Why High Capacity Candidates Bail After The Interview


It is frustrating when you’re impressed with a candidate, are ready to bring them in for an interview, and get an email that they are no longer interested in the position or have taken a job elsewhere. You thought the candidate felt called to this position and to your church. Why does this happen?

Here are a few patterns we’ve found that cause high capacity candidates to bail after an initial interview. 

1. The Church Moves Too Slow – When high capacity candidates are on the job search, they often have multiple opportunities in front of them at once and are being recruited in several different directions. The churches that move thoughtfully through the interview process have a much higher percentage of recruiting their preferred candidates.

Put yourself in the candidates’ shoes for a moment. You’ve just interviewed for two positions at separate churches that you feel could both be a great fit. You’re waiting to hear back from them about the next step. One church responds within a week with an enthusiastic email about how they’d like to bring you in for a second interview with the team. The other church is silent. The candidate assumes the second church is no longer interested and moves forward with the first church. The second church emails the candidate after three weeks, but by this time, the first church has already put an offer on the table.

It is to your benefit to move forward intentionally and quickly with high capacity candidates. Otherwise, someone else will, and you may miss your chance to have the person on the team.

2. Leadership Disagrees on Vision – High capacity candidates know that healthy churches have an executive team that is fully aligned on vision and mission and are looking to join a team who exemplifies vision alignment. It is unattractive when a candidate asks a vision question in an interview, only to hear the interviewers argue about what they think the vision is.

One of the primary aspects of a healthy church staff is having a clear vision. Be sure that your church has a defined vision before you even start adding to your team. Every member of your church staff should be able to recite the church’s vision and how their role fits into that vision. If they can’t, take a step back and reevaluate where your church is headed.

3. Signs of Micromanagement – High capacity candidates are studying you just as you are studying them. A sign of micromanagement in the interview process is a red flag for high capacity candidates. If the church is moving slow and micromanaging the interview process, than they are likely to do the same once you have the job. No one wants to work in that kind of environment.

4. Church Unwilling to Think Creatively About Finances – High capacity candidates are not typically desperate for a job and are looking for the right fit. Be creative about the financial package you’re offering candidates. High capacity candidates are typically looking for a place where their family can be well taken care of. Consider providing full benefits, a moving allowance, and even a childcare stipend. High capacity candidates are going to have providing for their family as their top priority. When you are recruiting them, do everything you can to alleviate that stress.

Ministry is a calling. However, a calling is not an excuse for a church to act entitled throughout the interview process and leave candidates in the lurch. As church leaders, it is our responsibility to respect a candidate's call to ministry and care for them throughout the interviewing process.

Don't let your church staff fall into the rut of these four habits. Be intentional about your hiring process, and you're bound to see an improvement in your recruiting efforts of high capacity candidates.

What other reasons have you found that high capacity candidates bail after the interview?