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7 Unique Tips for Hiring a Great Team

I don’t have many specialities, but if I have any hiring great team members is one of them. This is one of the leading issues church leaders talk to me about during my coaching and consulting. I have discovered some things that help me do this better.

7 unique tips for hiring a great team:

Hire based on culture. The staff needed in an established church is different from at church plants where I led. Of course, there are some who can work in both environments, but some simply can’t. Make sure you ask good questions to discern.

If married, interview the spouse also. I  think this may be one of my most important steps. This one may appear unfair. Certainly, there may be positions where this is not necessary, but if you consider someone a key member of your team you are hiring the spouse as much as the person. It’s made or solidified the decision of yes and no for me several times.

Use your gut. Call it your heart, intuition, God’s Spirit guiding you, but that feeling inside telling you good fit or not – use it. If you’re married, rely in your spouse’s gut too. That’s double the gut power. I’ve almost always made a mistake when I went against this one.

Put character before content. You can teach content, but the lack of character will disrupt a team every time.

Passion over skills. Here I’m talking about motivation. If your choice is between a seasoned professional who has lost their zeal and a lesser qualified person with passion to learn and grow I choose the lesser qualified almost every time.

Team players before sole survivors. Except in rare cases today, work is done in teams. That means we must learn to work together. Look for people who work well with others, want to be a team member, is willing to assist beyond what’s written on their job description.

Check references not listed. The references people give on a resume will all be good. Do your homework beyond this. It’s been said all of us are just a few connections away from each other. I look for a few of those connections.

Those are some of my tips.

Check out my leadership podcast where we discuss leadership nuggets in a practical way. Plus, check out the other Lifeway Leadership Podcasts.

Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Jim Pemberton says:

    There are things in this article for candidates to learn as well. Though-provoking material!

    I do have a question about team players, and maybe it’s a matter of discernment more than anything. I know team players who look like sole survivors for no other reason that they are willing to assist beyond their job description and end up enabling other team members to not fulfill their own responsibilities but spend their time inventing achievements to show the boss so that the one team member who is actually fulfilling the goals of the team looks like he doesn’t work well in a team. I see this dynamic as early as school where one student is doing the team project and fretting over trying to get the other team members to actually do their part only to end up doing it themselves. I’m not sure how this plays out in the context of an interview, but it can make for a bad reference if the former boss didn’t see what was happening. Also, unless you ask the right questions, the candidate may not address this. He may see it as a negative in his own work history.

    What are your thoughts on this kind of “one-man-team syndrome.”

    • ronedmondson says:

      That's a big question. I'd probably have to put some scenarios around it to take a stab at a good answer. I do understand the school project illustration. I guess for the “one-man-team syndrome” I would want to ask bigger questions. Is this a systems failure or is it more the individual's concern. If there is someone who always has to do everything/be everywhere/have a say in things/can't trust that it's being done well if they aren't doing it – then that's a problem on them. If it's the system or structure that puts more weight on one person than others, then that's another problem.So, bottom line – I'd want to ask more/bigger questions. >

      • Jim Pemberton says:

        Thanks! That’s a very helpful distinction. I would say it’s something a leader should be watchful for among team members, whether there is a do-it-all busybody on the team or a structure issue that is allowing the team to abuse one of their members.