One question I always ask in job interviews is, “What do you like to do when you’re not working?”. It’s an easy question — everybody does something — but I’m amazed at how many people stuggle to come up with an answer.
I ask this question because I’ve found that it provides a lot of insight into what type of person the candidate is. I don’t care what their passion is — it could be sailing, reading, coaching their kid’s soccer team, cooking, or anything else. What I’m looking for is whether they get that twinkle in their eye and can engage you on their favorite topic.
Here’s a great example:
I met a girl yesterday in our customer support department that is a member of the 501st Legion of Stormtroopers. I had never heard of this, but it’s a group of thousands of hard core Star Wars fans that get together and wear costumes from the movies. Check out this video of the 501st marching at the 2007 Rose Parade. I find this utterly fascinating — not because I want to suit up as Darth Vader, but because her enthusiasm was infectious. She proudly pointed herself out among hundreds of Storm Troopers in a group photo from the parade.
When I’m looking to hire someone, I put more value on smarts, curiosity, and passion than the things they’ve done at work in the past (which are typically embellished anyway). So far it’s worked pretty well — I’ve got a great team at ThinkCash!