5 Intangibles To Look For In Ministry Interviews
By: Vanderbloemen June 21, 2012
Your ministry resume is letter-perfect, your experience is extensive, and your credentials are impressive. So why didn’t you get the ministry job?
Although you may be an expert in your field, you’re probably not an expert in interview skills. But you won’t cinch the interview just by having the right education or experience.
In this market, several intangible factors can win—or lose—you the job.
You’ve read Blink, right? It may seem unfair, but interviewers are like the rest of us—they make decisions based on first impressions.
To influence the impression you make, consider all the externals your prospective boss will notice first: your voice, body language, eye contact, and demeanor. Speak clearly and confidently, but not too fast. Sit up and stand up straight with shoulders back. Avoid crossing your arms (it signals impatience or dissatisfaction), playing with your hair, or nervously tapping your fingers on the table.
You made it to the interview because you have something to offer—look the other leader in the eye, smile, and prepare for a great conversation.
Ministry is inherently collaborative, so your future colleagues want to know you’ll work well together and enjoy the process. Do your homework on their culture before the interview and respond appropriately—are they casual and fun-loving, or more serious and buttoned-up? If you think it’s the place for you, use the interview to develop chemistry with the team and show how easily you’ll fit in.
Ministry also means everyone pitches in to get the job done. This may mean a willingness to do occasional “grunt work” without complaining, but it also means your interviewer is considering the scope of your skills. Do you have the potential for more responsibility? What church leadership ability do you have, and how can it grow? Make sure you talk about a variety of experiences in which you’ve played a role, and listen well as they talk about their needs and future plans.
Motivation and enthusiasm
Don’t go too far—no one gets excited about church staff meetings or paperwork. But you want this job for a reason, right? Let them know. Communicate an eagerness to get started, talk about the aspects of the ministry job you find most interesting, and perhaps even share something of your vision of the future with you in the role.
Ministry is hard enough without a sense of shared mission. Don’t leave your interviewers with any doubts about your enthusiasm for the organization, its people, or its potential.
In today’s rapidly-changing work environment, the ministry job you’re hired for may not be exactly what you’re doing next year—or next week. The ministry you’re interested in is looking at your current skills, but they’re also evaluating your adaptability to change. How quickly do you learn new things? When have you successfully changed a program or a team, and what were the results? When the entrepreneurial senior leader charts a new course, will you be able to keep up?
You need the know-how of your discipline just to get in the door. In addition to that specific knowledge, employers are looking for the ability to think critically, see the big picture, and do what it takes to accomplish the goal.
Each organization will value these five intangibles differently, but all five matter—and they can be the difference between leaving disappointed and leaving with an offer.