Criteria for Hiring

Early this week I was asked to answer this question: When hiring someone to join your staff, what are some criteria that you follow?   Do you have an outline?   Do you go by gut feeling? Do you rely on relationships?

In my 13+ years at Granger, I've been involved in the hiring of more than 75 staff. We have very low turn-over and I think it is because some core beliefs on how we hire. Here are four quick thoughts...

  • We Hire Insiders. We have 82 on staff, and 80 of them were hired from inside the church. Before hirint them, we were doing life with them. They were serving beside us in ministry. We saw their strengths and weaknesses and how they respond under pressure. I often get asked from leaders around the country, "Do you have any positions open at Granger?" My answer: "Move your family to Granger, get a job, jump into a volunteer role, and then we'll talk in two or three years."
  • Chemistry is Crucial. It is more important than skill or experience or education. You have to play well in the sandbox with others. You must have some basic interpersonal skills. I've worked with some people in the past who were highly skilled, had great experience, did their job well--but no one wanted to be around them. Chemistry is at the top of our criteria list. Of course, because we hire from the inside, we already know if we like being around them.
  • Education is Low on the List. I think a great college education gets you your first job. It also can help you learn a good work ethic and develop some patterns for becoming a life-long learner. Don't get me wrong, it's not a strike against you. It's just not very high on the list. We look at chemistry, experience and proven skills before we look at education.
  • We Call References. Even if we've been going to church with the guy for 20 years, we call references. It's amazing to me that pastors don't do this. In all my time at Granger, we've had five staff members hired away from us to another church. Not one of those pastors called to ask questions about the individuals' work ethic, attitude, strengths, weaknesses or loyalty. And three of the five made it at the new church less than two years before they were fired or left surrounded in a cloud of tension. Always call references.

For a highlight and summary of this question offered to great Christian leaders around the world visit SOPHOS.

Tim StevensComment