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You want candidates who are passionate about what they do for a living, don't you?

Of course you do. But passion for a profession is tough to get a grip on.  Find out whether the people you are interviewing have passion for what they do (or are simply paying the bills) through some of the following interview strategies:

1. Ask candidates how they stay up to date in their field.  If you see a glut of reliance on Passion professional training and formal activities that happen in company time, you're probably not dealing with passion.

2. Ask a candidate to give you a big question in their field they'd like to solve and why. Ask them what they've done related to starting to figure out the answer.  Probe hard on the answers they give.  See any creativity?  You might have passion.  See lots of glittering generalities?  That's fake passion. 

3. Ask a candidate how they find others in their profession to connect with, and how often they connect with others in their field outside their company.

What do they talk about?  What type of information is exchanged? How have those connections helped them?

4. Ask Motivational Fit questions - When have your been most satisfied in your work at Company X?  Least Satisfied? If the answers show a consistent theme of talking about BS factors rather than a clear line towards being able to do interesting work related to their field, it's hard to project them as passionate in their field.

And no Skippy - passion for something that's not work related doesn't count for you as an interviewer - it's nice to know you run marathons, but it has no impact on things that emulate from passion for the profession - continuous improvement, innovation, etc.  It does tell me you're not going to cost a lot for healthcare, though.  Thanks!

Start asking questions that give you line of sight for professional passion on your candidates. No fake passion or passion that doesn't produce results.

Or just keep looking for people that want to make the donuts and go home.  





My opinion -if you're passionate about sth at all there is a good chance that you will be passionate about your job as well. If you arent passionate about anything but work - then you are a liar or someone really narrow minded. Won't hire.

Cindy Postanco

In a job market that is offering so little jobs for so many unemployed professionals, it's hard not to find somebody that is at least faking passion. And you may find people who can tell you a lot of things when you ask your "trick" questions, even if they are not passionate, but just good at what they do. Plus, you have to take into consideration the fact that they will probably know more than you about their job. I've yet to see a recruiter who can ask a programmer trick questions about their field. They can feed you a lot of BS, and you'll have no idea.
So what I'd recommend when interviewing for a job is pre-screening so you know for sure they are good at what they do, and run an interview where you ask pertinent questions that will show you if the candidate is a true fit for your company's environment, and then hire that person if it's got the skills and the dedication.
Don't try to trick the candidates, as they will instantly know it, and will not like it one bit. Maybe take a look here and see if it will help you in designing a successful interview strategy for the future.


Hey Kris,
I really liked your article, and shared it on LinkedIn. Hope you don't mind.

babu vittal

Awesome article and very interesting read. Makes lot of sense. My learning is that just don't stop at asking a question, one need to go beyond and ask more ... I call it "double-click"

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