3 Questions Awesome Ministry Candidates Ask In Job Interviews


I came across an article last week by Kathy Rapp that featured three questions top candidates ask in job interviews. Kathy is the Senior Vice President at hrQ in Houston, TX. I enjoyed her article because she included thought provoking questions that align with the advice we give our clients who are in the interviewing phase of their search process.

Kathy gave me permission to share these questions with you and adapt them specifically for church staffing and church leadership teams. What I appreciate about these questions Kathy provides is that they exemplify strategic thinking and challenge us as church leaders to prepare thoughtful answers.

Here are three questions you can expect awesome candidates to ask in an interview to which you should be prepared to answer.

1. “Why should I leave a job I love to come here?“

There are two types of candidates – active and passive. Active candidates are actively looking for a job. Perhaps they are unemployed or discontent in their current job and are proactively searching for a better fit.

Contrastingly, passive candidates are typically content where they are and not looking to make a career move. These are the candidates that require you to put on your recruiter’s hat if you really want them to join your team.

The question Kathy provides here is one that impressive passive candidates are going to ask. If they are content where they are and seeing God move in their current ministry, they are asking you for a convincing reason to consider a move. Are you prepared to offer a compelling answer? What is God doing in your ministry that this candidate should want to be a part of? What unique skills do you see in this candidate that they can bring to your team?

I suggest you anticipate this question by talking it through with your church leadership team before you interview a high capacity passive candidate. If you don’t have a compelling answer, you most likely won’t be able to have a second interview with this candidate.

2. “What would my priorities be for the first six to twelve months?”

Here at Vanderbloemen, this question is part of the consulting phase of our search process. We ask our clients this question on the front end because we believe that successful hires come from knowing what long-term success looks like for both the candidate and the ministry they are joining. Top candidates are focused and want to know what is expected of them. Be sure that the church leadership team establishes the priorities of the role before you begin the hiring process so that everyone is on the same page when interviewing.

3. “What do you tell your mom/spouse/best friend about why you love working here, and what happened on your worst day here?”

Top candidates realize that a job is beyond a to-do list, especially in ministry. Ministry is a lifestyle. Most of us spend more time at work or with our coworkers than we do with our own families. Awesome candidates want to work on a team comprised of team members that actually enjoy spending time with each other and are bonded by an overarching vision. Smart candidates also know that no workplace is perfect, and they are looking for honest answers from the interviewer. Encourage your team members to think through their answer to this question before a candidate comes into interview. It’s also a helpful team building exercise, so you may encourage your staff to share their answers in a staff meeting.

I hope these questions inspire you to think more deeply about your church staff culture, leadership team, and recruiting high capacity candidates. 

What other questions would you add to this list that awesome candidates ask you in interviews?

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