In my work helping churches across the country find their key staff, one question I receive often is, “How can we know that a person has good character before we hire them?”
You can’t train character, which makes this a very important question. Finding a staff member with character and a proven track record of trustworthiness is vital to your church’s staff health.
So how can you evaluate their trustworthiness throughout the interview process?
Stalk them. And stalk them unashamedly.
While this is only one element of a complex and thorough process of a very important screening process, it is an element that every church leader should be doing when hiring a new team member.
As Seth Godin says, “Google never forgets.”
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest…you can learn a lot about a candidate by taking a look at their social media.
In fact, a Chicago Tribune article stated, “A study soon to be published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that a 10-minute review of a Facebook page can yield not just red flags but also provide an unvarnished look at a job candidate and some strong clues to that person's character and personality.”
When stalking your potential employees, here are a few questions you can ask to get a feel for their character online:
From the pictures and status updates they are publishing, what are they showing they value?
- How do they talk about their spouse and kids?
- How do they treat people they disagree with?
- What do they think is funny?
- What do they like to do for entertainment (books, movies, vacation, etc…)?
- Who are the top five people that they have the most pictures with?
- What are they liking or favoriting?
- What are they saying (or not saying) about controversial issues?
- Would I feel comfortable having their social media presence tied to my
- How much time are they spending on social media?
- Are they oversharing on social media?
- What does their spouse’s social media presence say about this candidate?
- Have they talked about pain or hardship online? If so, how did they talk about it?
- Overall, are they positive or negative in their online comments?
When you buy a car, you do your due diligence on the history of the car – you get a maintenance report, you look at the history of the car, etc. Do your due diligence on your people, too.
If you find anything questionable, don’t immediately disregard the candidate. Consider it an opportunity for conversation with the candidate. Follow up with them on questions you have about something they posted and allow them the opportunity to explain. How they react to loving confrontation can further reveal their character.
And as a church leader, you also must be cognizant of what you’re sharing online. Remember…Google never forgets.