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10. 2. 2023

Leadership| Staff Transitioning

That Time When I Didn't Get the Job (and Why it Was the Best Interview EVER)

| 2 min read

Written by Matt Steen
Dec 21, 2018 5:43:05 PM

A while back I took part in a what has become my most favorite pastoral job interview ever… and I didn’t get the job.  Yeah, you read that right.  The interview lasted all of thirty minutes when one of the two people conducting the interview looked at me and said: “I just don’t think that you are the best fit for this position.”  No one likes to hear that phrase, especially thirty minutes into the conversation, but as they explained a little bit about their rationale behind why they didn’t see me being a good fit it made total sense to me.

In fact, they made the right decision… for the right reasons… and they made it quickly.

What made this interview the best ever, and what can other churches learn from their example?  Three things come to mind:

Well-Articulated Philosophy of Ministry.  This church knew what it was about. They could clearly express who they were, what they were trying to do, and how they went about doing it within one ninety-second conversation. There was no ambiguity among their staff team about what drove them, which allowed them to clearly define the roles needed within their organization and hire accordingly. This also allowed them to know what each role needs in order to successfully operate within their organizational culture.

Clear Understanding of the Needed Skills.  A well-articulated philosophy of ministry allowed this church to know exactly what skills would be necessary… they even had a common language that allowed them to describe very clearly what they were looking for.  This church used the Prophet, Priest, and King framework for their leadership teams. This church needed someone with the priestly gifts for the position that they were hiring, I tend to fall more into the kingly gift set. Knowing what they needed prevented them from being frustrated with me, and me with them, six months into a bad hire.

Unwilling to Compromise.  I am good at what I do. My gifts, abilities, and wiring have allowed me to do some incredible things through the years, and have served a few churches quite well. I would be quite the hire for any church. What this church knew is that regardless of how talented I am, I was not the right fit for this position… and any attempt to force me into the position would result in less than optimal results at best, and all-out frustration and badness at worst. Far too many churches hire people simply because their resumes look good, or because they are talented. Churches that excel are able to say no to phenomenally talented candidates in order to go with the best fitting pastor.

What would you add to this list?

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