Hiring for Skills You Can’t Find on a Resume


Nobody is fully represented by a piece of paper. Yet the hiring process, in all its chaotic glory, usually depends on the words on resumes to meet major needs in your ministry. You can learn a lot from a candidate’s resume, but unless you know what you might be missing, you are vulnerable to some costly mistakes.

Here are three tips for breaking out of the limitations of a resume, and utilizing your limited time and resources to hire someone you can have confidence in.

1. Listen for potential in passion

When hiring within a ministry, passion often supersedes experience. Be bold to take a leap of faith for someone who believes in your mission and has a desire to be a part of it. It’s true — you can learn so much about a candidate from the words on the page. While it’s tempting and somewhat necessary to narrow down candidates to the best few resumes, it will serve you well to maximize in-person interaction throughout the process. Passion over progress can ring true in many hiring contexts, but especially in ministry. This may push you to consider a candidate with a less impressive resume on paper

Any role you are hiring for is probably purpose-driven and supports a greater mission. Above anything else, listen for passion in each candidate’s speech. Listen for hints of a personal calling, genuine empathy that drives them to meet needs, and meaningful experiences behind the resume. Any hints of the candidate’s passion will be invaluable to you in your ministry.

2. Test responsiveness in action

Some characteristics remain a mystery until you can finally see the candidate in action. However, you don’t have to wait until after you hire them. A few intentional decisions can create an interview process that proves a candidate’s ability beyond the resume. You can text or email the candidate to note their responsiveness. You can go further by changing the meeting location to somewhere nearby on the morning of the interview. Notice how the candidate responds to the change. This can demonstrate the candidate’s agility, attitude, and communication skills more than the resume can prove. Hopefully, what you notice will confirm the positive traits you expect from the candidate, but it is also a chance to reveal some weaknesses for you to consider in the hiring process.

3. Pray for openness and clarity

Ultimately, if hire on your own, you do so in vain. No one can anticipate the Lord’s divine placement from a stack of papers. Pray. Pray a lot, and pray together with your staff. Pray for discernment and for clarity throughout the interview process. Pray for open minds to receive whoever the Lord would appoint into your vacant role. Pray for correction over biases that might thwart the Lord’s will for His glory in your church. No tip can clarify your decision-making process like divine guidance can; this comes from supernatural peace and confidence resulting only from prayerful decisions.

If this is daunting for you, and if the long hiring process weighs on your church, pulling your attention away from ministry, you need help. Vanderbloemen exists to relieve your church of this weight. Our Executive Search service utilizes our team’s expertise, our extensive access to eligible candidates, and our prayerful processes to present you with candidates deeply aligned with your church’s heart.

Let these three tips propel you into action throughout your hiring process: listen carefully, watch closely, and pray fervently. You will be pushed to exist in the present, plan for the future, and open your mind to timeless truth. Avoid the mess of an unstable hire. Put in the work to see the person, not the paper.


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