5 Steps To Hiring The Wrong Person


Your youth pastor just stepped down, the school year is around the corner, and you have no idea where to start looking for your next youth pastor. Your instinct is to panic and hire the first person that walks through the door wearing skinny jeans and Warby Parker glasses. Don't give into the following six common mistakes that will lead you down the path to hiring the wrong person.

You may be hiring the wrong person if:

1. You start the recruiting process too late. Many churches begin the recruiting and hiring process too late when they are already desperate for help. We encourage having a lean staff structure but having the foresight to hire a step ahead of when you are desperate for a new staff member. When you are desperate for help, you will be tempted to hire the first competent person that walks through the door and not the right person.

2. Your job description stinks. A detailed job description that casts vision for your ministry and the role will help you attract the talent for which you are looking. Be specific about the requirements of the role to help weed out the unqualified resumes.

3. You haven’t established the KRAs for the role. KRA stands for Key Result Area or Key Result Analysis. The job description describes the overarching role of the individual, whereas the KRAs describe specific benchmarks of success expected of the individual. Neither you nor the candidate will know what success looks like if you haven’t established general goals for the role.

4. Only one person from your staff interviews the candidate. Your church staff should be working as a team, and it is important that your team sees the potential new hire as a helpful addition. We typically spend more time with our coworkers than we do with our own families, so assessing the likability factor of a new hire is crucial to the interview process. Be sure the new hire is not only the right fit for you but for your entire team.

5. You don’t conduct effective reference and background checks. If you’re desperate to hire, and you have a great interview, it can be tempting to skip reference checks. Don’t give in. Reference checks are useful in providing a third-party perspective on specific characteristics of the interviewee. Ask specific yet open-ended questions to allow the reference the opportunity to offer as much information as possible. Gail Mayes, one of our Executive Search Consultants, runs background, criminal, and credit checks as part of the search process for our clients. She says, “Some churches feel like if they run background checks, they are acting in a distrustful way towards the candidate they intend to hire...but it's not true! Background checks are a way to get to know the candidate better, from different perspectives. At Vanderbloemen, we do 360 degree background checks, meaning we talk to individuals who have interacted with the candidate at all levels - supervisor, peer, and subordinate - so that we can know how to best lead and work with that individual. Former supervisors may have insights that will prove to be useful if you just ask!" Reference and background checks are intended to help minimize the risk of hiring the wrong person.

The most expensive hire you can make is hiring the wrong person. Don't be afraid to ask for help. The hiring process can feel daunting, especially when you aren't prepared. If you feel stuck in your hiring process, don't hesitate to reach out to us for help.

What are other mistakes you've seen churches make when hiring the wrong person?