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As staff recruiting in the ministry world continues to evolve and become more competitive and sophisticated, churches and recruiting firms have developed a keen sense of red flags during the recruiting process that help indicate whether a candidate is a good fit for your church or not. Those red flags may be a bit different from church to church, but there are many red flags that are fairly consistent across the board.

Now, a red flag doesn’t necessarily mean that a church should stop recruiting a candidate, even though that’s very possible. Generally, a red flag is a cause for concern and gives reason to hit the brakes on the speed of the staff recruiting process and dig deeper with the candidate.

After being on both sides of recruiting, both being recruited and recruiting a number of hires, here are some of the biggest church staff recruiting red flags:

1. Candidates that are overly concerned with the opportunity to teach.

If teaching is really important to the candidate and you’re not recruiting them for a teaching role, don’t hire them. Let them go plant or pastor their own church.

2. Candidates that are indecisive.

If they need to go date other churches, you should let them. Just don’t marry them.

3. Candidates that speak negatively of their current church.

If they talk bad about their current church, they may have a difficult time taking personal ownership and, as a result, have a low E.Q. And by the way, if they talk bad about others, they’ll probably talk bad about you. Gossip lowers morale and can lead to high turnover.

4. Candidates that don’t ask good questions.

If they don’t ask thoughtful questions during the recruiting process, they’re likely not a very critical or strategic thinker. They might have a hard time moving the ministry forward at your church. It is therefore imperative that you hire a person with good communication skills who can provide clarity to fellow staff members and the teams they lead.

5. Candidates that treat people they have nothing to gain from poorly.

If they only treat people with perceived power and influence well (those they think they can gain something from) and overlook others (or even worse, treat them poorly), they have a serious character defect that will hurt your team.

6. Candidates that are too eager.

If they are too eager to jump ship and join your team, then they’re probably running from something or chasing something else. Either way, they’ll have a hard time leading in the here and now if they join your team.

7. Candidates with an overbearing spouse.

I know you’re not hiring their spouse, you’re hiring them. But, sharp people typically marry sharp people. If their spouse is overbearing, you’re probably going to want to pass.

8. Candidates that change jobs too often.

If they have a track record of changing jobs every few years, chances are they’ll leave you soon, too.

Staff recruiting isn’t always easy, but avoiding these red flags can help.

Is it time to restructure?

One of the most common lids to growth in a church is staff structure.

You’re perfectly structured to get the results you’re getting today. If you don’t like the results you’re getting, it might be time for a change.

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Paul Alexander

Paul is a Ministry Consultant with The Unstuck Group. Paul has more than 20 years experience serving in the local church, the last 15 of which have been on the Sr. Leadership Teams of some of the nation’s leading mega-churches. Currently, Paul is serving as the Executive Pastor at Sun Valley Community Church, a large multi-site church located in the Phoenix area.

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