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4 Ways to Find Passionate Talent

A tremendous amount of time and effort goes into preparing and succeeding in hiring new staff. Reviewing resumes, leveraging your networks, conducting interviews, etc. Many hiring managers have no idea why it is so challenging to hire the best staff. Sometimes it’s obvious (not qualified, candidate’s compensation is too high, etc.) but many times it is not obvious. While recruiters might give you some feedback (they might not tell you the full story), hiring managers do not always get the feedback as to why a candidate has rejected an offer.

In my experience as a hiring manager, I look for individuals who possess passion for their work. This is crucial to help ensure a best match is not only made for the job but for the organization’s culture as well.

There are a number of avenues hiring managers can leverage to learn about and evaluate job seekers. When doing so, consider looking at four major areas for signs of passion:


  • History: Review the job candidate’s history to see what they’ve done and what they’re doing, looking for patterns of activity that indicate increasing roles and responsibilities. While these may not directly indicate passion, they reflect stability and a predictable career path. If the career path doesn’t look normal, look for indications of why their career path took a left turn.
  • Activities: Look for activity outside of the office that support team participation such as sports. Also look for continuing education – specifically the pursuit of advanced degrees and certifications.
  • Achievements: It’s important to look for awards and other achievements, indicating how they have excelled, specifically individual, leadership and industry-specific awards.

– more – What to Exclude from your Resume

Social Media:

  • Profile:  Review major social media sites and review the candidate’s profile to ensure that it reflects their occupation in some way. Try to look for indications of pride (such as look for awards, speaking engagements or promotions).  This is also a great time to do a basic Google search on the candidate (beware of similar names which belong to other individuals).
  • Engagement: Passion can be seen in what the individual shares about their vocation. Individuals who share information, articles and news that relate to their job stand out as potential experts in their field.
  • Groups: Participating in social media groups and industry trade groups affiliated with their field shows that they’re interested in learning and sharing knowledge with their peers.
  • Online Activities: Blogging activities (whether they manage their own or participate in other occupational-related blogs) reflect a deeper connection to their chosen profession. The extra time spent by these individuals may demonstrate a dedication to their field.


  • Presentation: Look for candidates who presents themselves in a confident and energetic manner – proud of their skills, experience and accomplishments. They should have confidence (but not be cocky)
  • Involvement: Individuals who employ their skills outside of the office may reflect passion. Advancing their understanding through self-study, reading and hobbies, as well as utilizing their skills in volunteer or community activity may reflect that a job is more than just a paycheck.

– more – Do’s and Don’ts of Interviews

Reference Checks:

  • Professional Contacts: Listen to what former employers and professors say about a candidate’s work product and work ethic for signs of passion and dedication.
  • Personal Contacts: Personal references can be valuable as they may offer a more candid look into a job candidate’s interests and background. Personal references have the ability to reveal a candidate’s passion from their everyday life outside of the office.

While these areas are not absolute for finding passionate talent, they may narrow the field to those candidates who you should consider for the job.


Career Tip of the Day: Why Should We Hire You?

Suggested Reading: Hire the Right Person Every Time: 5 Steps to Interviewing Success

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

Good luck in your search,

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