4 Simple Steps To An Effective Face-to-Face Ministry Interview


A candidate’s face-to-face visit to your church is one of the most important parts of the search process.  A church’s preparedness for the candidate’s visit can either make or break the search’s momentum. 

Some churches fail to realize that the candidate is evaluating the church as much as the church is evaluating the candidate during the face-to-face interview.

Good candidates are asking themselves, “Do I see my family fitting in here? Do I like the way the staff is interacting with each other? Do I feel warm and welcome by the church community?”

Before you bring in your next potential hire for your church staff, think through the following action steps to ensure you are being intentional about creating a positive experience for your potential new team members.

Call a staff meeting and let your team know what’s happening.

Set staff expectations ahead of time by informing your church staff of who the person is, when they will be in the office, and encourage them to warmly welcome the candidate if they see him or her on campus during their visit.

This information needs to come from the hiring decision maker, and that person needs to make it clear where the candidate is in the hiring process. This is especially important for committee driven searches when it can be confusing as to who is actually making the hire. The hiring decision maker should be up front about what type of feedback they would like about the candidate, when they would like the feedback, and how they would like it given. The last thing you want is for staff or church members to spread gossip or rumors that could damper the process. Set expectations upfront.

Create a detailed schedule for the candidate’s visit.

Email the schedule to the candidate and anyone included in the visit beforehand so they know what to expect.

Depending on how long and involved the visit is, you may consider including information on the type of dress the candidate should wear. Are there times in the schedule where they need to be in a suit or are jeans suitable? It’s always uncomfortable to be overdressed or underdressed, especially in an interview scenario.

Plan a guided tour of your church’s community.

Depending on where the candidate is in the hiring process, you may consider providing the candidate with a rental car so that he or she can drive around the area and explore the neighborhood. This is especially important for candidates who may be moving from out of town.

Whether you have a staff member give the candidate a tour or provide him or her with a rental car to explore on their own, recommend specific neighborhoods the candidate should explore. Give them a vision for what it would be like to move there. Encourage them to take pictures to take home to their spouse to help their husband or wife get a vision for what the surrounding area is like. 

Send a gift to the spouse during the candidate’s visit.

One of the most challenging parts of the search process for candidates is communicating their vision and excitement about the role to their spouse if the spouse has not yet visited the church. If the candidate is married, remember that you are recruiting both the candidate and their spouse because they will be making the decision together.

When our clients send the spouse of the candidate flowers, chocolates, or a thoughtful gift from the area, we always receive immediate positive feedback from the candidate about how much they appreciated it.

Wherever you are in the search process, be intentional about caring for the emotions of your candidate and their spouse. Realize that regardless of whether they have one interview with you or five, they are investing their time, energy, and emotions in considering if God is calling them to your church.

How has your church been intentional about hosting candidates for the face-to-face interview? Share your ideas here.

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