Employer Branding Talent Acquisition

4 Ways to Find Passionate Talent

In the movie Serendipity, Dean says to Jonathan:

“You know the Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man dies: ‘Did he have passion?’”

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

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


  • History: I 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, I look for indications of why their occupation took a left turn.
  • Activities: I look for activity outside of the office that support 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. 

Social media

  • Profile: On social profiles that reflect an individual’s occupation, I look for indications of pride. For example, on LinkedIn I would look for awards, speaking engagements or promotions.
  • Engagement: Passion can be seen in what they share 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 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: I look for a candidate who presents themselves in a confident and energetic manner – proud of their skills, experience and accomplishments.
  • 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.

Reference checks

  • Professional contacts: I listen to what former employers 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. What do you look and listen for to judge a job seeker’s passion? Let us know in the comments below.

Rich Weede is responsible for Marketing at Kforce. Rich resides in Tampa, FL, where he enjoys all that the area has to offer, including rooting on the Bucs, Bolts and Rays. Connect with Rich on LinkedIn.

By Guest

This post is written by a guest author. If you are interested our sponsored content options, check out the the Advertising Page - we look forward to hearing from you!