Have you ever hired a person only to have serious regret later? Hiring the wrong person can be a painful experience and it can slow momentum, drain resources, and undermine team unity. In a church, hiring the wrong person can damage relationships and hurt people who are trusting us to lead spiritually. Character, Competence, and Chemistry are all critical in order to make a good hire. (I will address character and competence in future posts.)
In order for a person to become an effective and productive part of your team, there needs to be a good chemistry fit.
By Chemistry, I mean, does your potential hire fit with your current culture and context? Have you carefully explored this?
With an inside hire, you often have the opportunity to witness chemistry over time. But with an outside hire, this is much more difficult. How can you determine if a person coming in from the outside will be a good fit with the culture of your church or organization?
Here are three ways to assess chemistry with a potential hire:
Does the person that you are considering hiring come from your same network or denomination? This shared connection does not ensure chemistry with your organization, but it is a big step in the right direction. Network commonality brings a common language, common belief system, and a common set of experiences. Hiring a person who comes from within your extended organizational network is a good start toward a good cultural fit.
Will the person that you are considering hiring survive long-term in your geographic culture? Many people think that they want to move two thousand miles away to take a new position. Many of these same people go home a couple of years later. If you decide to hire a person from a different part of the country, proceed carefully. Most people go home eventually. A major leader in another part of the country once told me that he has never hired a person from Texas, who has not eventually gone back to Texas. Seemingly, people who consider Texas their home, miss it when they leave!
Here are some assessment questions regarding geographic and cultural fit:
Asking these questions carefully just might keep you from having to do it all again a year from now.
Remember – In an interview, most people will tell you what you want to hear. So dig deep and argue back.
Does your potential hire “click” with your current team and other leaders in your organization? In a church, does the person connect well with key lay leaders?
How can you assess this kind of chemistry? The key is to bring any potential hire into your context for a few days. You get to know a person when you spend several days with them.
During your potential hire’s multi-day visit, consider:
There is no way to guarantee the perfect hire, but doing due-diligence in assessing chemistry will help you avoid major hiring mistakes and the pain that accompanies them!