The Interview Process (Part 1)

One of the responsibilities with my job is to help find staff for openings at any of our church plants and partnership churches. In that role, I have interviewed a number of candidates for different openings and over the next couple posts I am going to share some tips for both the interviewer and the interviewee (not sure that’s a real word!). This is geared specifically toward those interviewing for a ministry position, but many of the tips are applicable across the board. First, I’ll start with the interviewee.

When interviewing for a position here’s a few simple tips in no particular order:

  • Dress for Success. This doesn’t necessarily mean you come in a full suit. You need to evaluate what is most appropriate for the position you are interviewing for. If I’m interviewing someone for an internship and they come in a full suit, I’d be a little freaked out. But in the same respect, if it looks like you just woke up and threw on whatever was on the floor, you just wasted the always valuable first impression.
  • Have a Clean Resumé. Resumés can be a tricky thing. Some people run the error of including their entire life story in their resumé, rather than being a document showing why they are a perfect fit for a particular position. Remember, a resumé should not be an outline for your ‘Soon-to-be-Released Autobiography’! A good resume is informational, yet simple. Only include info that is applicable to the position you are applying for. Let me give you an example. If you are applying for a Children’s Pastor position. The fact that you worked at Taco Bell for three years probably isn’t going to put you over the top as a candidate! However, including your involvement at a Boys & Girls Club for the last two years would be something of interest to a potential boss. (On a side note, if you are looking for a classy, simple resumé – I do design resumés – check out more info here.

  • Questions Should Be a Two-Way Street. In a quality interview, you will be asked numerous questions. The person interviewing you is striving to get a feel for who you are and how you work in this brief meeting. They might ask about your past experiences, your skill-set, and even your family. As important as this is for an interviewer to explore you as a fit to their organization, you as the interviewee should ask questions as well. It’s equally important that you feel comfortable with the setting you might be going into yourself. One question many are hesitant to ask at this point, especially in ministry, is regarding finances. There is no ‘clean-cut’ answer to when you bring up finances, but it’s best feel out the interview. If it feels like things are going well, bring it up with tact. This should never be your driving force, but it is an important issue, especially if you have a family.

  • Pray. Pray. Pray. Don’t remove God from the equation. Your desire as a minister is ultimately to be where God desires you to be – not the church with the biggest salary package, or with the coolest student facility. All those things will lose their ‘wow’ factor real quick. Knowing your in the will of God is far more important. As you go into an interview ask God to make His will known throughout the interview. As you leave, take valuable time to consider what God is speaking to you.

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