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Hiring and Firing Staff: You Need This Field Guide

Firing a staff person is a miserable experience for everyone involved.

We are called to extend grace, we are commanded to forgive and we are duty-bound to love others as we love ourselves. As such, firing a staff person should not be easy.

It should be thought through carefully, but when the decision is made, rip the band-aid off fast. It is bad leadership and bad stewardship to keep paying staff members who are doing damage to the church by doing their jobs ineffectively.

Never take the decision to fire someone lightly, but once the decision is made, don’t put it off.

Never ask hypothetical questions.

A friend I used to work for said, “The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior.” That really stuck with me.

If you ask a candidate, “What would you do if … ” they will give you the answer they think you want to hear.

But if you ask, “What did you do when … ” they have to tell a real world example.

Here are some examples of interview questions that reveal a candidate’s behavioral patterns.

  • What are your current spiritual growth habits?
  • What is the biggest personal challenge you’ve ever faced?
  • When did you have to juggle too many projects at once? What was that like and what did you do?
  • Tell me about a time when you failed, and how did you overcome that failure?

Applying these three tips may not make you an HR expert, but they will help you make better hiring and firing decisions. 

What tips would you add to the list?  

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Alan Danielson is the Lead Pastor of a church that’s probably a lot like yours. New Life Bible Church is a church of a few hundred people, but not long ago he was on the executive staff of Life.Church in Edmond, OK. Now, along with pastoring New Life, Alan is a consultant and has worked with many of America’s largest churches. Despite this, Alan has a passion for the small church. That’s why he lives by the personal conviction that no church is too small for him to work with. Alan founded Triple-Threat Solutions to help leaders of and churches of all sizes grow. Learn more from Alan at http://www.3Threat.net.