Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Pinpointing Job Seeker Passion in the Hiring Process

Although having an employee that is passionate about what they do is generally preferable, it’s certainly not mandatory. After all, if every person with a job was passionate about their work there would be much less stress and discontent in the working world. However, when you have an employee that is passionate about what they do, chances are they will be more productive, more willing to put in that extra time and effort, and more motivated to take the position to the next level. This is the kind of candidate you want to attract in the hiring process, but how can you decipher a passionate job seeker from just a job seeker that needs a job?

It can be really difficult to pick out job seekers that truly have a passion for what they do- or for what they want to do- from the job seekers that are simply just searching for a “right now” job. Especially since savvy, seasoned job seekers know what to say to woo you into thinking they have the passion. There are certain things you can do though as a hiring manager, and certain questions you can ask, to help you pick out the passionate job seeker in the hiring process.

Long-Term Goals
This is a question that comes up in most interviews, but if you are looking to hire someone with passion then it’s even more important. Asking job seekers in the hiring process what their long-term career goals are will give you a better understanding of why they are trying to get this position. If this job is a step in the right direction towards their overall career goals, then chances are they will do their best to excel at it. If, on the other hand, this position is not in line with their future goals, then this might just be a position they are trying to pick up for a paycheck. When the right job comes along for them, they will probably jump ship. Depending on the position you are hiring for, that might be okay. If you are looking for someone to stay long-term though, they might not be the job seeker for you.

Why Did You Choose This Industry
If this job seeker has a true passion for what they do, then this question will be easy for them to answer. There are a number of different reasons why people choose the line of work they are in. Some choose it for money, some for convenience and others for passion. Not to say that one is better than the other, but if it’s important for this future employee to love the work they do then the answer to this question is important. Plus, if the job seekers you are interviewing are truly passionate about what they do they will go above and beyond to complete their tasks. They won’t be completing tasks and working on projects simply because they have to. They’ll be completing them with fervor because they love the industry or line of work.

Another way you can see if a candidate is passionate about their work in the hiring process is to take a look at their track record, accomplishments and possible certifications. When someone is passionate about what they do and truly love the line of work they’re in, they’re more likely to immerse themselves in it whenever they can. Has this job seeker taken up volunteer jobs during spurts of unemployment? Have they taken courses or gained online certifications to advance their skill set? Do they stay abreast of industry trends? If the answer is yes to any of those questions, then chances are this candidate is truly passionate about their work. They are doing everything they can to stay up-to-date in their industry and are fully immersed in their work. They will likely make a great employee or team member.

Passion is not always a requirement for a job, and not always something that comes up in the hiring process. However, if you are looking for a candidate that will go above and beyond your expectations and really take hold of this position, then it’s probably something you want to address. By asking questions like this early on in the hiring process you can really gain a better understanding of your candidates.

What are some other questions or tactics you implement in the hiring process to see if your candidate has a passion for what they do? Share with us in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Hamad AL-Mohannna

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter