One of the challenges churches face when hiring is hiring those we know or hiring from within.
At MinisterSearch, we believe and support hiring from within and try to position our clients to do so. However, all to often we hear stories of failure (“he was a great friend, but he just didn’t get the job done”….”I left my corporate job to serve my church, and now I’m miserable”). One would think that hiring someone we know would be a great idea. And, it is – IF that person is truly qualified for the position. Oftentimes, we assume “God is in it” because of the way the candidate came to us. Since they were referred to us, or we know the same people, or we ran into each other at Starbucks we may think that it is a God ordained encounter. It may be, but it may not be.
Just like we would, hopefully, not marry someone based on the above circumstances, neither should we hire – or allow those circumstances to overshadow our objectivity. So, what do we do?
Don’t consider a “job for a person.” Instead consider the person for the job. To do that, we must FIRST know the duties and responsibilities along with the qualifications for the job. That means write it down, go over with the appropriate decision makers and leaders, and publish it – ALL without considering any particular candidates.
Then, start looking at candidates by first comparing their qualifications to those of the open position.
Bill Hybels wrote about 3 general criteria: Character, Competence, and Chemistry. I believe this is a bit too simplistic, but for this illustration, we’ll use it. Character should go without saying – if the candidate lacks in this area, he’s out of process – probably no argument there. The next may be met with some resistance. My experience has taught me that Competency must come next – not at the expense of Chemistry but as a compliment. What does that mean?
We’ve got to find candidates who are built, wired, gifted, experienced (whatever you want to call it) for the specific job. If a candidate doesn’t have those characteristics, there’s no way they’ll succeed. Even the best chemistry fit will never work if they don’t have the competencies necessary.
I really like the Dallas Cowboys – I believe I would fit in well with the team – I’d get along great with the team and coaches(chemistry), we’ll assume I’ve got the character necessary for the position. I could learn the playbook better than others. However, God did NOT build me to play professional football. I’m not tall enough, fast enough, or strong enough to play professional football. No matter how much time I spent with the team, how many conferences I attended, how many coaches I had, I’m just not made for that. That doesn’t make me a bad person, I’m just not set up to play pro ball…
Getting along well with a team and having the character required to lead in ministry are imperative to making the right hire. They cannot, however, overshadow the importance of making sure the candidate exhibits the appropriate skills and aptitude. Does this take God out of the equation? I think not. In fact, I believe God has provided us the resources to qualify each candidate on all levels, and I think we should take advantage of these resources to be as responsible as possible.
If you’ve got a real successful hiring and retention rate, you probably don’t need to consider these ideas. If you have had some challenges hiring and/or developing and retaining a successful team, give it some though.