How to Find the Right Person to Hire

Staffing is a great challenge for any leader or organization. In my work with pastors I am often asked questions about staffing. Who should I hire? When should I hire? Should I hire from within or look outside? Here are a few principles to consider.

Hiring staff

1. Know your current strengths and weaknesses prior to hiring.

Don’t hire a person because you like them, because they are talented, or because they are available. Know exactly what you already have and exactly what it is that you need. Duplicating the skill set of your current staff with a new hire will not move you forward. What sorts of skills, strengths and gifts are needed to strengthen your team? Fill in these gaps. This begins with knowing what you already have.

2. Hire from within if you are looking to preserve your culture.

If you have a built a strong DNA and have a pool of people who love and understand your culture then first look to hire from within.

3. Hire from outside if you want to change your culture.

Sometimes a church or organization needs an infusion of outside thinking. For example, if your youth ministry is notoriously ineffective, hiring a person from outside who will bring new ideas, energy, and enthusiasm might make sense.

4. Consider Character, Competence, and Chemistry.

Character:  Is this person’s practice consistent with his profession? Character can be pretty well-known with an inside hire.  An insider has been observed over the course of years and is a part of your community.  Character is difficult, however, to vet throughly with an outside hire.  This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hire from outside but should understand the challenges.

Competence: Does this person have the proven skill set to do what he is being asked to do? Competence is proven with an outside hire as a track record of performance has been established.  This is the big unknown, however, with an inside hire.  Does a faithful insider have the skill set that is truly required?

Chemistry:  How well does the person fit in the current culture and community? How well does will this person fit with the current team and current organization? Chemistry can be well-known with an inside hire as the person is already a part of your culture and community.  Chemistry is difficult, however, to know with an outside hire and is one of the great challenges in hiring from the outside. Sometimes an outside hire fits fell and sometimes there is a chemistry train wreck.

There is no right and wrong/better or worse concerning hiring from within or from the outside.  There is, however, much to consider.

What else have you learned in this area? Feel free to share.

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Posted by Brian Howard

My focus is to help YOU move forward one step at a time. I write about church excellence, personal productivity, and family leadership. I coach leaders, start churches, and help organizations break growth barriers. My goal is to draw on this experience to help YOU move forward in life, leadership, and productivity.

  1. Brian, one of the things that I have learned over the years is – as one in the position of hiring – the “tolerance quotient” is important. For instance, what are the weaknesses among hirees that you can tolerate? Put simply, I look for good skills – but character and likeability is of premium importance. If I have two candidates and one obviously has great demonstrated skills but is “iffy” in the personability / collaborative / teachable zone, then I will probably favor the other candidate who has good people skills – who demonstrates that they get along well with others, has skills, but is very teachable when it comes to learning new skills. I’ve learned that I have much greater success and a longer, more meaningful working relationship with the candidate with great people skills and who is maybe slightly less skilled than the other candidate, but is also teachable. One thing that is important to remember is that it’s often easier to teach a “people person” additional skills but is quite impossible to groom a candidate who presents with stellar skills, but needs a lot of help in the “getting along with others” area.


    1. Chris, thanks for your always insightful and helpful comments! Good stuff!


      1. Your blog article contributions are really useful to a world that is often deficit in these practical matters. You appear to fill a gap where people need technical assistance on matters of interpersonal relationships, business, and Christian service. Thanks for your initiative.


  2. I love the idea of how hiring/promoting can either change or preserve your culture. Thanks for sharing.


  3. […] Also Read: How to Find the Right Person to Hire […]


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