The No. 1 Workplace Priority? It’s Finding Truly Passionate People

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May 21, 2014

Have you ever bought a piece of furniture that was mass-produced by a machine in a factory? Have you also bought something that was hand-crafted so carefully and made with such quality that you loved it more each time you used it?

The difference between the two are that the second was made by a true craftsman, someone who cared about what was being created. Someone who has passion.

When you have passionate people on your team, the quality of your product and of each and every person’s work will be second to none. Every fine detail will be just right. That’s why hiring passionate people must be a priority.

How tell if they’re truly passionate

It won’t be easy. A study done last year by Deloitte found that only 11 percent of employees in the U.S. are passionate about their work. That’s around one out of every 10 people you interview.

Here are some ways you can tell if the person you’re interviewing is truly passionate about their work and not just paying lip service:

  1. It won’t feel much like an interview. An interview with passionate candidates should be more like a conversation you could have with anyone with whom you share an interest. They’ll probably want to discuss specifics in-depth and won’t be afraid to debate particular issues by showing their strong opinion without backing down. People without passion don’t have opinions about the job nor would they be willing to argue in a job interview.
  2. They’re asking questions. They’re not just reading a script and asking standard questions they Googled before they started the interview. Instead, they’ll be asking questions because they really want to know your thoughts on their topic and want to know how much creative freedom they’ll have if they decide to work for you.
  3. They back up how excited they are about their industry. Are applicants following industry trends? Do they study them out and follow thought-leader blogs and articles? Are your applicants active in online groups related to their industry? This is something you can verify, because social media outlets display the people who belong to their communities on LinkedIn or Facebook.
  4. They’re talking you into loving their work, too. If your applicant is as passionate about their industry as they’re telling you, then they’ll be trying to convince you to care too (if you don’t already). And if you are also passionate, then your applicant won’t be able to get enough of that interview. You’ll have a great conversation, sharing experiences.
  5. They believe work should be fun. Passionate people can get lost in their work. It’s hard to make them not enjoy it. When people are truly passionate about a subject, they’ll make time for it because they enjoy it. Work will feel like fun, and you’ll be able to tell they love talking about it. You know they’ll be someone who will show true passion for their work.
  6. They’re truly happy people. Those who have actually followed their hearts are happier. They get to go to work and feel fulfilled knowing they get to do what they love every day. A lot of people settle and choose a profession because they need money. Truly passionate people choose their profession because it speaks to them and when they are doing it, they are happy.
  7. They’re unstoppable. Ask applicants what setbacks and challenges they’ve experienced in the past within their industry. They should be able to regale you with stories about when they found a way to defeat a problem. And they’ll love sharing that with you because it filled them with a sense of accomplishment. They’ll feel like experts themselves. Their goal will be to make the world and industry better, and they will want to have the room to do that within your company.

Passion is working hard for something we love

I’ve gotten hung up lately on something Simon Sinek said: “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.” Passion changes the way we work.

You can’t create craftsman quality without passion. And you’ll never have buyer’s — or rather, hirer’s — remorse when you hand-pick each employee with passion in mind.

No, it’s not going to be easy. You’re going to have to wade through a lot of applicants before you find the one who is as passionate about the job you’re offering as you are about hiring a passionate person.

But, it will be worth it — and you’ll never want to do it any other way ever again!