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How to Evaluate an Accounting Candidate’s Passion in an Interview


Does passion really matter? If the candidate can do the job, has done similar work, and has a good attitude, do they have to love their job & industry? No, not really. However, if you don’t hire passionate employees, you’re making a hiring mistake. Sure, a dispassionate employee may be able to perform the job duties, but a passionate employee will excel in their role.

Passion also motivates innovation and diligence. A hardworking but disinterested employee will do what’s asked, but a passionate employee will go above and beyond, network after hours, and build her own arsenal of knowledge as often as possible. The motivation is intrinsic.

Passionate employees are also the most fun to work with. While an average employee with a good attitude will get along fine, a passionate employee has an infectious energy that will spread like wildfire.

But, how do you know if a potential hire is passionate?

Ask these questions in an interview to evaluate passion:

“How do you stay up to date in the field?”

A diligent employee may take good notes at employee workshop days and read articles sent to them by others, but a passionate employee will absorb everything of their own volition.

“What is a big industry problem you’d love to solve?”

A generic answer gives away disinterest, while passion will come through in creativity, innovation, and urgency.

“What satisfied you most about your previous job?”

Nice co-workers, paid vacation and a killer espresso machine make for nice benefits for a fair-weather employee. One who is passionate will cite industry-specific and project-specific favourites or bemoan a lack thereof.

“Do you attend industry networking events or conferences?”

A resounding “yes, of course” would prove the good intentions of a dedicated employee, but a passionate potential hire will rattle off the exciting recent adventures in learning they have been on.

“What are your career goals?”

This question is good to ask in any interview because it helps determine fit while allowing the candidate to air their passions deliberately. A passionate candidate has a chosen path, dreams, and big ideas all centred in your industry.

Final Note: Match the Passion

The first thing that will deter any candidate – especially one who is passionate – is a drab and lacklustre work environment. As their first impression of the company, it’s important for the hiring manager to share in the passion and excitement they expect to see. By nurturing your candidate’s enthusiasm, you can ensure they will be ready to take-off once hired!

For more managerial advice or to empower your team by hiring a new employee, partner with Halcyon Finance & Accounting Recruitment. We have a pool of deeply talented Toronto wide accounting and finance professionals. Contact us today.

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