We hire people we like, and that's about it. When it comes to picking your staff, or even building a team of volunteers, how do you decide who's in and who's out? For most, if they connect with the applicant, there is a good chance they'll want to offer them the position.
I once read that when interviewing for a job, if you can get the interviewer to laugh within the first few minutes of the interview, your chances of being hired increase significantly. Makes sense. Now all those people who have poked fun at the pictures in my office, or commented on different trinkets on the shelves make total sense. They are looking for connection.
For years I sat down with people interviewing for full-time positions with our organization. I went through a series of pre-arranged questions. If that interview went well, I would probably set up some follow-up interviews and maybe a meal or two to get to know the person better.
Point being, I lacked a plan. How could I get to know someone well enough to know if they would be a good addition for our ministry? Today, I focus on 4 main areas. From there, I can dig deeper as need be.
Those areas are:
1. Character - In this area, I really want to get to know their "core." Are they a Christian? What does their relationship with Christ look like? (For those interviewing for businesses, you can't get deep into beliefs, but you can still get to know their character.) I'd want to hear about some tough decisions the applicant has made that were directly a result of their character.
2. Competence - This area has everything to do with the job for which they are interviewing. What skills have they acquired that would help them be effective in a similar role now? Find out if they consistently over-perform. What type of education, work experience, and general training have they received. Again, this is an important area to get to know, but it isn't the only one.
3. Chemistry - Do they get along well with me and my team? Personally, I like to get them playing some sort of sport with us outside. It seems this is where true colors come out anyway. It is somewhat of a joke with our ministry that I normally play flag football or basketball with anyone interviewing for a higher level position within our ministry. I also like pulling in 4 or 5 other staff to spend some time with the applicant. I'm interested to hear if they get along well with them.
4. Capacity - As you think about where they are, and where your organization is going, do you see them being able to make it into the future? Will you be hiring someone who is tapped out at the level they will be coming in to the organization? I really like hiring someone who might be overwhelmed at first, but will learn quickly and then have more room for growth.
If I remember correctly, I adopted the first 3 C's in this list from Bill Hybels. After interviewing many people, I added the fourth C. These helped create a framework when sitting down to get to know someone. From this framework, you can adapt as necessary as you get to know someone.
When it comes to hiring staff or volunteers, have you found some good resources that help in the process?
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About Kevin East
Kevin East is the Executive Director of Family Matters. He and his wife Stephanie have five unbelievable kids, two of which they most recently adopted. If Kevin isn't busy with work or family, you'll probably find him in the woods near his house with a power tool. He writes at his blog, "Following to Lead". Connect with him on Twitter at @kevinteast.
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