The First Steps Matter
- Theological Alignment: How do your church’s open-handed and close-fisted theological issues line up with the candidates? On close-fisted issues, non-alignment needs to disqualify the candidate from your search, but you should also be exploring the open-handed issues to ensure that they will not cause a low-grade frustration between you and your new hire.
- Cultural Alignment: What type of church culture is the candidate coming out of and how does that compare to your church? An honest assessment of your culture will help ensure that you do not bring someone on the team that will chafe at the way you do things from day one.
- Personality: A hard-charging, type-A personality in a type-B church will not end well. Knowing how your church is wired and comparing that to the candidate will help you discern whether someone will be able to stay for the long-term.
- Skill Set: Has this candidate demonstrated the required skills of the position, or are they ready to step into a bigger role? Digging into a candidate’s skill set will keep you from setting someone up for failure.
- Chemistry: Is this someone that you will enjoy working with for the next five years? Would you feel comfortable inviting this person over to your house on a Tuesday night for BBQ? Determining the level of chemistry a candidate has with your team saves you from incredibly awkward work environments.
As we studied where things have gone wrong for churches in the past, we quickly realized that most churches focus on only two of the five components of a healthy fit: skill set and chemistry. Why? Because these are the things that are most clearly evident to a church’s search team. A detailed reading of a candidate’s resume can give you a high-level understanding of what they can do and where they have done it through the years. A search team can begin to understand whether there is a chance at team chemistry through a series of phone calls, video chats, and in-person visits. And while these two factors are important in determining whether someone will be a long-term fit at a church… they are not enough.
That is why we developed an assessment process that gives us an understanding of who a candidate is theologically and culturally, gives us a sense of their personality, and helps us understand whether they have the necessary skills to do the job that they were hired for. This process allows us to gather 125 points of data early on in the process, allowing us to gain crucial insight into whether someone is a potential fit for the churches we work with or not. Frankly, this process allows us to let as many as 90% of the people who submit a resume for a position know that they are not the right fit for the position that we are searching for (as a side note, when we let someone know that they are not the right fit, we also give them the opportunity to talk with one of our candidate coaches). By the time a candidate completes our assessment process, we have a reasonable idea as to whether they could be a good fit for the church, and whether they should be interviewed for the position.
If your church is preparing to make a hire, I’d love to spend some time learning about your church, your search and sharing more of what we have learned at Chemistry.