Are you thinking about jumping into the church communications world? If so, you will inevitably be involved in an interview process. Interviews are a great time for churches to learn about you, but also for you to learn about your potential new employer and place of ministry. Here are some questions I’ve found to be helpful as an interviewee in discerning whether a church is a good fit for me:
1. Why are you looking to add a communications director position to your team?
This question tells me right off the bat what the church’s intentions are for this position. Will it be a leadership position or a “doer” position (or both)? Do they view communications as an essential ministry or as a support or central services-type department. Often, I can determine whether a church would be a good fit for me based on this question alone.
2. What would people in the community say about your church? What would other churches say?
This speaks to community engagement (does the church think beyond its 4 walls), reputation, and kingdom mentality.
3. What are the church’s two greatest weaknesses? Are there any skeletons in the closet? A year from now, what will I wish you would’ve told me now?
How they answer this question will tell you a lot of things: how they view gossip and loyalty, how transparent they are, and – of course – if there are any red flags you should be aware of.
4. How does this church handle “stress” (and let them define what “stress” means to them)?
5. What big vision goals does the church have?
I always want to know if they know where they’re headed…and if those goals align with my goals for a prospective place of ministry.
6. If I take this job and hiring me is a “home run,” what will I have accomplished 1 year from now?
7. What is the work environment like? (formal, informal, casual, relaxed, fast-paced, etc)
8. What is the staff culture like?
9. What systems do you have in place to do the daily “work” of the church such as pastoral care processes, database/management software, project management systems, financial systems, etc?
10. Why have you waited as long as you have to hire a communications director?
It may very well be that they didn’t need one until now, but this will subconsciously help elevate the importance of communications ministry in their head and make them think through the significance of your future role there.
11. What does the communications (or worship services or equipment or, really anything) budget look like?
Churches, whether intentionally or inadvertently, budget for what is important. This question will let you know the heart of the church. If the budget and the vision (see question 5) don’t align, something is amiss.
12. What type of admin support with the communications director have?
This is one of the most important questions to ask and often one of the most overlooked. Interestingly, if the church thinks they’re hiring a communications director to be more of an administrative person rather than an executive-level position, it will almost always show up with this question.
13. What teams will I be expected to lead?
A follow-up might be to ask about the health of these teams and/or to meet leaders of these teams.
14. Given the choice between building a new building, purchasing/upgrading some expensive equipment/technology (like the sound system), or hiring a new staff person, which would this church choose? Why?
Again, this question will let you know what the church values.
15. What is something or a few things that the leadership of this church has done to develop and build into the lives of current staff members in the past year.
If a church isn’t growing and nurturing its leaders, there is probably a high rate of burnout and turnover, and an unhealthy staff culture.
What about you, what questions do you ask when you’re being interviewed?