Thursday, September 11, 2008

Interviewing - first questions

A few weeks ago, a friend and former colleague contacted me, asking me to look over his resume and come up with some questions that he might get asked when interviewed. After looking it over, I came up with 16 questions that I would want to ask, had he been interviewing with me. A few weeks later, he contacted me to thank me and said every question I mentioned was asked in some form or another and no question was asked that wasn't on the list. While I'm sure it was a bit of hyperbole, I thought maybe those questions might be a good thing to reflect on. So, I did a bit of editing and paired those down to 12 questions and I'm going to take them one at a time over the next little while. Here's the first question:

1) Tell me about what you’re doing now – what do you enjoy & dislike? Why do you want/did you leave? (What have you been doing since you left?) What lead you there in the first place & how has that experience informed your view of ministry?

Your past, particularly your recent past is a huge issue when looking at something new. What this question is asking, partly, is whether you're a good fit. Are you going to stick around for awhile? Are you just looking for the next best offer? Are you the type of person who can fit into our structure? Are you a team player? And do your talents and passions mesh with what we're going to ask you to do - and are you smart enough to recognize that?

Those are the questions that are being answered when the above questions about your recent history are asked. Whether you're talking corporate America or the church, if you have a history of "fitting in" and recognizing that, than that bodes well for your next situation. No matter what, there is an established system/hierarchy, or shall we say - organic soil, that you need to plant yourself in. And if you can't fit in with it, can't mesh with it, then there's really no need to continue any further...

Here are the rest of the questions I'll tackle in turn:

2) How was the transition from volunteer to staff/minster?
3) What has been your greatest struggle in ministry so far?
4) Tell me about your faith journey? What are the 3 most significant moments in your walk with Christ? Who are the 3 most significant people who have shaped you & your understanding of your call to ministry?
5) Tell me about your family? Growing up?
6) Tell me about your support network? Friends?
7) What are your hobbies & interests? How do you keep balanced? What do you do when not involved in ministry? (What did you do when you worked at __________ - away from the church?)
8) What would others say is your greatest strength in ministry? Weakness?
9) How do you apply your degree to ministry?
10) Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
11) What about our church makes you want this position? Why would we want to hire you?
12) What is the single greatest issue/need in our culture today? What is the single greatest issue/need in the Church (overall) today?

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