Passion seems to be one of the most used words of every kid who knows how to do something, isn't it? Before passion what was it? any words come to mind? Well, after the success of people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and so many we start using the word passion for everything that we try to do in life.
Well, I don't care if it's passion or something else, all it means is that "you don't get tired, sad or almost feel anything when you're doing something", boy! you are good at it and should keep doing it.
How to find out this about a person whom you are gonna interview or talk to for like half an hour ? Any short way to do it? Yes and No.
There are of course certain psychological questions that can help you find something about the person but there is also training an eye to look for something.
People get excited when they talk about the tasks they love doing. You can catch them in their eyes and their struggle for words to describe it. Even if you are a silver tongue you can lie about anything but passion. Passionate candidates give away their shield when you ask them for their passion.
Ask them about their most satisfying moment of their career.
The answer will tell you if the person is looking for comfort with a culture or a particular work style, or really searching for a place where he can put his passion to work doing a particular kind of job. If the answers show a consistent theme of talking about BS factors rather than a clear line toward being able to do interesting work related to their field, it's hard to project them as passionate in their field.
Work done outside their job
Similarly in programming, you can look for the recent work the candidate has done outside his work or if he/she has taken some interesting project at the day job. Look for open source contribution, check for what sort of website/blogs the candidate follows.
You can ask your candidate if he has tried any functional programming like Erlang, Haskell and Common Lisp, or if he has been involved in fun projects as part of his midnight hacking exercise.
Look for their online portfolio
One way to quickly gauge their passion for programming is to look at their Github/Bitbucket/StackOverflow profile. If a candidate has decent amount of code of his own and a good karma on these sites, then it very well explains that the candidate has passion for his work. Also, asking relevant questions can extract the information from a candidate.
Some of the questions could be - ‘Who do you consider your inspiration?’, ‘What sorts of books have you read?’ (and some follow-up question on the topic topic), ‘What sort of technology-related news sites do you follow on a daily basis?’. No, Techcrunch or TheNextweb are not the answers you should look for.
If anything that passion gives you for free, it is an optimal experience that you would hold up as your best moment in your life. Now as for the interviewers, how to get it if the candidate has it for the job in hand?
Passion takes out ripostes from the interview transcends the candidate to relive those incredible moments of his life. So, if you see a twinkle in his/her eyes while talking about their best moments in their career, HIRE THEM.