Recruiting, Talent

The Ideal Combination of Characteristics

An earlier Recruiting Daily Advisor article cites a recent study by professional services firm Deloitte, which finds only 13 percent of workers are passionate about their jobs.

The same study suggests there is a strong link between employee engagement and passion.

Passion vs. Effort

However, not everyone agrees that passion leads to success. Some business leaders even scoff at the idea of “following your passion.” CNBC quotes Dallas Mavericks owner and reality TV star Mark Cuban as saying it’s not only bad advice, it’s “one of the great lies of life.”
The reason, according to Cuban, is that a person may not excel at what he or she is passionate about. He gives the example of his earlier passion for baseball, while pointing out that he lacked major league skills.
Instead, Cuban advocates for following your effort. Where you devote the most time is where you should focus, he says.

Passionate and Practical

Yet, the story of American figure skater Scott Hamilton, who won an Olympic gold medal in 1984, seems to contradict Cuban’s advice.
In an interview with AARP, Hamilton says: “I wasn’t a prodigy. For many years my ambition in competitions was just to not come in last. Nobody, least of all me, ever believed I was on any kind of superstar trajectory. But all that disappointment gave me a sense of destination. Not destiny, not something larger than life, but of destination, which was concrete and practical and day by day.”
Hamilton’s success makes a case for following your passion. But it also suggests that effort plays an important role.

When Recruiting

So, where does this leave recruiters? Should you still look for passion?
Passion without effort isn’t likely to produce favorable results. On the other hand, effort without passion is, well, rather robotic.
Instead, why not look for both, along with a third characteristic?
The ideal combination of characteristics is:

  • passion, defined as a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something;
  • effort, defined as a vigorous or determined attempt; and
  • ability, defined as possession of the means or skill to do something; talent, skill or proficiency in a particular area.

If a job candidate possesses all three, he or she is worthy of your consideration—and maybe even the job.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.

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