Why Passionate Employees are the Most Valuable Employees


What is the most important trait to look for when hiring new employees? Is is an enterprising, creative spirit? Is it a strong work ethic and a pragmatic approach to the workplace? Let me put it to you that it is in fact how driven the employee is that makes the most difference in their output and commitment to your company. Sure, they may have a real nose-to-the-grind-stone outlook for the first 6 months, but if they lack passion for the work then they are missing the key ingredient for sustained, long term performance.

At this point you might be saying “But everyone tries to seem passionate during their job interview. How do I even start looking for passionate hires?”  For a little help, we’ll use Deloitte’s article on “The Passion of the Explorer” (basically their blueprint of perfect employee passion). According to them, passion is made up of the following 3 characteristics: a long term commitment to a specific domain (goal oriented and unruffled by short term turbulence), a questing disposition (always seeking knowledge from new challenges) and a connecting disposition (tendency to form strong, trust based relationships). Apparently, 79% of employees that surveyors found to be passionate said that they were working for their “dream organization” even if they were not in their “dream position”. Clearly, these traits correspond to comitted, happy employees.

Why Hire Passionate Employees

As hard as passion may be to quantify, it is one of the most valuable attributes that you can hope for in an employee. By encouraging your passionate employees and hiring people that share their drive for business, you’ll get more out of your team than you ever expected.

You can’t teach passion. Employees either have it or they don’t, and finding the ones that do are pivotal to your organizations success. When you look at champions what do they all have in common? Skills yes. but ultimately it’s passion that truly drives them. There are hundreds of examples of wasted talent in sports, and mostly because they lacked the passion and drive to succeed. My favorite example of passion are Isiah Thomas and the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons. That team had talent, but it was passion that pushed them past the Celtics and Lakers. They wanted it more. This led to them holding the coveted championship trophy.

Finding employees that share those same qualities is equally as important for your business. It’s one thing to have a great salesperson. It’s another to have one that believes in the corporate mission and bleeds your company colors. They’ll push that much harder to sell your software/service, and they’ll be that much more convincing on when pitching on the phone. Skills lead to building something great, passion leads to success.

How to Find Passionate Employees

You want to hire passionate employees but don’t know where or how to find them. I get it. Few businesses know how to identify “passionate” talent. Several businesses opt to choose employees based on work history. This is the wrong approach. I’ve seen businesses hire employees based on the sole fact that they worked at Google or Facebook only to learn that they lacked the motivation and drive to actually succeed in their new roles. They believed that their skills would carry them and that they were entitled to success, not that they had to earn it.

Identifying passionate employees means listening. Ask candidates why they want to work for you, what motivates them, why your industry, what they think separates your product from the market, and what they believe is what makes your business successful. If they have no idea, then you can eliminate them right off the bat. The ones that have passion will give you a response that sends chills down your spine.

Here’s Some Interview Questions to Ask to Find Passionate Employees

  • How do you stay up to date in your field?
  • What’s a big question you regularly try to solve?
  • How do you connect with other professionals in your industry?
  • What makes you most excited about this role?
  • What is the most satisfying thing about your job?
  • How do you define success?
  • Why do you want to work for our company?
  • What separates our product/service from others you’ve seen?
  • What do you think is our key to success?
  • What do you think we can do better?

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