How to identify passionate candidates throughout the hiring process

How to identify passionate candidates throughout the hiring process
How to identify passionate candidates throughout the hiring process

Passion often serves as a catalyst that enhances various aspects of an individual’s work performance, from focus and productivity to innovation and creativity. Passionate employees can positively impact all aspects of an organisation and have a ripple effect on the wider team. 

Aside from asking the old-age question, “What are you passionate about?”, there are various ways you can identify if a candidate is truly passionate at work and enthused about the role or company.   

1. Ask open-ended questions  

One of the best ways to gauge if a candidate is passionate is to ask open-ended questions that allow them to express their feelings and values. For example, ask them what they love about their current or previous role, what they are most proud of in their career, or what they are looking for in their next role. Listen carefully to their answers to look for signs of enthusiasm, curiosity, and commitment. Avoid yes or no answers that will limit the depth and scope of the candidate’s responses.  

2. Use competency-based interviewing   

Competency-based interviewing is a method to assess a candidate’s skills and abilities based on their past achievements and behaviors. You will need to ask structured questions that require the candidate to provide examples of how they handled specific situations. For example, you can ask them how they solved a problem, dealt with a challenge, or learned a new skill. This can help you indirectly evaluate their passion by showing how they apply their knowledge, creativity, and initiative in real-life scenarios.  

3. Observe body language and tone  

3. Observe body language and tone  

Another way to identify passionate candidates is to observe their body language and tone of voice during the interview. Passionate candidates will display positive and confident gestures, such as smiling, nodding, leaning forward, and maintaining eye contact. They also speak with enthusiasm, clarity, and conviction, varying their pitch to convey their emotions. Candidates who lack passion may show signs of boredom, nervousness, or indifference, such as fidgeting.  

4. Ask about their interests  

Exploring a candidate's hobbies and interests provides insights into their personality, values, and passions. Inquiring about these aspects aids in building rapport and discovering the motivations that extend beyond the professional realm. Questions about their passions or ongoing learning endeavors can be insightful. Additionally, it will allow you to identify connections between their hobbies and the job or company culture. For instance, someone who enjoys volunteering, traveling, or blogging may have a passion for social causes, diversity, or effective communication.  

5. Set them a challenge  

Presenting candidates with a scenario or task allows you to observe their thought processes, actions, and performance in scenarios involving pressure or unfamiliar situations relevant to the job. For instance, inquire about their approach to managing a challenging customer, meeting tight deadlines, or handling a complex project. Consider incorporating case studies or roleplay to evaluate their skills and knowledge and observe their approach to challenges, utlising resources, and communication of results.   

6. Follow up with references  

Don’t miss the chance to conclude the assessment of a candidate's passion by reaching out to their references. References offer valuable insights and feedback regarding the candidate's performance, attitude, and behavior in past or present roles. Pose targeted questions to reference the candidate's passion, exploring how it was demonstrated, its impact on results, and its alignment with the organisation's goals and values. Additionally, ask about the candidate's response to feedback or criticism and their approach to professional development.  

At Search, we have access to an extended candidate database of 320,000 professionals and an average of 4,900 job seekers registering with us monthly. If you are looking for passionate candidates to grow your team, contact our recruitment experts today to learn more about how we can support you.