“A wrong hire was my responsibility and cost our ministry momentum as well as valuable dollars,” says senior leader Matt. “But part of the problem was that we didn’t define the strengths needed for the position before we started recruiting candidates.”
Like so many of us, Matt and his team had been blindsided in the hiring process by making a simple mistake: while they had clearly outlined the position and what they wanted the new hire to do, they had not identified the strengths needed to do it. When it came to individual strengths, they didn’t know what they were looking for.
As a result, they’d hired a wonderful candidate, but her strengths did not line up with the strengths that the position required.
There are three steps in successful staffing:
- You and your team define the position’s responsibilities by writing a job description
- You and your team define the strengths needed to do the job well by together completing a Position Insights profile
- You and your team screen qualified candidates to determine if their strengths match the position by having them complete a Leading From Your Strengths profile.
Matt and his team neglected the second step, but you needn’t. Use the Position Insights process to help identify the strengths needed for a position before you start looking for candidates.
The Position Insights Process
1. Identify stakeholders
Gather a team of 3-5 people who are involved in making the decisions about the position. These may include the hiring manager, the position’s supervisor, the employee currently in the position and exceeding performance expectations, and even 1-2 staff members who will work directly with this hire.
2. Review the current job description
Meet together with the sole purpose of defining the position’s responsibilities. Distribute copies of the current job description to each stakeholder in the group. Ask each member to note key issues that need to be discussed or clarified. Together, make changes to the job description. You will work from the document found in the Successful Staffing Guide and come to a general consensus before you complete the Position Insights questionnaire online.
3. Complete the Position Insights questionnaire
Give each member a copy of the revised job description and a copy of the Position Insights questionnaire found in the guide. Each member should answer the profile questions on his own, referring to the revised job description.
This is the trickiest part of the process: each of you will face the temptation to answer the questions in terms of how the work is currently being performed or how you would perform in the position. Instead, encourage your team members to answer questions based on how the work should be performed according to the job description. Then together, discuss your answers one by one always asking, “If this position could talk, what would it say?”
Once your team reaches a consensus for each question, submit the answers into the online Position Insights profile. When you receive the report, review it together to make sure each member agrees to the data in the report and the job description before moving forward.
Matt now uses the Position Insights process to define benchmark strengths needed for a position before asking qualified candidates to complete a LFYS profile. And the process has also helped his current staff to evaluate their positions and job performance. He has made adjustments, allowing each team member to use his strengths best.
“My hiring mistake is one that will not easily be forgotten,” says Matt. “But thanks to Position Insights, this mistake won’t be repeated again, either.”
More on Successful Staffing
Guest Post with Jeff Gilmer: Get Better at Hiring
Guest Post with Paul Alexander: Why Church Hires Go Wrong
Staffing: Hire Rachel, End Up with Leah?
Guest Post with Paul Alexander: 4 Steps to Making the Right Hire