Interview planning worksheet

It’s essential to come into candidate interviews with a solid plan. That ensures the search team and the candidates get the information they need and that both parties put their best feet forward.

In advance of the interview

  • Clearly communicate with candidate about interview day, time (taking time zone differences into account), and means.
  • Establish goals for the interview.
  • Outline questions that will contribute to meeting these goals and decide who will ask what.
  • Discuss what the search team is trying to accomplish with each question.
  • Consider whether the search team would ask this kind of question of every candidate. (If not, don’t ask it!)
  • Designate a facilitator who will guide the conversation and manage the time.
  • Practice interviewing. For example, invite a local minister to role play the interviewee and give feedback to the search team.
  • Ensure the search team knows how to work the equipment/software/app to be used (if applicable).

On the day of the interview

  • Choose an interview space conducive to comfort and confidentiality (even if using phone or internet for the interview).
  • Set up the space for hospitality.
  • Make sure the technology is working properly (if applicable).
  • Get centered individually and collectively.
  • Review the candidate’s materials.
  • Make sure each search team member has a copy and a good grasp of the interview plan.

In the interview

  • Warmly welcome the candidate.
  • Explain the interview format and goals to the candidate.
  • Start with the lowest-risk questions and move to more involved queries.
  • Leave ample time for the candidate to ask questions.
  • Provide as much information as possible on the next steps in process and a timetable for contact.

After the interview

  • Spend time individually recording thoughts immediately after the interview.
  • Discuss candidates as a group after all interviews for that round have been completed.
    • What excites us about each candidate?
    • What questions do we have about each candidate?
    • How does each candidate match the criteria we named for a minister who would lead us toward God’s vision for our church?
    • How does each candidate challenge us?
    • In what areas does each candidate have the necessary skills to lead our church, even if the candidate does not yet have the experience?
      • How essential is prior experience, and in what ways might our church be able to provide that experience?
    • What do our heads, hearts, and guts tell us about each candidate?
    • Considering all of these factors, with which candidates do we want to continue conversation?