One of the most important decisions a leader makes is adding to the payroll. In the church world, it’s often difficult to remove someone once they are added. (That’s somewhat of a pet peeve of mine after spending many of my years in business, but that’s another blog post.) Regardless of the industry, however, adding to a team is a critical decision, perhaps one of the most important a leader makes. New team members change the dynamics of a team, either positively or negatively.
Here are 7 tips I’ve learned by experience for hiring the best person:
Biblical qualifications – In a church position, especially a called position, this is first and foremost. I wonder, however, if there aren’t good Biblical standards for hiring even in the secular world…at least for the believer who is hiring, and not just the couple of passages we tend to use for elders. I realize this is cause for criticism, but it seems to me the “fruit of the spirit” is a good measure of character for anyone I’d place on my team, in the church or in business. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…would you hire someone with those qualities?
Know them – I have told my boys that in their generation, they will most likely never have a job where they didn’t know someone connected to the organization. The more you can know the person, the more likely you are to make a wise decision. This is one reason we often hire from within our church whenever possible. If it’s not possible to know the individual personally, try to know people who know the person. I’ve found there is usually someone connected to the person on our team, in our church, or in my social network. (If there’s no way to know the person, that doesn’t eliminate them, but it does generate a slower decision-making process.)
Investigate them – I don’t insist on background checks on everyone. I understand some do and I’m okay with that, but I do believe in asking questions of those who know the person. Knowing them personally helps eliminate some doubt, but if there are any unanswered questions in your mind, it is better to be awkward in the beginning than surprised in the end. (I’d be curious in the comments if your organization does background checks and, if so, what kind.)
Meet the spouse – I have always held a simple policy in business and ministry, especially for any position with authority. I won’t hire someone whom I wouldn’t also hire his or her spouse. Period. Most likely, whether you know it or not, you are hiring both anyway. Both spouses will certainly impact the organization either directly or indirectly.
Chemistry – The ability to get along with others and especially the team often trumps a pedigreed potential employee. We can make a team work with people who work well together and are sold out for the vision of the organization.
Talk them out of it – I get push back on this one when I share it, but I’m really not trying to be a bad guy here. I want to make sure someone knows all the negatives of me and our church before they agree to join our team, so before a person accepts a position, I tell them everything I can think of as why they shouldn’t accept the job. I did this in business and in the church world. If it makes you feel better, to date I’ve never had anyone decide not to join us. (That will be another blog post possibly when I have my first! ) I have had some good, honest conversations as a result of this tactic and feel people have come better prepared for what they would face once they joined our team.
Take risk – After I’ve done my homework, I hire the person my heart tells me to hire. Many times, it is a gut instinct. I often bring Cheryl along on interviews, and I heavily rely on her recommendation. She’s got a much better feel for people than I have sometimes. In business, and since we started Grace, I’ve taken some huge risks on people. I’ve been wrong a few times…a few too many times in business, but overall, we’ve created great teams, and I’ve even found a few superstars along the way.