6 Ways To Hire For Adaptability On Your Church Staff

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According to LinkedIn’s eBook Guide to Screening Candidates: 30 Essential Behavioral Interview Questions To Ask, “69% of hiring managers say adaptability is the most important soft skill they screen for.” With the saturation of ever-changing technology, our world is changing faster than ever, and if your church and team get behind, it gets harder and harder to catch up. This is why hiring team members for your church staff who are adaptable is vital to the long-term health of your church.

So how can you hire for the soft skill of adaptability? Here are six practical ways. 

1. Put it in the job description.

Part of attracting the right candidates is having an excellent job description. If adaptability is a key value of your church staff, you need to talk about it in your job description. This way, some candidates will qualify themselves before they apply. This also enables you to see how carefully they’ve read the job description by how they refer to adaptability in the interview.

2. Take them to a company social outing.

When a candidate gets to the final round of interviewing with our team, we invite them to join us for a team event. This helps us to see how adaptable they are in a group of strangers. If you really want to test their adaptability, build the social outing into the interview. For example, have a thirty minute sit-down interview and then say something like, “The next part of our time together will be joining our team for lunch,” or, “Our team’s favorite coffee shop is down the street. Our team would love to take you there.” They key is inviting people who have not yet been in the interview so they can help assess culture fit outside of the formal interview.

3. Give them a project.

Spoiler alert! When we’re interviewing someone for our Vanderbloemen team, we require that they write a blog article as their interview process develops. We do this because every Vanderbloemen employee writes for our Vanderbloemen Church Leadership Blog. If someone doesn’t like doing projects outside of their job description, they won’t be a good fit for our team, and the blog writing project helps us assess their attitude toward a project they’ve never seen before.

Try giving your final candidates a project that might be a little outside of their job description but is really important to being a valuable part of your team. You can determine a lot about adaptability based on their attitude toward the project, their promptness, and the creativity they bring to it. 

4. Text them at a random time.

Adaptability and responsiveness go hand in hand, and both are two of our nine company values here at Vanderbloemen. To assess a candidate’s adaptability and responsiveness, the hiring manager will send a text after work hours during the interview process. We want to see how and when the person responds. It’s just one small way we help measure a candidate’s responsiveness throughout the interview process. 

5. Ask intentional questions.

When talking with a candidate, ask them questions like, “Tell me about a time you had to solve a problem you’d never seen before,” and, “Tell me about a time you had to implement a new system that was different than what had previously been done in the organization.” Candidates who are constantly pivoting and challenging their teams to innovate will have many stories of how they’ve adapted themselves and the organization to overcome a challenge.

6. Change the meeting location.

I don’t recommend this in the first or maybe even second interview because I don’t ever think it’s okay to disrespect a candidate’s time, but you might try changing the location of a meeting with them shortly before a meeting. Make it somewhere close by as to not disrupt their time by driving out of the way, but you can observe a lot by how a candidate responds to, “Looking forward to seeing you at 3pm! Instead of meeting at the church, can we meet at the Starbucks around the corner?” Again, I’m not suggesting you waste the candidate’s time, but if there’s an easy way to test their ability to move and pivot in short notice, you’ll be able to observe a lot about the candidate’s adaptability.

These are just a few ways you and your leadership team can help assess a candidate’s adaptability.

What tips do you have for interviewing for behavioral qualities like adaptability?

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