4 Assumptions That Are Preventing You From Making The Right Hire


All too often here at the Vanderbloemen Search Group, we run into churches that understand logically that a resume only tells a small portion of the person it represents, but when evaluation time comes, sometimes that logical knowledge flies out the window and the screening process becomes only about what we see on the page.

Make no mistake, the resume is an important tool, but it is a low horsepower one. I have talked about the components that make up a good resume in a previous post called 3 Questions To Building An Effective Ministry Resume, but if you are in the position where you are reading resumes as an employer, here are four situations where we see churches make poor assumptions based on only what they read on a resume.

1. “This resume is visually impressive, so this candidate must be qualified.”

A good-looking resume doesn’t necessarily produce a good candidate, and a visually unimpressive one doesn’t equal a bad candidate. This is easier to remember on the first couple of resumes that you read, but when you get to resume 100, it’s amazing how convenient it is to focus on what is appealing to tired eyes.

Don’t get me wrong, the ability to string together a professional story in a cohesive and visually attractive way is important, but everything that glitters is not gold. Focus on the information that is beingcommunicated. Do you see a track record of growth? What kinds of examples are provided that give clues to the person’s capacity? If you can find enough information to formulate good questions, then you probably have a candidate that needs a phone call.

2. “This resume is perfect! We don’t need to look at anyone else.”

Resumes are good for showing capacity but terrible at communicating whether a candidate is going to “fit” with your staff. We often see hiring teams get excited because of impressive names, places, or education, and then immediately determine that the person is the right hire for their church.

Great experience and education are desirable, but the only way to really determine fit is by spending time with the candidate. One of the key services that we offer clients at the Vanderbloemen Search Group is that we spend extensive time and energy on determining whether a candidate will fit with your staff culture. The mixture of capacity and fit is essential, and we want your hire to be someone who celebrates ministering on your team, not just tolerates it.

3. “The candidate is currently unemployed, so that can’t be good.”

Unemployment is difficult to judge, especially from a piece of paper. The stigma is that if a candidate is not currently employed, then they probably aren’t employable. More often than not, it seems like the safest thing to do is to dismiss the person’s candidacy, but this can be a big misstep for your church staff. As our country has walked through the Great Recession and the Slow Recovery, we often find highly qualified candidates who are unemployed for no other reason than the financial hardship of the church. Digging into the candidate’s story can reveal a great candidate that would have otherwise been passed over.

4. “The candidate seems to have moved around a lot.”

If the candidate hasn’t stuck around where they have been, why should we think they will stay here? This is a good question to ask but not a good assumption to make, especially when evaluating younger candidates’ resumes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5 out of every 10 people in their 20’s have been with their employer one year or less, and the average American spends less than 5 years working for the same employer. The bottom line is that moving around quite a bit shouldn’t necessarily be a deal breaker until the rest of the story is known. A phone call can shed much needed light on a candidates' transitions and whether they have matured because of them.

Finding the right candidate for your team is a difficult task, and that is why the Vanderbloemen Search Group exists. We consider it our job and our ministry to the church to help connect the right person to the right ministry. How can we help you?

What are some ways that you see church staff hiring teams make snap judgments on resumes?