Many important things must be assessed when interviewing potential candidates for ministry positions. The most obvious are education, skills, accomplishments, and transferable experience. In hiring for ministry positions a couple of other areas are vital as well, such as calling and chemistry. Increasingly there is agreement that character is of vital importance as well. Maybe even more so in today’s world where clergy character failings can bring disrepute to the Gospel and destroy the reputation of a minister, a ministry or even a church.
In this first in a series of articles on how to hire for character we will examine the reasons you should include a strategy for interviewing for character in your church’s interview process. It may be helpful to first answer – what is character?
Character is defined as a person’s unique and durable mental and moral qualities. Psychologist Lawrence Pervin defines moral character as “a disposition to express behavior in consistent patterns of functions across a range of situations.” The concept of character can imply a variety of attributes including the existence or lack of virtues such as integrity, courage, honesty, and loyalty.
Character traits can be described as good or bad, depending on the situation. Character traits can easily be observed through actions or responses to a situation or even how a person acts around you or others.
There are a variety of words you can use to describe someone’s character traits. Some positive character traits might include: Honest, kind, trustworthy, positive, sincere, patient, generous, humble, compassionate, or loyal.
Some negative character traits might include: Angry, rude, selfish, greedy, negative, stubborn, untrustworthy, or mean.
These are just a few descriptive adjectives used to describe someone’s character traits. They are words used to describe how people act during certain situations or what kind of people they are.
There are a number of good reasons to consider character when hiring. Let’s look at six of them.
6 Reasons You Should Consider Hiring For Character
- Trust – An untrustworthy employee can have a negative impact on the entire organization. A trustworthy employee will make the right decisions, do the right thing, and follow through with what they say they will do.
- Alignment – A person of character will make sure prior to employment that they are in agreement with the church’s theology, mission, vision, values, strategic plan, policies and procedures. An unaligned employee will create conflict, dissonance and misunderstanding.
- Collaboration – An employee with character will be people and team oriented, and willing to collaborate, and work with co-workers and lay leaders.
- Easier To Manage – People with character get along well with others and are easier to confront, lead and manage.
- Effectiveness – People with character are more effective in relationships, responsibilities, job duties, and assignments.
- Integrity – An employee with character will act with integrity in their decision making and in their relationships with co-workers, church members and church leaders. An employee with integrity will do nothing to harm the reputation of the church.
How To Hire For Character
People often think of character as being too subjective to effectively measure. In interviewing the challenge is to think in terms of traits and how to make them descriptive and specific. Thinking about it from this perspective, hiring for character means including a section in your interview strategy where you assess character through a set of specific questions and areas of research around a specific set of traits. In our next 2 posts we will look at some of the most important character traits to look for as well as how to interview for these traits.
Posted on April 18, 2023