10 Tips For Landing The Ministry Job Of Your Dreams
By: Vanderbloemen January 17, 2012
If you’ve been involved with the interviewing process in ministry, you know there’s no cookie-cutter approach. A lot of how staff members get hired has to do with equal amount relationship as well as fit (and of course calling plays a role, but we considered that a given.) However, you shouldn’t take a key relationship or even a team-fit for granted. A poor interview can derail the train to the ministry job of your dreams. Recently we were inspired by this great article about interviewing for your dream job in the secular world. Here are some tips for staying focused and intentional through the ministry hiring process.
1) Be direct: It seems obvious, but often stories take the place of direct answers and can confuse the person interviewing you. Answer the question first, and if there’s an appropriate example to share, that’s the time to tell the story.
2) Listen to their needs first: You may see glaring potential in the position for which you’re interviewing, but the person interviewing you already has a set of questions to ask. Remember at this point in the process, he or she has the most important agenda, not you.
3) Map it out: If you are asked a strategic question, get creative and ask if you can map out your idea. Show them how you got from point A to point B. For example, if they want to know how you’re going to develop a volunteer team, whiteboard out your structure and plan so they’re left with a visible reminder.
4) Relax: Sometimes a person interviewing you will put you under pressure for a reason – they want to see how you’re going to respond under pressure. Don’t sweat it. If you need time to process, ask for it. Honesty and staying calm are more desirable traits than frantically coming up with a hurried answer.
5) Leave the perks off the table: If the ministry where you’re applying has some special perks (free lunches, trips to conferences, paid sabbaticals every year), don’t bring them up as reasons why you want to work for them. Instead, focus on the heart of the ministry – that is the main reason you’re interested.
6) Research: Go online and read their mission and statement of faith. Do a web search for the church’s or pastor’s name to see if there are any community events they’ve been involved with or other key partnerships. Talk about these during the interview and show you’ve taken a keen interest in understanding the things that may go unnoticed.
7) Tell stories that prove your point: Generally, you’re going to be asked what you’re strengths are. Instead of rattling off a list of five items, maybe cut it back to two or three and explain why those things are your strengths. You can lead a team through a crisis. Great. Now, tell them about the time you did.
8) Ask questions: Don’t ask about the norms. Instead, get to know the passion and heart behind the person interviewing you. This opens up a huge relational well and also shows you’re not just interested in how you can help, but how the ministry empowers others. This reminder may just be what your interviewer needs to know you’re a great fit because you keep a bigger picture in mind.
9) Be memorable: Bestselling author Seth Godin is famous for his Purple Cow theory. If you see a black or white or brown cow, you’re likely not going to remember it. However, if you see a purple cow, you’re not only going to remember it, you’re going to tell people about it. What can you bring to an interview that will leave behind not only a resume, but an experience?
10) Be passionate: Be passionate if you’re passionate. If you’re not, don’t fake it, and reconsider why you’re applying for this position in the first place. A true passion will come through in your delivery, your body language, and your tone. If you want to serve this ministry using your gifts and if you think you’re truly the best fit for the job, let them know.