Churches are labor intensive organizations and are unique in that most of the labor that makes church happen is volunteer.
Church employees facilitate the process that manages this free labor.
These crucial members of a church staff are the ones who make it all happen – with very limited resources.
Consequently hiring right – the first time is important for churches.
Bad hires are costly. A bad church hire can cost tens of thousands of dollars in costs associated with on-boarding, relocation costs, staff time for search and interviews, severance pay (when the decision to fire church staff is made) as well as the lost salary and benefits paid to an employee who was simply a bad hire.
A 2015 study concludes that organizations that don’t adhere to a standardized interviewing process are five time more likely to make a bad hire. Creating a process to hire employees is important!
Hiring Church Employees
Hiring church employees can be tricky and requires a process for hiring people.
That process consists of:
Funding the position – How much is this position worth and are there budget dollars available to fund it?
Identifying what needs to be done – You need to determine what this person will do and create a detailed job description.
Recruiting – How will we market for this position and where will we find job candidates?
Job interviews – Each qualified applicant should be interviewed to determine the best candidate for the job.
On-boarding the new employee – Is there an efficient process to ensure a smooth transition into the new role?
Interviewing job candidates can be tricky. You need to have a good understanding of the job you are interviewing for, what kind of person you are looking for but you also need to have a list of questions to ask – that will help you find that right person.
You should begin by creating an interview guide and list of questions. Do this once and keep it to share with other hiring managers and to add to your HR resources.
Spend some time thinking about those things that are important to you as an organization. Then begin drafting a list.
Once you have a list you can script them into questions for your interview guide.
Interview Questions To Avoid
Knowing what questions to ask (and what questions not to ask) a candidate can help ensure a great hire.
Let’s talk about the questions.
Common sense tells us to avoid questions that could be misconstrued as discriminatory. Be aware that there are laws that prohibit asking questions that could be discriminatory and relate either directly or indirectly to:
- National Origin
Keep it simple. Ask only those questions that will help you determine if the candidate will be able to perform job assignments. No other information should influence your decision.
Ask questions that will help you determine if the employee has the skill and work ethic to do the job.
Your goal is to learn what a candidate has done and how they might bring value to your organization.
Example Interview Question Topics
Focus on questions that will help you understand:
- Their Interest in the job
- Passion for the church
- Understanding of the mission
- Current position
- Current/prior boss
- Personal improvement opportunities
- How to improve job performance
- Personal growth opportunities
- Conflict resolution
- Personal testimony
- Personal calling
- Personal growth
Keep in mind that interviewing is a developed skill. Taking the necessary time to prepare for an interview is the best way to practice and develop that skill.
The whole purpose is to get to know the job candidate through interview questions, which will improve the likelihood that the candidate will work well within your organization.
Sample Interview Questions
- How has God led you to our church and why do you feel that you should be a part of our church team?
- Tell me what you do in your current position?
- Tell me about a time you identified an improvement opportunity for your current employer.
- Describe the best boss you’ve ever had.
- What would your boss say your strengths are?
- Tell me about a time when your supervisor coached you on improving your performance.
- Tell me about a time you had conflict with a coworker and how you resolved it.
This is just a sampling of questions to ask. If you are interviewing for a management position, you might also include questions about their experience with budgeting or managing others.
You can access our complete interview guide and questions here.
Bad hires are not only costly – but in a church – a bad hire can cause a whole host of issues surrounding the person and everyone they are attached to. Be smart about hires and invest the time in creating an organized system to hire that church employee. You will be glad you did!