Don’t just Hire for Experience, Hire for Passion, Says Adrian Jones

by Josh Biggs in Tips on 13th August 2020

When employers are hiring new talent to join their team, what do they value most? Do they value someone who may have 10 years of experience in their industry but lacks passion, or do they hire someone who may have limited experience but has so much passion for the organisation and the role? 

With more than 20 years of experience in enterprise IT, Adrian Jones, a current sales executive for a technology company focusing on AI and robotic process automation, believes that hiring for passion over experience has boded well for his organisation, as passionate employees tend to not only flourish, but work well with current and prospective clients. 

Hiring for Passion

Adrian Jones notes that those who succeed the most with his company are not necessarily the most technically skilled or professionally qualified. Instead, it’s the ones with a true a passion for AI and robotic process automation who ultimately grow and achieve the most. Mr. Jones says the same would be true for other types of organisations. 

First, passionate individuals will want to learn and keep learning. “In our more recent hires where we’ve deliberately hired such individuals, I’ve seen a desire and drive to gain the necessary knowledge that quickly closes the gap between them and more technically proficient peers,” says Adrian Jones. “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, which is particularly valuable in a field like RPA where the technology continues to evolve 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 — which leads to more engaged, enlivening discussions with customers, team members, and everyone in between. In Asia, Mr. Jones has 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 so obviously excited about what they do.

Adrian Jones on the Balance to Passion

When hiring for passion as well as 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 organisation. 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.

To Adrian Jones, that balance is humility. Companies often talk about humility as one of their corporate values, but Adrian would much rather see it lived out than pinned on the office fridge. Humility keeps passion in check. When you’re conscious of your own 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 passion for a new technology or its applications. The best we can do in our hires — and ourselves — is to try and align passion and humility,” says Adrian Jones. “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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