4 Ways To Balance The Tensions In Hiring
There is one conversation that I have in almost every consultation with a church or ministry looking to hire. It revolves around helping leaders and search teams understand this truth: You must balance the tension of essentials you need and traits you want in a new hire. Another way to think of it is “must have“ versus “like to have” qualities. The truth of any staff search process is that we all have values we desire in a potential new hire, yet no one single person often can meet all of our expectations.
I like to put it this way: let’s say you have ten top skills or qualities that you desire your new staff member to have. It’s important to realize that no one will likely be able to check off all the boxes. In order to have a successful hire and healthy expectations, it is imperative to remember the following points during your church staffing and interview process.
1. Name your values.
You’ve undoubtedly created a job description for your open role, so this may sound simplistic, but it bears repeating. One foundational step to making a great hire is knowing your staff values, then hiring someone who aligns with them. Are there underlying values that are not stated in your staff culture? Does your current staff know these core values, and if so are they ambassadors for them? If you haven’t created these before or need help in revitalizing your current values, check out this free resource.
Knowing these values is a key component to successful hiring. Can you clearly define how these values lead to success in this new role? One strategy for success is to make sure that the search team conducts interviews based upon these identifiable values and not the bias of “I like this person” or “this person is similar to me.”
2. Prioritize your needs.
Remember those ten check boxes of skills and qualities that are the most important to you and your team? What are your top five? Which are absolutely essential, and which are desired? Not all skills are equal. For example, if you are seeking a Senior Pastor for your church, teaching and communication ability might be a higher priority than strategic vision or administrative capacity. While those are all qualities we would desire in a Senior Pastor, some carry more weight than others.
3. Recognize the season your church & staff are in.
Take a step back and identify the season your organization is in. Are you in a high growth season, or has it been a time of recent change? Do you need someone with higher aptitude in strategic planning and vision casting, or maybe someone with more soft skills? Remember, one of the biggest costs to your organization can be hiring not just the wrong person but hiring the right person at the wrong time. Successful hiring managers and teams know how to maximize the season the organization is in for future growth.
4. Find the sweet spot.
Once you have been able to set the priorities and identify what skills and competencies are more important than others, you can then make a successful hire. Remember, you can always staff volunteers or shift other roles around any deficits that may exist on your staff. As churches get larger, this is common practice with Senior Pastor/Executive Pastor roles.
A recent Gallup survey showed that when a business’ leadership failed to focus on hiring for an individual's strengths, only 9% of employees were engaged compared to a 73% level of engagement when hiring focused on the strength of the employee. Ultimately, you want to hire people to work within their sweet spot for maximum effectiveness and Kingdom advancement.
What other best practices have you found for balancing the tensions of essentials vs. desires in hiring?