Passion For The Job? No, But I Do Work Hard - Is That Not Good Enough?

30/03/2017 13:47 BST | Updated 30/03/2017 13:48 BST
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A standard interview for a role that, at best, can be described as functional. For a position that most people do not understand or care for fully. Account manager. Business consultant. Generic middle management that no one ever suggested as a career path but somehow millions fall into. So you sit across the table from two complete strangers, trying your best not act like a complete fool. Sometimes you are not even sure why you are there at all.

However, you go through your education, your current workplace and trying to avoid the truth when they ask 'why are you leaving?' Strangely the truthful answer of 'it's boring' would not go down well; so the slight variant on 'looking for a new challenge' or 'I wasn't looking but this role was just so tempting' garbage comes out. Everyone knows this is all lip service. Everyone knows that ego's need massaging and certain keywords are thrown in for the sake of sounding relevant. Scalability, big data or multiple verticals suddenly find their way into the conversation so you sound business like!

Most of these meetings are fine. A job after all is a job, we all have bills to pay, and an interview is in some way a nice thing to have. Someone is interested in you. Well usually - I did walk in to an interview once and the first thing the chap said was 'I am only doing this because HR are making me, the position has already been filled, but never mind let us do this thing'. Charming fella. However generally, there is a reason you are there and your skills, or potential skills are in need. Great stuff. The job is yours to lose.

Then a roadblock presents itself. Interviewers far too often seem to have a compelling urge to ask 'So what are you passionate about?' Oh dear.

Your response doesn't need to be focused on work but presumably they are looking for a sensible answer. Watching the wrestling on TV or eating crisps is not a productive answer apparently. Employers perhaps ask this question as they wish to learn a bit more about your personal interests and values. Some might say it is to see whether you are an interesting person, whose outside activities can benefit the company.

However, far too many people do try to put this into a work scenario. Therein lies the problem. What if you have no passion for work at all? Yes, you want the position, but it is not your childhood dream. It seldom is and feigning excitement about insurance, account management or logistics can be quite hard.

The question is often expected and should be accounted for. The predetermined response related to the job role should roll off the tongue as if it were true. 'I just love it when a customer gets his equipment in time'; 'I am passionate about customer service in a way that that is second to none'. Nevertheless the interviewer at this point is probably thinking 'what a crock of ****!' But smiles at you anyway.

There are times when you may be able to combine your passion or hobbies with the interview. If you like animals and happen to be going to work for a call centre for animal insurance there is some overlap there. It could be worked in relatively cringe free.

But not everyone has a passion at all. Not everyone has a dream. Getting by in life is sometimes can take over the fantasy side. Parents whose only goal is to pay for the food on the table and ensure their kids have a good life is a passion that may not be seen as one. Interviewers do not necessarily want to hear that your goal in life is to make sure little Elvis and Esmerelda have new shoes and don't suffer fools lightly. It does show that you are a caring person and will try hard to succeed in your personal life. It is what you want but some employers are looking for more.

Realistically earning enough money to be able to be able to pay your bills and go on holiday every year is a good goal in life. Stating 'I will work here all year round so when I have saved enough I can get as far away from the office as I can possibly afford and forget about you all for two weeks. That is my passion', won't get anyone a job!

Sure, I care about these things; but in the end, all you need to know is that I am decent person and a hard worker. I have the skills and aptitude for this role and I am never late; I do not spend half the day on Facebook. That is what you should ask.