When it comes to filling jobs, many employers put significant importance on a candidate’s skills and previous experience. While certifications and experience matter, they aren’t necessarily the best indicators of who will do the best job.
To be successful at hiring new talent, employers would do well to take the candidate’s passion into account. It should come as no surprise that people who actually care about what they do can usually offer better results than someone who is merely qualified.
Why Passion Matters
Have you ever watched a little league team play baseball? Inevitably you will see those kids who don’t really want to be there but are playing to make Mom and Dad happy. These kids are easy to spot because they’re usually the ones not paying attention, looking at clouds instead of the ball, and wandering off in the middle of the game.
The kids who want to be on the team are also easy to spot. They are the ones who run extra fast and swing extra hard. They want to help their team win so bad, they try extra hard at everything they do!
Adults aren’t so different. When a candidate truly loves what they do, they will naturally try harder to improve and progress. Would you rather have someone on your team who graduated top of their class from a prestigious ivy league school but is rather lazy and has a bad attitude, or hire someone whose credentials aren’t quite as impressive but will show up each day ready to work and have fun doing it?
There is also new research from Stanford University that backs up the idea of passion, or attitude, being the thing to focus on when filling a position. Psychologist Carol Dweck and her team found that attitude is often a better predictor of success than IQ. In a nutshell, those candidates with a growth mindset, one that believes they can learn and improve over time, typically outperform those candidates who have a higher IQ.
A study by Deloitte also found that passionate employees are the ones who contribute their full potential. Unfortunately, the same study found that 88% of today’s workforce is not passionate about what they do. Perhaps too many of the wrong candidates were hired for the wrong positions!
How to Spot Passionate Candidates
Now that you know you shouldn’t focus solely on skills and experience, here are some ways you can spot passion in your candidates:
Ask the Right Questions
The interview is where it all starts, and this is your chance to dig deeper. Don’t make the mistake of only asking what they’ve done, ask why they did it and how they felt about it. For example, if the candidate implemented a new process at their last job, ask them the impetus and how the results made them feel.
It’s also important to discover the candidate’s interests and hobbies outside of work. In talking about these, people will naturally show their passionate side. Do they speak in the same tone about the position they are applying for?
Are They Growth-Oriented?
Remember the Stanford study I mentioned earlier? You’ll want to find out in the interview if the candidate has a fixed mind or a growth mind. A great question to ask is, “Should you get the position, what do you see yourself doing here in two years?” You want to get an answer that shows this person has career goals. Remember, passionate people are always looking for ways to improve and advance.
Watch Their Body Language
It’s important to not only listen very carefully to what your potential employee is saying, but to also watch how they say it. Body language is a big indicator of how a person feels about something. When people speak about something they deeply care about, they tend to instinctively sit up straighter, smile, and their eyes get big and shine. Boredom and passion look very different from each other and you, if you’re paying attention, should be able to spot real enthusiasm.
Finding the right people for the job is not always easy. But if you are patient and wait for the truly passionate people to show up, you will be able to build a team of people who sincerely love coming to work each day. This will not only make your life more pleasant but your bottom line more robust!