a passion detector

Sometimes, it’s obvious that your candidate is passionate in all the right ways. They come right out and tell you. You can see it in their face and their gestures, and hear it in their voice. But people have different personalities, and not everyone is so demonstrative. You need a way to detect passion in those who are more subtle, so you don’t miss out on a sterling hire.

And your passion detector has to weed out those who gush insincerely, in hopes of fooling you about themselves. Sadly, these people are all too common.

How to detect passion

What is passion, anyway? It’s hard to pinpoint but most of us would agree it goes deeper than simple enthusiasm, driving not only excitement to learn more but tenacity to stick with things and see them through to conclusion, no matter what. Passionate candidates are self-motivated. They function at peak performance, even when things get tough. And every company experiences tough times.

So how can you uncover passion? Ask your candidate some pertinent questions:

  • How do you stay current in your field? Passionate people seek learning beyond company-provided professional development opportunities.
  • How to you connect with your peers outside your own company? What do you talk about? Passionate employees see colleagues as mentors and resources, and see themselves the same way. They search for connections beyond the usual trade associations or business organizations, because diverse thinking boosts the power of collaboration.
  • What’s a big challenge in your field you’d love to solve? Why is this challenge so important to you? The passionate candidate is already looking for ideas and solutions.
  • What part of your current position is most satisfying? Why? Asking why will help you weed out candidates armed with stock answers and zero in on those who reveal their work-related passion. Use the “why” question to delve deeper into any candidate response.
  • Why do you get up in the morning? What keeps you going and makes you feel good at the end of the day?

Some companies are going beyond the traditional interview, giving candidates a chance to “try out” for the job by completing a specific assignment relevant to their intended position. It might be writing a report, or preparing a presentation.

The result will underscore their capabilities (or not), but here’s the real point: the assignments are given late in the day on a Friday, with a deadline of Monday morning. Passionate candidates will, of course, gladly give up all or part of their weekend to dive in.

Passion goes both ways – or it should

Are you passionate about your company and the position you have on offer? The candidate you most want is looking for a company-wide culture that supports their personal passion – a group of equally motivated co-workers, in a company that feels like an excellent long-term fit. If you can’t readily (and passionately) explain your company’s raison d’être and the specific position’s purpose within that framework, how can your candidate feel a connection with you?

In fact, Deloitte conducted a study in 2013 called “Culture of Purpose: A Business Imperative. They concluded that firms whose employees felt a strong sense of purpose enjoyed better financial performance, greater employee engagement, and more satisfied customers. Why? “What companies do for clients, people, communities and society are all interconnected,” they noted. “A culture of purpose ensures that management and employees alike see each as a reason to go to work every day.”

You’re looking for that passionate candidate who loves what they do and just can’t stop doing it. Developing a powerful passion detector will help you find them.

New call-to-action