Essential tasks

  • Designing interview goals, format, and questions. A solid interview plan allows the search team to deepen trust with candidates and glean the most relevant interview responses.
  • Narrowing the pool of candidates. The search team must choose which candidates to pursue further so that both parties can be increasingly frank about what a partnership might look like.
  • Communicating with candidates at the close of or soon after interviews about their status and next steps. Telling candidates where they stand allows them to make informed choices about this and other search opportunities.
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Reflection questions

  • How can we create means of knowing and being known by the candidates?
  • When interacting with candidates, how do we distinguish between charisma and competence?
  • What questions from candidates should we anticipate?
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Best practices

  • Stepping into the candidates’ shoes as you plan for interviews, taking into account such considerations as time zone differences and the candidates’ need for space to ask their own questions
  • Allowing enough time between interviews and not scheduling too many conversations for the same day so that all candidates get the search team’s full attention
  • Doing a technology trial run before the first interview
  • Telling congregational narratives and eliciting relevant candidate stories
  • Making individual notes after each interview so that key insights and impressions aren’t forgotten
  • Reserving judgment on candidates until all interviews for that round have been completed
  • Scheduling additional rounds of phone and/or internet interviews as needed
  • Defining the silences for candidates in between contacts
  • Naming and exploring all reservations about each candidate
  • Personalizing correspondence with interviewees that won’t be continuing in the process
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From the candidate's perspective

  • Excitement about the opportunity to explore the possibility of ministry in your context, may already be researching housing, schools (if applicable), and professional opportunities for significant other (if applicable).
  • Disappointment if the interview questions focus on areas that do not directly relate to past and potential performance in ministry.
  • Confusion if the candidate senses that the search team is not being up front about the congregation’s gifts and challenges.
  • Anxiety (which could quickly turn into frustration) if the process and timeline beyond the interview are unclear.
  • Discouragement (which could turn into questioning call to ministry) if there is radio silence after interview.
  • Deepening sense of betraying current ministry context as the process progresses.
  • Uncertainty if the candidate is in a later stage of the search with another church. (Stay in that process? End it for what might unfold with your congregation?)
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Are we ready for the next stage?

  • The search team has conducted as many rounds of phone and/or internet interviews as needed to name which candidate(s) it wants to invite for in-person interview(s).
  • The search team has communicated with all other candidates to release them from the process.
  • The search team has updated the congregation on the search’s progress.

Go to next stage