Strategies to Evaluate a Candidate’s Passion During an Interview

Every manager has encountered this frustrating scenario at some point in their career: You hire a candidate with stellar credentials and a sterling track record, only to find that they are unmotivated, disruptive, and disengaged once on the job. Unfortunately, trying to accurately judge how passionate a candidate is, using the interview alone is notoriously difficult and unreliable. Use the following strategies to help you introduce some certainty into the process. 

Learn About Their Hobbies

Passionate people tend to be passionate about all things, both at work and at play. Find out what the candidate in question likes to do on their own time and judge their level of enthusiasm. Watch out, too, for candidates whose hobbies seem to be extensions of their own work: marketing professionals who listen to business podcasts in their off time. These candidates might not have the diversity of experiences necessary to make a real impact at your company.

Judge Their Work-Life Balance

Being passionate about your job doesn’t mean living only to work. In fact, the most passionate employees tend maintain a careful work-life balance. They put so much into their work that they naturally want/need time away from it to refresh, relax, and renew. Those that don’t or can’t tend to work themselves into the ground and lose their sense of drive.

Evaluate Their Growth Goals

A candidate who is truly passionate about their work will want to do even more down the road. Ask where they want to be in five-to-ten years. If they express a desire to have more responsibility and more complicated assignments, rather than just a better title and higher salary, it suggests that they really love what they do.

Measure Their Courage

Passion often manifests itself as a willingness to engage with the unknown, try new things, go above and beyond, and ultimately risk failure.  Passionate people are rarely described as maintaining the status quo. Ask the candidate to describe a time in their professional life that required courage. You will know a great answer when you hear it.

Watch for Enthusiasm

Your candidate will give you subtle clues throughout the interview about what, if anything, they are passionate about. Read their body language, gauge their voice, and pick out the topics that they seem most eager to talk about. If they openly show enthusiasm and they appear to be enthusiastic about the exact things your vacancy requires, it’s a good bet that they will bring a healthy amount of passion into the office.

Passion is one thing to look for during the interview, but it’s not the only thing. Learn about other strategies to improve your interviewing process by consulting with the professional recruiters at Morris Bixby.


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