If you’re going to be hiring staff for your church plant, you need to have a handful of good church job interview questions up your sleeve. Read on to find my top 17 for 2017.
As the pastor and hiring manager, your job in the interview process is to determine if the candidate is a good match for your church plant based on the 4 C’s of hiring, listed in order of their difficulty in discerning:
- Competence (sometimes ‘Capacity’)
- Calling (aka Conviction)
Here are my top church job interview questions that help you get to the heart of those quickly. OK, so some of them are statements and not really questions, but you get the point.
Church Job Interview Questions
- Tell me about yourself – they shouldn’t ramble or spend the whole time talking about their personal/home life
- What bothers you most about the world? – their answer will be connected to their passion(s)
- Describe when and how you decided to follow Jesus – of course you want church staff to be followers of Jesus, but their answer may also give you a hint about their theology
- Why are you leaving your current ministry/job? – pay attention to what they’re saying, and especially what they’re not saying
- What would your last supervisor say about you? – this may reveal chemistry or character issues
- What about your last ministry was life-giving? life-draining? – these will be closely linked to their gifts and passions
- Tell me about a time when you built a strong team from volunteers – church staff should be leaders, not just doers
- Describe your leadership style – this gets at chemistry and competency
- Summarize for me the last book you read – leaders are learners and what they’re reading can tell you a lot about what’s important to them
- Describe your decision-making style – again, chemistry and competency
- Tell me about a time when you resolved a conflict at work – conflict is inevitable and can actually be healthy if they have good conflict resolutions skills
- How have you handled personal criticism or conflict on social media? – this will tell you about their character, their emotional intelligence, and their level of tech-savvy
- Describe your level of risk tolerance – planting a church is a risky business and if they have a high need for stability, they’re not going to thrive
- What is your greatest weakness? – gauge their self-awareness listen for what they’ve done to counter-balance their weakness
- Is there a particular ministry/church planting model that you’re passionate about? – if it’s different that yours, you’re going to have a chemistry problem on day 1
- If you were hired today, what would your initial game plan be? – they should understand a bit about the role they’re applying for; the best candidates will have already been thinking about this
- Do you have any questions for me? – beware candidates with no further questions: it may mean that they are desperate for a job, wanting to use your church as a stepping stone, or just generally unprepared
Eric Geiger reminds us to try and talk the candidate out of the role. If they scare easily, probably being on staff at a church plant isn’t the best match for them.
Years ago I heard someone say, “Churches hire based on competency and fire based on chemistry.” Save yourself that heartache by figuring out the chemistry early in the process with good church job interview questions.
This is part 3 of a 7-part series on Church HR Forms & Systems