Thursday, September 19, 2013

Your First Interview

Over the last couple months our church has been in the process of hiring for a few roles.  With this I've read through hundreds of resumes, had a good number of phone interviews and even had some Skype convo's with people.  So far in this series of posts I've blogged about: (1) How to write your resume and (2) How to submit your resume.

Let's assume you've written amazing resume, that's no more than 2 pages, and after following the directions to submit your resume you caught the attention of your future employer.  Now lets talk about the next major step in the interview process; you're first interview.  Up till now, let's assume, you've never spoken with the person who's hiring for this role you're super interested in.  Here are four pointers to ruining your first interview and a solid way to never get a call back on the position you're so excited about:

1. Talk Bad about your Church
Your first phone/Skype interview is your chance to shine; think of it as a first date.  At one point in the conversation you will most likely be asked: "So why do you want to leave ...."

Here are two potential responses you can give:
"Well, my senior pastor is completely incompetent.  He doesn't know what he's doing and is killing the church.  We've decreased our attendance by 40% and there's no hope of it stopping.  Our Elders don't know what to do, the ministry is in shambles and I just want out."

Or you could say this:
"I'm a point in my life where God has been stirring in me to look for another place to lead.  I think I've learned the lessons I'm going to learn here and its time to move onto my next adventure in ministry.  Through prayer my wife and I really trust God has another place for us to minister."

Who would you rather hire?

2. Detail the Dysfunction 
When I was applying for a new role there were a few times I explained some of the dysfunction in too much detail.  My wife, graciously, helped me see this and we began using the line: "less is more".  A sure fire way to scare off the hiring team is to detail out all the dysfunction of your current church.  Pastors know ministry is messy, but you don't have to talk about how your friends are starting to leave the church because of the poor leadership you're under. You don't have to share how the new lead pastor has systematically fired everyone on the staff and you're the last man standing.

3. Just Keep Talking
Some of my favorite conversations in life are when I get to say nothing!  If you want to seal the deal of never getting a second interview just keep on talking.  When asked a question, make sure to talk as long as you possibly can.  When the interviewer tries to sneak a comment in there act like you didn't see them move their lips or hear anything from their mouth.  Make sure to talk too much!

4. Question the Leadership
Most likely before you get the initial call you will have been asked to, or you're smart enough to, research the church on the internet.  You may have looked at the staff, read about the different ministries, done some stalking on Facebook or read the church's position papers.  If you want to put the final nail in the coffin make sure to start off the conversation by questioning the leadership of the church or provide a critique on what their currently doing.  This is a great way to make friends and start the conversation off on the right foot.

Obviously these four pointers are completely outlandish, but unfortunately people are having conversations like this right now applying for a role.  What would you add to the list to help you completely miss out on your dream job?

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