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. And like most subjective things, there’s a whole lot of bullshit going on in the world related to determining whether someone has passion for what they do.

But the need persists. You can 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 professional training and formal activities that happen in company time, you’re probably not dealing with passion. Pro tip – if they give you a source they invest time in, dig into the last meaningful thing they got from it. As at least 5 questions – let’s see how deep the person in front of you actually is.

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 a 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.