Hiring Great Staff

Hiring staff is one the most exciting and daunting tasks a leader can face. Not everyone who works in the church has the privilege of having a staff. If you are one of the lucky few then you know how important it is to do it right. If not, you probably have volunteers doing things you wish you could pay them for. In either case it is crucial to the health and stability of your team to bring the right people on.

So how do you go about hiring great staff? Here are 8 steps I take whenever hiring someone:

1. Pray for insight
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I put it here anyway because we should never underestimate how important God’s blessing is on a new hire. We may do the other steps right, but if we get this one wrong then the rest are all for not.

2. Know who you want
Before you start talking to people you’ve got to know who you need? What would they be able to do well? How many hours will they be expected to work? What tasks will they do on a ongoing basis? Who will they report to? What temperament will work best for this position and on your team? This is vital before going any further. I talk more about who to figure this out here.

3. Gather a list and narrow it down
Much like Santa you should make a list and check it twice. Write down who may be a good fit both inside and outside of your current organization. Then narrow it down to your top 2-5 people. Here are some great websites if you’re look for people outside your current ministry setting.

4. Have lots of conversations
Once you’ve got your Final Five figured out it’s time to start making some calls. Get to know them over Skype or phone before spending lots of time with them over meals and coffer in person. Have some questions prepared to help you figure out if they meet the criteria you established in #2. From there narrow your candidates to your Top 1-3.

5. Check references
It’s always a good idea to see how they’re track record has been at other jobs. If they’re previous leaders can’t speak well of them (or they consistently speak ill of all their previous bosses) that’s a red flag. A track record of not staying some place very long is also a red flag. What they’ve done in the past is a good indicator of what they’ll do in the future.

6. Test-drive
Depending on the position its advantageous to scope out how they perform. If you need them to teach kids, then watch them teach kids at your church or someplace like it. If they’re going to build a website, check out some websites they’ve already built. You don’t need to give them a 3hr exam but they should have something to show they have what it takes to work for you with excellence.

7. Get feedback
Before make a decision ask some people you trust what they think. Ideally you will have included them in the conversation pieces of this process. Every candidate will have some cons, but there shouldn’t be too many. Never forget what Solomon said:

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22 (NIV)

8. Make a decision
Now it’s crunch time. You’ll need to tell everyone else no and give someone a yes. Always be gracious when extending an offer and when taking one away. On the rare occasion when everyone on your list is a no you’ll need to start this process over. That’s OK. What matters is getting the right person.

Hiring isn’t easy. It always takes longer then you think. There’s no sure-fire way to hire the perfect candidate. But when you follow these steps you increase your chances of hiring the best person available for your team.

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