Starting With Why

by Luke Miller

If you’ve been in the business of recruiting and hiring talent for any period of time, you’ve probably heard it said that the interview should be just as much about the candidate interviewing the potential organization as the opposite. The organization and its management may look good on paper, but may not ultimately be a good fit for the applicant. When we’re interviewing candidates for a position, we’re almost as interested in the questions they have for us as we are in the answers they provide to our questions.

This means that we need to be as prepared for the interview as those we’re interviewing. We want the qualified candidates we come across to want to work for us. 

In addition to having answers to the normal questions of who we are, what we do, where we office, and how we accomplish what we do, it’s also important that we’re able to articulate the “why” of what we do and “why” we hire who we do. Here are a couple of tips for communicating the “why” of your organization during the interview process.

Why We Do What We Do

It’s not unusual for a leader to be quite able to address the “whats” of an organization at any given time. He or she can generally articulate what the company does, what the organizational structure looks like, and what the principal goals are. What we often struggle with communicating is why we do what we do. This is the thing that inspires us and drives everything we do as leaders and as an organization, especially in faith-based organizations.

Communicating why we exist and why we do what we do each day, however, is precisely what will draw a qualified candidate to want to work for us. We should be prepared to talk about what compelled us to join the organization, what about the work is particularly life-giving, and why they would want to join the team.

At ChristianJobs, we talk about our desire to resource pastors and ministry leaders, to make life just a little easier for those who pour themselves into the lives of others. This is what gets us out of bed in the morning, and we’re looking for people who share our vision. 

Why We Hire Who We Do

Next we expand on the kind of person we’re looking for, and - you guessed it - why we hire the people that we do. The interview is your first (and sometimes only) opportunity to illustrate the kind of person you’re looking to hire and why. This goes beyond qualifications. You’re looking to hire people that share your passion and fit within your culture. Communicating this early is key. You may find a highly qualified candidate, but if they don’t share your vision and values, they’re going to be spinning their wheels (and your organization’s) once hired. 

We typically take the opportunity to brag on current employees that embody our values of competency and service. We tell candidates that we’re looking for people who are passionate about our mission and who will bring the right skills to our team. This not only weeds out people who won’t be a good culture fit, but it also inspires those who we do hire long before their start date.

Highly qualified candidates may be considering a number of job offers. Make sure that you’ve done all you can to cast the vision of why you do what you do and why you hire the people that you do.