3 Lessons New Home Sales Can Teach Us About Search


In my first life, before my time with VSG, I worked in the new homes sales industry for almost six years. I sold plots of land and home plans. During the construction, I would help my clients pick out all of the fun stuff inside of the home.

Since I've joined the Vanderbloemen team, it has recently struck me how similar the new home sales process is to the search process. My time in the industry taught me so much. Here are three ways those lessons can be transferred to the executive search process:

1) Emotional Pit of Despair

Anyone who has ever bought or built a home will tell you that it is one of the most emotional processes they’ve ever gone through. The same can be said for your church when searching for a new team member.

“Are we making the right decision!?”

“Can we spend this much money!?”

“I love it! No wait, I hate it!”

“Let’s just stick with what we have…”

No matter how you slice it, there are emotions in the mix. Your search process will often feel like an emotional roller coaster. Those emotions can serve as a bit of a guide, but you’re in trouble when they start running the search. It is essential to pull back and look at the big picture. If we are driven by our emotions, we can loose sight of logic.

2) Death by Details

There are countless details involved in the home buying process. Some of these details are important and some are negotiable.

Important Detail: The location of your home in relation to school, work, and low crime rates.

Negotiable Detail: The color of the walls. Those can always be changed.

The same can be said when doing a search.

Important Details: Does the candidate have the necessary experience needed to perform this role? Is the candidate able to connect and gel with your team? Does the candidate line up with the mission and vision of your church? Are they excited about the opportunity?

Negotiable Details: Poor audio quality on a candidate’s teaching sample. They don’t have the right “look.” Or their personality test results aren't the exact match of what you thought you needed.

Let’s be honest. Everyone wants to hire Jesus (the Jesus with a great wife, 2.5 kids, and cool jeans), but that’s not an option. No one is perfect, so let’s focus on the big picture details and be flexible on the small ones.

3) Financial woes and Penny Pinching

First time homebuyers always had the hardest time with this one. I’d watch them fall in love with a style of granite that is $2,000 over their budget, and forego it for a cheap (and ugly) one to save money. That $2,000 would have only been the difference of $14 a month in their mortgage payment; that’s not a lot of money for something you see and use everyday.  

We have had countless churches pass on a great candidate because of a gap in pay scale less than or equal to $10K. Ten thousand dollars is not just change you can scrounge up in the couch cushions, but remember the investment you are making. This person will become an important constant in the life of the church. This is someone you will interact with daily, your family will interact with often, and your church body will rely on constantly.

In order to avoid some of the hurdles we see everyday in this search process, it is essential for search teams to maintain emotional health, focus on the important details, and remain open minded in regards to the negotiable details.