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  • Writer's pictureAdrian Jones

Don’t Hire for Experience, Hire for Passion

Generally speaking, when employers hire new talent, what do they value most? For example, do they value someone with years of experience in their industry but lacks passion, or do they hire someone with limited experience but so much passion for the organization and the role?

With the experience I have made over the past two decades, running large teams across three continents, I firmly believe that hiring for passion over experience has boded well for the tech organizations I have worked for. Passionate employees tend to not only flourish but work well with current and prospective clients.

Hiring for Passion

When I look at my team, now and in the past, those who succeed in his company are not necessarily the most technically skilled or professionally qualified. Instead, it’s those with a real passion for the technology and the customers we serve who ultimately grow and achieve the most.

First, passionate individuals will want to learn and keep learning. We are still a small and incredibly focused team. Still, in our more recent hires, we’ve deliberately hired such individuals, where I’ve seen a desire and drive to gain the necessary knowledge that quickly closes the gap between them and more technically proficient peers. At the same time, that passion often gives rise to new ideas and innovations that can add to or even challenge what we more experienced types might think of. It’s precious in a fast-evolving field like A.I., where the technology continues to advance at an intense pace.

Second, passion often proves infectious. Individuals who have that enthusiasm for their work are more likely to display it in everything they do, leading to more engaged, enlivening discussions with customers, team members, and everyone in between. I have seen this passion spread to prospects who would’ve previously been less than enthused about our technology. It’s hard to stay resistant when the person opposite you is obviously excited about what they do.

Balance to Passion

When hiring for passion and experience, you will inevitably end up with individuals who will continuously learn, improve their skills, and grow without requiring outside motivation. Those individuals can quickly become the stars of any organization. But, at the same time, passion needs to be balanced out so that those individuals don’t become overambitious or overbearing on those they’re working with every day.

To me, that balance is humility. Companies often talk about humility as one of their corporate values, but I rather see it lived out than pinned on the office fridge. Humility keeps passion in check. When you’re conscious of your limitations and focused on the needs of others, you’re much less likely to get carried away by what naturally excites or drives you. It also keeps passion from growing egocentric — becoming all about me, which is always a risk in star performers.

I’d be the first to admit that maintaining that humility isn’t always easy — it doesn’t take much to get too carried away by the passion for new technology or its applications. The best we can do in our hires — and ourselves — is to try and align passion and humility. And it’s something we’re doing every day at When we’re passionate about serving others and conscious that we don’t always have the answers, everyone’s more likely to win out. That’s something no amount of technical experience can teach, although a bit of life experience can certainly help.

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