Tuesday, January 11, 1994

Steps Toward Hiring New Staff Members

There is a new position open on the church staff.  What happens next? 

1.  Review the job position itself.  If the church secretary leaves, it might be assumed that there is now a vacancy, so the task is to fill it.  Before making that assumption, take a look at the overall staffing.  Is this position necessary?  Should the position be changed so that there is no longer a church secretary, but a receptionist and a publications director? 

2.  Review the job description.  If there is physical activity, the job description should point that out.  If there is a skill requirement, include that as well.  For example, "Moves musical instruments into the Sanctuary for Sunday and stores them in appropriate places on Monday," or "Must be proficient in creating Power Point presentations."

3.  Be sure the church's local policies are followed including securing local council permission to fill the position.

4.  Advertize for the position.  Give a deadline by which all applications must be received.

5.  Each applicant should be asked to complete and submit the church's own application form.  Resumes are nice, but the application form is vital.  A resume can look great, but the application form prepared by the church will show the shortcomings in the requirements for the job.

6.  Each applicant should be asked to complete and submit a background check permission form. 

7.  Three to six top candidates should be selected for an interview.  Conduct background checks and reference checks for these finalists.

8.  Each interview should take place with two to five people.  For a secretary, a good interview might include only 2 individuals, but for a church organist a larger group will be needed to assess the audition.  The supervisor should be part of this process.

9.  The members of the interviewing committee should have a file, in which are contained the job description, the application, reference letters (or notes from a reference telephone call), background check permission and its findings, and any other materials the applicant may have provided.

10. Provide for an employment test.  We always audition musicians and ask prospective pastors to preach, but you can offer other employees opportunity to let you evaluate performance.  Let a prospective church educator interact with children.  Ask the prospective janitor to clean a rest room.

11. The decision is made. Who makes that decision is up to the local church.  Is it the Senior Pastor/Head of Staff?  Is it the pastor with the Personnel Committee?  Does the local council approve each new hire?

How old are you?
When did you graduate high school/college?
Are you receiving Social Security benefits yet?
Are you married?
Do you have any children, do you plan to have children?
Who takes care of your children while you work?
If the applicant appears pregnant, avoid all questions related to the pregnancy and to the child.
Are you Japanese or Korean?
Were you born in America?
Where do you live?  (Might become an issue of racial discrimination)
How long have you been confined to a wheelchair?
How many sick days did you use last year?
Do you have, or have you ever had any major health issue?
Have you ever been arrested?  (Let the background check tell you this)

Describe what you did in your last job.  What was a typical day like?
Why are you interested in this job?
What are the strengths you bring to this job?
What are your weaknesses?
What special skills do you have for this job?
After hearing about our position, what tasks do you think you would need to learn in order to meet the job's requirements

The notes should have the questions and a summary of the specific answers.  "Has never used a computer" is much better than "This interview is a waste of our time."  Avoid notes that are discriminatory, such as "Looks attractive, looks around 30 years old, looks Hispanic."


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