Interviewing can be scary…very scary even if it’s for a position at a church. I was nervous during a pastoral interview and I know it showed. My answers weren’t as sharp or clear. This can sometimes be the difference between moving to the next round or being a one and done interview.
I’ve also had the privilege of being on the other side of the table as the interviewer. Here are some lessons that I’ve learned from and hope these tips help you on your next interview.
1) Know your 3 minute version of your story. Most interviews will start out by asking about your story. Interviewers ask this because they want a snap shot of who you are and what you have experienced. Don’t just share about your call to ministry. You’ll stand out if you open up your life journey (triumphs, tragedies and themes). This shouldn’t take more than 3-5 minutes.
2) Don’t talk bad about your last church. There’s always a huge red flag when someone criticizes their old church or pastors. Talking bad about your former church makes you look bad.
3) Answer the question. When some people get nervous, they tend to over-talk. They may add more stories or side comments. If you notice the interviewer losing interest (maintaining eye contact, looking at their phone, tapping their finger) then it’s time to wrap up your answer. Stay focused and answer the question.
4) Ask lots of good questions. The end of the interview is always a time for you to interview the interviewer. Ask good questions and don’t apologize for asking it. You need to make sure that this is a place you want to work at too. Asking many questions shows your interest in the organization as well as your values. I always notice how many questions interviewee asks.