Church Staff Hiring, Church Staff Search

Best Interview Questions

OK, maybe we’re overselling this list a little bit, but we talk to a lot of churches, read the blogs of hiring consultants, and network with church leaders experienced in the hiring process for church staff and pastors. We’ve heard good questions, mediocre questions, and some really vague, unhelpful questions.


We’ve adapted questions from others, developed our own from scratch, and tested these questions through our years of interviewing candidates.


After we look at our top ten interview questions, we’ll cover a few ways to use these questions most effectively:


  1. Tell me about our church. How would you describe it?
  2. When have you been most satisfied in your life? In your ministry?
  3. What did you do in order to be prepared for this interview?
  4. Describe a ministry environment in which you would not thrive.
  5. If you could do anything, what would be your ideal ministry or job?
  6. Discuss a time that you took a risk and failed, and one where you took a risk and succeeded. What was the difference?
  7. Talk about a ministry accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant so far.
  8. How have you handled a specific difficult situation at your previous position?
  9. Who do you most admire and why?
  10. Why shouldn’t this church hire you?


Church Staff Candidates Who Take Initiative

Questions related to risk-taking and interview preparation will help evaluate the initiative and originality of a candidate. Presented with a fresh challenge, how does this particular person plan, innovate, and execute?


These practical yet open-ended questions often prove more helpful than the general icebreakers such as, “Tell us about yourself.” Sometimes actions will speak much louder than words.

Pastors Who Have Godly Role Models and Habits

The questions about who a candidate admires and handling difficult situations aim to especially uncover the spiritual practices, background, and tendencies for pastors. Are pastors surrounding themselves with godly role models? Do their actions resemble people whose lives have been impacted by God?


Church Culture Is the Final Hurdle

The final question, Why shouldn’t this church hire you? serves as a kind of brain bender that catches the candidate by surprise. While candidates are prepared to argue for themselves to fit a position, are they self-aware enough to explain why they won’t fit?


How a candidate responds will reveal a good deal more about their character and tendencies. Is the candidate flustered, hesitant, or energized by this question? This may give some helpful clues about how a person responds to challenges and whether this person fits the culture of your company.


More Tips for Interviewing Church Leaders

If seeking a new pastor or filling an open position at your church overwhelms you, consider bringing in expert help. At Chemistry Staffing we love helping church leaders conduct efficient, affordable, and effective searches for pastors and church staff.

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Todd Rhoades

Todd Rhoades is the co-founder of Todd has worked with churches for over 30 years, both as a staff member and a consultant. He was the original founder of Todd lives with his wife, Dawn in Bryan, Ohio.