Candidate communications content

Clear, timely communication with candidates is essential to a well-conducted, hospitable search. Below are suggestions for what to include in each type of contact. In creating a communications plan, name the maximum length of time the search team wants to go between contacts with candidates and what kinds of communication would best be done by email, postal letter, and live voice. Note that as the number of candidates under consideration decreases, the customization of communications to each individual should increase.

Search team acknowledges receipt of ministerial profile/resume

  • Thanks for the candidate’s interest
  • Eagerness to read the candidate’s materials
  • Request for any missing or additional candidate information (if applicable)
  • Inclusion of and/or links to additional information about the church
  • Excitement about the search process
  • Next step in the search process and general timeline for contact about that step
  • Name, email, and phone number for search team point of contact in case the candidate has questions

Search team opts not to interview candidate

  • Thanks for the candidate’s interest
  • Regrets that the candidate has not been selected to continue in the search process
  • Brief explanation for opting not to interview the candidate (e.g., candidate’s strengths are not the best fit with this congregation’s needs in this season)
  • Brief affirmation of the candidate’s gifts and/or ministry (if feasible, based on size of applicant pool)
  • Well wishes for the candidate’s search and ministry

Search team invites candidate to phone/internet interview

  • Enthusiasm about the information included in the candidate’s profile/resume
  • Desire to explore further the possibility of mutual ministry
  • Inquiry whether candidate is still searching for a position
  • Date and time options for an interview
  • Length of interview
  • Platform for interview
  • General information about who will conduct the interview (e.g., the whole search team? a couple of representatives?)
  • Preparation the search team would like the candidate to undertake in advance of the interview
  • Inclusion of and/or links to additional information about the church
  • Name, email, and phone number for search team point of contact in case the candidate has questions

Search team opts not to continue conversation with candidate after phone/internet interviews

  • Thanks for the candidate’s interest and time spent interviewing
  • Gratitude for the opportunity to get to know the candidate
  • Regrets that the candidate has not been selected to continue in the search process
  • Brief explanation for opting not to continue conversation with the candidate (e.g., candidate’s strengths are not the best fit with this congregation’s needs in this season)
  • Specific, one-sentence affirmation of the candidate’s gifts and/or ministry
  • Well wishes for the candidate’s search and ministry

Search team invites candidate to an in-person interview

  • Enthusiasm about the exchange during the initial interview(s)
  • Desire to explore further the possibility of mutual ministry
  • Date and time options for an interview
  • Details about:
    • How travel/meals/lodging arrangements and costs will be handled
    • What the schedule will be
    • Whom the candidate will interact with
    • What dress is expected
    • Whether candidate's family (if applicable) is invited to attend
    • Whether childcare (if applicable) will be available if candidate brings child(ren)
  • Preparation the search team would like the candidate to undertake in advance of the interview
  • Name, email, and phone number for search team point of contact in case the candidate has questions

Search team opts not to continue conversation after in-person interview(s)

  • Thanks for the candidate’s interest and time spent interviewing
  • Gratitude for the opportunity to get to know the candidate
  • Regrets that the candidate has not been selected to continue
  • Brief explanation for opting not to continue conversation with the candidate (e.g., candidate’s strengths not the best fit with this congregation’s needs in this season)
  • Specific, two-sentence affirmation of the candidate’s gifts and/or ministry
  • Well wishes for the candidate’s search and ministry

Search team extends the call to a candidate (Note: Content for the formal letter of call/covenant is outlined elsewhere.)

  • Invitation to become the church’s [position title]
  • Excitement among the search team and congregation about the candidate and fit
  • Tentative effective date of call
  • Initial compensation offer (cash and benefits)
  • Initial offer to cover moving costs
  • Requested response date
  • Name, email, and phone number of the contact person for questions and negotiations

Search team notifies finalist that another candidate has been called

  • Thanks for the candidate’s interest and time spent interviewing
  • Gratefulness for the opportunity to get to know the candidate
  • Date when the call was extended to another candidate
  • Brief information about the minister who has accepted the call
  • Specific, two-sentence affirmation of the candidate’s gifts and/or ministry
  • Well wishes for the candidate’s search and ministry