Hiring a Passionate Team


Hiring passionate people for your organization is the latest recruiting focus.  If you’ve ever managed a highly talented but unmotivated employee, you understand why.  Nothing is more frustrating than trying to motivate an under productive team member to step it up.

When a team member believes in your organization and is passionate about its goals they give exceptional effort.  Passionate employees motivate and encourage those around them during difficult times and make personal sacrifices when needed to further organizational goals.  They are a valuable asset to any organization.

So, how do you hire a passionate team?  How can you attract employees who believe in your organization and want to put exceptional effort into meeting your organizational goals?  Unfortunately there is no set formula for success, but there are some guidelines you can follow.

Look Beyond Credentials

Traditional recruiting and hiring begins with a review of credentials.  Is the candidate qualified for the position based on education and experience?  While there is certainly a minimum required set of qualifications for every position, sometimes the best employees are eliminated because they are not as well qualified as other applicants.

Experience is gained on the job.  Skills can be trained.  Attitude and motivation come from within.  If your management team is willing to work a little harder to train and has time to mentor new employees, consider candidates who meet the minimum qualifications as well as those who are experienced.  Passion can’t be taught.

Clearly Communicate Your Vision

How passionate are you about your organization, your products, or your brand?  Assuming you have an inspiring story to tell, share it with candidates.  Clearly communicate your passion and your expectations for passion within your team and gauge the candidate’s reaction.

Look closely at non-verbal clues.  These are the “buying signals” of a passionate employee.  Most candidates try to appear enthusiastic about the opportunity during an interview, but the non-verbal signals of excitement and engagement are difficult to fake.  If your candidate’s eyes light up and they lean forward in their seat expectantly, you may just have an enthusiastic future employee.

Learn What Motivates Them

Use the interview as an opportunity to learn what motivates the candidate.  Some individuals are inspired by a clearly defined career path full of challenge and opportunity.  Others are motivated by excellence in themselves and the organization they work for.  Does the candidate want to be a part of a company that is doing something important?  If so, how do they define “important?”

Drilling into candidate motivation takes practice and involves asking open ended questions and listening closely for clues.  Questions like “Tell me about a time when you felt enthusiastic about what you were accomplishing” or “How do you know you’ve done your best?” encourage the candidate to reveal their motivations to you.

Consider asking candidates about what they are passionate about outside of work.  Since the question is non-performance related candidates will often relax and open up about topics they truly enjoy.  Ask follow up questions and observe the responses.  Your goal is to find passion that can be drawn out in the workplace as well as outside of work.

Passion and Enthusiasm Are Not Everything

Passion and enthusiasm increase workplace effectiveness.  Given the choice between two equally qualified candidates, the one with passion has the advantage.   But, passion alone won’t go the distance without skill and talent to back it up.

If you find a candidate with limited experience but an abundance of passion and enthusiasm, dig a little deeper.  You must also find a teachable attitude and a willingness to work with management to learn and develop.  Without aptitude and a willingness to learn, your new employee may never develop into a superstar.

Passion alone is not enough when it comes to producing quality work in a team environment.  Your new employee must either be skilled in problem solving and managing multiple priorities, or willing to accept constructive criticism and develop those skills to succeed.

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