Identifying Candidates

March 18, 2014 — Leave a comment

After understanding your core philosophical convictions, building a healthy staff team requires an interview and hiring process.  At The Austin Stone, we have a process of candidacy, interviewing, assessment and hiring:

  1. Do We Need To Hire?
  2. What Role Are You Trying To Fill?
  3. Identifying Candidates for Your Team
  4. Recruiting Candidates for Your Team
I pray these posts are helpful to those of you hiring people, and those of you hoping to be hired!

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Identifying Candidates

After understanding yourself and the role, the next step in building a staff team is to begin looking for individuals who might fit into your culture. Before we get into the details of searching, first let me highlight a few convictions about identifying candidates.

Beginning with Prayer

If there is one thing that I have learned in hiring people, it is that God is absolutely sovereign and the best thing we can do is pray for Him to act.  If you believe that you are in a place of needing to hire, begin to beg God that He would confirm that clearly by providing the called, qualified and gifted individual to join your team in that role.

Our Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need, love to give His children good gifts, and delights when we ask Him.  Additionally, being committed to prayer throughout the process will keep your firmly resolved in patiently waiting upon the Lord, rather than simply filling a role out of necessity or obligation.  Some of the most difficult times in leadership have come from being obedient to wait upon the Lord, but the team He has assembled is far better than any of my meager human efforts.

Always Looking for Good People

Adopting a posture of waiting is crucial, but so too is proactively pursuing opportunities the Lord may be putting in front of you.  I never want to miss a moment the Lord might be working, so I try to be diligently alert to His provision in circumstances and relationships.  Practically, I do this in two ways.

First, if someone is searching for a job and wants to talk to me, I try my absolute hardest to never say no.  Quite simply, I want to trust in God’s providence that the circumstance of someone reaching out to me may just be God’s nudging to consider this person.  At the very worst, I’ve been given an opportunity to encourage a brother or sister in Christ and provide some clarity in their calling, even if they would not be a good fit.

Second, regardless of available roles, we are always identifying candidates that would make a good fit for our team internally and outside our church community.  When you are on the lookout for candidates before a position is open, you typically have a good running list of people before the search ever begins.

Relationships Matter

Because we place such a high priority on operating as a family together, we highly value a prior relationship with a candidate and place a strong preference on knowing an individual over time.  Although you may receive an impressive resume, we’ve found that relationships matter far more with respect to long term performance and health.

Some folks would disagree with me on this particular issue, saying that I am limiting my available options.  While I would not discount a cold-call, a random resume, or a person I don’t know that is serving somewhere else, I have to focus my search somewhere.  The relationships that God has given me and my team, while small relative to the “open market”, represent the best possible place to search for those individuals who might fit well.  Secondly, those people we know have a much higher likelihood of joining our team for the sake of calling and culture, rather than a simple progression in their career.

When it comes to identifying candidates for positions, what have you found to be helpful to consider?

Todd Engstrom

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Although I was raised in the church and had a knowledge of God, I didn’t embrace Jesus until I heard gospel preached and lived out by some Young Life leaders. God has proven faithful and good to me since that day, even in great suffering and loss. I have learned to treasure Romans 8:28 as a wellspring of hope and truth. God has blessed me with an amazing wife (Olivia), three sons (Micah, Hudson and Owen) and a daughter (Emmaline). Growing up in the northwest, the thought never crossed my mind that I would have four children who are native Texans. Despite landing in the south, I still watch Notre Dame games with my children every Saturday in hopes they will land at my alma mater.

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