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When you think of the most desirable traits to have in your employees, you probably don’t put passionate employees at the top of the list. It’s more likely that you think in terms of work ethic, energy, and resourcefulness. You might even put creative spirit and a pragmatic approach in the workplace near the top of the list.

All of those employee qualities are certainly important, but not as important as having passion for the work. Passion is the trait that makes the most difference in employee output and commitment to your company. While a dispassionate employee may keep their nose to the grindstone for a while and get the job done, if they lack passion for the work, then they’re missing the key ingredient for sustained, long-term performance.

As an HR leader, you already know that employee passion is important, but how will your team find the type of candidates that make passionate employees? After all, candidates usually try to appear passionate during the interview process.

According to a survey from Deloitte, passion is made up of the following 3 characteristics:

  • A long term commitment to a specific domain that is goal-oriented and unruffled by short term turbulence
  • A questioning disposition where they are always seeking knowledge from new challenges
  • A connecting disposition, meaning a tendency to form strong, trust-based relationships

Here’s a short video to explain those 3 characteristics of passionate employees in more detail:

Workers who demonstrate more passion in the workplace are more committed to their employers, and respond better to the diverse challenges of a globalized marketplace. According to the survey, 79% of those who claim to be passionate employees say that they’re working for their “dream organization” even if they were not in their “dream position.”

Clearly, the 3 characteristics of passionate employees correspond to happy, committed employees.

Why Hire Passionate Employees

As difficult 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.

You can’t teach passion.

Employees either have it or they don’t, and no matter how well you do at creating a work environment that encourages it, finding passionate employees is pivotal to your organization’s success.

When you look at champions what do they all have in common?


Of course, but ultimately it’s passion that truly drives them. There are hundreds of examples of wasted talent in virtually every industry, and that’s mostly due to a lack of passion or the drive to succeed.

For example, it’s great to have a good salesperson who does well in your organization. It’s even better to have a great salesperson that believes in the corporate mission and bleeds your company colors. Prospects and clients will find them more convincing when pitching your products and a great salesperson will push harder to make the sale because they have a passion for what they do and the product they sell.

Skills lead to building something good. Passion leads to building something great.

How to Find Passionate Employees

If you want to hire passionate employees, but don’t know where or how to find them, you’re not alone. Few organizations know how to identify “passionate” talent, and most companies choose candidates based on work history and skills instead.

It’s really not the right approach.

We’ve seen organizations hire employees based solely on the fact that they’ve worked at Google or Facebook, only to learn that the new hires lacked the motivation and drive to actually succeed in their new roles. Those employees 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 makes your business successful. If they have no idea, then you can immediately eliminate them.

The candidates that have passion will give you a response that sends a chill down your spine – Or at the very least, makes you smile.

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?


Clearly, passionate employees are worth their weight in gold. Although there are many qualities that make for a successful and desirable employee, passion is the one trait that can make the most difference in both employee output and commitment to your organization.

Who knows, a truly passionate employee may even spur others in your company to find passion in their jobs too. Who wouldn’t want that?

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