Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Interviewing - practically speaking

Interviews are about so much, yesterday I looked at the groundwork questions about family, friends and hobbies, which get to whether you're a healthy person. Now we turn to some practical questions:

8) What would others say is your greatest strength in ministry? Weakness?
It may be that you don't get asked this question, you just get #3, your greatest struggle. But I think it's important to look at this from both perspectives, yours and other people. Because you could view yourself as highly competent in an area, but others view you as suspect. And they're going to want to know that. Heck, you need to know that. You need to recognize that how other people view you is as much reality as how you view your own strengths and weaknesses. In this way, you can show humility by sharing what others have seen as your strengths - but admit that you find yourself still growing in those areas. They'd LOVE to hear that.

9) How do you apply your degree to ministry?
This is a particularly pertinent question if your education doesn't exactly match your "profession" and ministry lends itself to that. I've seen people with varying BA's (and BS's too) go into ministry - finance, history, philosophy, psychology, biology. And sometimes you could be tempted to say "I was a different person, I didn't realize I was called to ministry" etc, but the truth is, what you learned in College & University has a huge impact on who you are and what you do, whether you recognize it or now. You are now an expert in a certain field, or at least more knowledgeable than most and simply "chucking it" isn't good. So, figure out how you apply what you know (or knew) to what you do, and articulate it.

10) Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
This question comes up 99% of the time and the other 1% were going to ask it but you answered it already in some other way. This question gets at a few things, first: If we hire you, can we expect that you'll be around for awhile, or are we going to have to do this next year? Second, it gives them a glimpse into how you view the big picture: Do you have a plan beyond next week/month? Do you have vision for these people, this context and this ministry? Third, it subtly asks, once again: are you healthy (and realistic)? If your 5 year plan doesn't include anything about yourself (growth, maturity, personal future) it might be a red flag. If your 5 year plan is ONLY about yourself, you can make it sound like this position is simply a stepping stone to something else. And (almost) no one wants to hear that when they're interviewing you for their position...

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?

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?)

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