What’s More Important When Hiring: Passion or Skills?

Unfortunately, passion and drive are sometimes overlooked qualities of a job candidateduring the search and interview process.

Generally, when people are being interviewed, the hiring manager uses a task-and-experience job description to find candidates. Then they focus on a resume, whichhighlights skills acquired through school and job experience. While skills and experienceare important attributes that should always be considered, talent and passion are equally--if not more--vital to real job performance success and should be given greater weight.

You should hold out and try to hire for both. The best of both worlds is possible.


Passion Without Skills

In all stages of development, passion without the experience can lead to a "loose cannon"lack of strategy and focus.

Passion has limits, and without the steady hand of experience or getting better at the job,passion will diminish overtime, and in many cases, leaving them feeling lackluster andhardly motivated. To use a football analogy I once read, passion is good in the first quarter,but it is experience that puts the ball over the goal line when it is 4th-and-10 with onlyseconds to go.

Passion without the experience to manage can become invalid. Desire is important, and candefinitely get the job started, but expertise gets the job done.

Passion for some people is what is new and exciting. We’ve all known individuals whobecome passionate for a cause, a business, a product, or a thought when it is fresh andexciting, only to lose interest before fulfillment, racing on to the next thing.


Experience Without Passion

Experience without passion is the cause of complacent leadership when passionate energyis needed most. Entire industries have gone to ruins, despite decades of experience, whenthe spark of passion dissipates.
Experience without passion is a common reason for long-term failure in business.An experienced employee may know how to revive a business if it is struggling, but apassionate employee will care enough to do something about it. They’ll learn along the way.


What do you hire for? Passion? Skills? Both? Why?

Views: 1885

Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on April 28, 2011 at 12:00pm
Comment by Ty Abernethy on April 28, 2011 at 12:05pm
True dat!
Comment by Nate Fischer on April 29, 2011 at 11:41am

But more importantly, step back for a moment.  Because without a clearly written resume showing the necessary skills in an online driven marketplace, a candidate won't even have the opportunity to show whatever passion they have.  Passion is very difficult to get across in a CV.


Comment by Ty Abernethy on April 29, 2011 at 12:13pm
I agree totally.  Passion is like the icing on the cake.  Icing is useless without a well baked cake.  You must take much precision in measuring out the right ingredients and baking at the right temp.  But if you're picking between 2 well baked cakes, you'll choose the one with icing!  (sorry, I beat that analogy into the ground!) 
Comment by Mat von Kroeker on April 29, 2011 at 1:59pm
Depends on the budget.
Comment by Mark Bregman on May 3, 2011 at 5:28pm

I agree and would add that Passion + Intelligence + Track Record of Success (in any endeavor) can be enough in many cases.  To extend your football analogy, Peyton Manning has all three - and that is why his coaches have trusted him to make key decisions on the field.  Of course, he has the experience too, but the first three are why he is revered and trusted as a leader.

Most of my clients would take Passioin + Intelligence + Successful Track Record and be willing to sacrifice a little on the experience side, to get that leadership profile.


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