One of my favourite question which I ask the people during job interview is "What are your hobbies ? ". I usually ask this question bang in between other technical and work related questions . Usually there is a pause of surprise and confusion not only on the interviewee's face but also on my co-interviewer's faces.
There are different reactions to this question. Some people fumble and do not know what to answer. This was not in their FAQ list. Some give a blank look and rattle several things - music, dance, soccer... There is a third type who after the initial pause of surprise, suddenly seem excited.
There is a spark in their eyes . Then they talk about their hobby .
My next question is related to the previous one. If someone says their hobby is reading, I ask him about the last book which he read and why he liked it. Or if their hobby is music, I ask a related question. My next question is "If you had the freedom to choose any role in the organization, what would you choose and why ?"
After these three questions, I carry on the rest of the interview. To be frank, even before the final lap of the interview, I know whether I will select the person or not. I have been asked several times why I place so much importance to these two questions. Well , I look for one thing . Passion.
- Passion keeps you going : It is very important for everybody to be passionate about at least something in his/her life. When a person's eyes lights up while talking about the recent photography he has done, I know that the fire is inside him. If this fire can be lit up in his work , he will be a great fit in the organization.
- Passion comes from within : When I ask the third question about the role which he will choose and why, I get a clear picture about his work passion. Whether it is leading or technical problem solver, collaborating, or directing,the way the answer is articulated again guides me about what they really want to be .. what is it that will goad them to excel at work. I usually spend a lot of time talking about this aspect.
- Passion helps in innovation : If you are passionate about something, you will find innovative ways to go around the problem. Until the problem is solved, the passion inside you will goad you towards success. I have seen insurmountable tasks being done by passionate people. He kept on going when everybody else had given up.
- Work is sheer joy : Though it is an ideal state, but when someone is lucky enough to work on something which he is passionate about, work is just not work. Long hours are not stressful. The satisfaction of completing a well designed web page or composing a jingle or fixing a complex bug gives immense joy. If you love what you do, you will never work a single day of your life.
Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet , Marc Zuckerberg have all talked about finding passion in what you do. They have said "Never underestimate the power of passion "
And for organizations - "One person with passion is better that forty people merely interested "
What do you think ? Is my style of interviewing controversial ? Need your thoughts !