Over the past fifteen months, I have interviewed (or been presented via Slingshot Group) around 50 candidates for 5 openings on our team. This doesn’t count candidates that expressed interest to Slingshot but didn’t make it through to the presentation stage, or candidates that applied but did not meet the minimum requirements for the role.
Some of these candidates made it a ways through the interview process, some of the candidates got offers and are on our team, some of the candidates got offers and felt called elsewhere, but all of these candidates were considered for interviewing and, as a result, had their resumes and profiles inspected.
In the dozens upon dozens upon dozens of hours of interviewing, vetting, evaluating, and praying through who would be on our team, there are a few things that stood out as huge takeaways for anyone applying for a role (in my context, for vocational ministry).
1. SOCIAL MEDIA MATTERS.
It may not feel fair, it may not feel right, but it is true. Anyone who is serious about spending their time interviewing you to join their staff is going to look at your social media presence.
I LOVE when candidates include a direct link in their .pdf resume to their social media. It helps me feel at ease that they aren’t hiding anything.
But companies, committees, and interviewers are going to look at your profile. They’re going to see your posts. They’re going to read your captions. They’re going to see the types of things you post and repost and make a value judgment that will shape their view of you for the rest of your interview process. Make your online presence help you.
For better or worse, your social media presence and your profile picture is going to largely shape your first impression with that church.
If you’re not an eagle or a dragon, your profile picture shouldn’t be, either.
2. BE HONEST
Interviews are not a trap. If I am asking about something you don’t like, or about a skill you don’t feel particularly good at, I need an honest answer.
Sometimes, I’m asking the question to help frame my approach to another question down the road. Your answer to the question may have no bearing on your fit for the job, it just impacts which questions come next.
Sometimes, I’m asking the question because it’s a deal breaker and I need you to be good at something or passionate about something. I would MUCH rather an honest answer that doesn’t go the way I want it to in an interview than a lie that leads to mistrust down the line.
3. ASK. QUESTIONS.
It is such a cliche to include this as advice, but it’s cliche for a reason…because people don’t do it.
Now, don’t ask questions that are easily answered by quickly scanning their website, but come ready to ask questions. In my context, hiring additions to a pastoral team, I need candidates to ask important questions related to faith perspective and ministry philosophy. Ask questions about their parent culture, ask questions about priorities in tasks vs. relationships, ask about staff culture, ask about theological sticking points or deal breakers, ask anything.
In fact, asking questions is so important, I synthesized 6 of my favorite ones for a seperate post.
That being said, I know I’m not the only one hiring leaders and vetting candidates, so what key learnings need to be added to an expanded version of this list?
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Austin Walker is a husband, dad, pastor, and college football fanatic who leads a multisite student ministry team in Central Arkansas. He writes about leadership, productivity, team building, coaching, and theology.
If you want to find out more about Austin, listen to sermons, contact him about speaking, or inquire about coaching opportunities, visit www.austinjwalker.com
To see more about his life, follow him on instagram at www.instagram.com/austinjwalker