Passionate leaders bring a host of positive qualities to the job, and passionate leadership passes them on to employees. Passion tends to foster a host of other great leadership qualities, like dedication, understanding, enthusiasm, and innovation.
When interviewing job candidates, then, finding the most passionate among them can be one way to narrow down the field. How can you interview candidates in a way that helps reveal their passion for their work? Consider asking the following questions:
- “How do you stay up to date in your field?” Some professional fields require continuing education, while others do not. Candidates who go above and beyond the required minimums to seek out classes, seminars, books, and informal learning grounds on their own demonstrate a passion for learning about their work that transcends obligation.
- “What is one big question in your field you’d like to solve, and why?” People passionate about their work tend to think about what they do – a lot. They’ve probably identified some of the biggest challenges in their field and they’ve probably put some thought into ways to address those challenges. Candidates who answer in generalities – or worse, who cannot answer at all – may lack the passion you’re looking for.
- “How do you find other people in your field to connect with? How often do you talk to them?” Like the previous two questions, this question probes how much time a candidate spends pursuing questions related to his or her field outside the “nine to five” routine. Follow up with questions on what the candidate talks about, what types of information are exchanged, and what value the candidate finds in the relationships to further gauge the candidate’s enthusiasm.
- “When have you been most satisfied with your work, and why? When have you been least satisfied, and why?” Candidates who link their highest satisfaction to the moments when they’ve been able to do meaningful work in their field and their lowest satisfaction to the moments when they’ve been prevented from doing such work are probably more passionate about what they do than candidates who give polite but general answers.