One of the top leadership tasks is to hire well. Every hire impacts the entire organization in a ripple fashion. Hire well and the organization becomes healthier and more effective. Hire poorly and the organization suffers. I am a fan of the concept, "hire slow, fire fast." Being slow on the hire allows you to avoid a lot of pain later.
Never negotiate the critical issues
Especially when hiring, it is a temptation to overlook character issues that may be present but are overshadowed by our view of a person's competency and what they might bring to our team. This is a fatal mistake for a leader in any organization, but especially in Christian ministry where the character of our staff goes to the heart of our credibility. If there is any question on the character issue, walk away!
There are others who have great Christian character but don't have the right competencies or EQ. I am always amazed when someone who does not have the competencies or EQ is recommended for a position with the statement, "Well, they are really nice Christians and they want to work for a Christian organization."
Be clear on the Key Result Areas for the job as well as the competencies needed to fulfill the job
Job descriptions are not enough when you are looking to hire. Job descriptions describe the activities that the position entails. What you really need to focus on are the results you need to see for the activities. For all positions there ought to be three to five clearly defined results that, if fulfilled will spell success (Key Result Areas).
Once you know the results that spell success for the position you can determine the core competencies that you need for the individual to be successful. The core competencies are the non-negotiable skills that an individual must possess to successfully fulfill the Key Result Areas. Many things are negotiable in the hiring process and will be determined by the wiring and gifting of the individual. What are not negotiable are the core competencies since without these, there is no chance for the prospective hire to be successful.
Understand the principle: pay now or pay more later
The longer I lead and the more people I hire, the more convinced I am of the wisdom of thorough testing before hiring (I've paid plenty of dumb tax for not doing it enough). The reason we don't do more testing and due diligence is that it costs money or we are in such a hurry to hire, or we choose to be optimistic and hope for the best.
Here is the reality. You either pay now and spend the time and money to ensure the competence of your potential hire, or you pay dearly later when you have to endure the pain of letting someone go - often after enduring months or years of performance issues.
If they will be playing at a senior level in the organization (including churches) it pays to put individuals through the same executive testing that any good secular organization would use. This will help measure capacity, leadership skills, conflict resolution skills and EQ. Untold pain and frustration would be avoided if we would take the long-term view and spend what we need to spend before we hire to ensure the best fit.
Never make a hiring decision by yourself
Ask those who know you best and who have good discernment to interview those you are thinking of hiring. Do multiple interviews and listen to the gut reaction of those you bring into the process. Include interviewers that are both male and female to see how both react. Be wary of hiring if others you trust express cautions. They are probably seeing something you don't see (or don't want to see).
Make the 'need to know' list
When you are adding someone to your team make two lists: what you need to know about the candidate and what they need to know about you. You need to know their wiring, background, competency, character, culture fit, work style, level they can play at, passions, values and whatever else is important to you.
They need to understand your leadership style, how you do team, expectations that you and the organization have, values, mission, preferred future of the organization, the culture of your ministry, what they can or cannot expect from you as the leader and other significant issues that define who you are as an organization. Be brutally transparent so that they know the upside and downside of your organization. If your honesty scares them away, they are the wrong hire.
Have potential hires interview those who know you best
Have the candidate meet with and interview several people you currently lead who know you well so that they understand how you are wired, how you lead and what they can expect from your. Often those around us can give a better explanation of who we are and how we lead than we can ourselves.
Questions to ask yourself in the process
-Does this person have high EQ?
-Can this person play at the level that other members of this team play at?
-Does this individual have a skill that will complement the team?
-Is this person a team player?
-Will they contribute to the whole rather than simply guard their turf?
-Do they fully embrace the mission and values of the organization?
-Do the other members of the team think they will fit well?
-Do they have the expertise needed for the ministry in which they will participate?
-Do they understand the implications of joining your team and what the expectations are for them as a team member?
-What level of leadership and management support will they need from you?
-If they will lead others, does their leadership style fit the leadership culture of the organization?