Several years ago my son Jacob, who was 11 at the time, wanted to earn some money. Rather than just getting a job, he wanted to start his own business. He convinced a couple of boys in the neighborhood to join him.
They started a lawn mowing business called “A Cut Above.” With only three on the team, Jacob also assumed the marketing responsibilities. He created a flier and then gave it to the other two boys to distribute throughout the neighborhood.
Jacob sat by the phone waiting for the calls to start coming in, but nothing happened. The reason the flier didn’t generate any business for “A Cut Above” is because the two guys on his team didn’t distribute it. They were afraid that distributing fliers might lead to hard work.
You may wonder why Jacob decided to “hire” these two slackards in the first place. Unfortunately, he was a scrawny 11-year-old built much like his father. Because of that, his explanation made complete sense: “I needed them to start the lawnmower.”
Needless to say, having a clear mission and vision isn’t enough. Establishing a clever brand and marketing strategy is not enough. Leaders have to get the right people in the right roles executing the right actions.
In this case, I don’t blame the two boys for not doing their job–I blame Jacob for being lazy in his hiring process. He didn’t do the hard work of defining the roles and expectations. Instead, he took the easy way out–he hired these guys because he knew them and they were available. That’s just plain lazy, and it leads to lousy results.
(By the way, if I gave Jacob a nickel for every time I see a church hire someone the exact same way, I’d have to start a lawn mowing business to earn more nickels.)
So that you don’t have to take the lazy way out, let me offer these three specific strategies to improve your hiring process:
- Clearly define the position and the expectations for results. Don’t just fill a position with a job title. Make sure the responsibilities are defined and everyone is clear about what success looks like.
- Give people a job before you give them the job. Don’t assume people can do the job just because they can answer questions the right way. Test them out. Give them a project to complete. Pay them to complete the project. If they can’t deliver, don’t hire them. That’s a cheap way to make sure you have the right person for the right role.
- Hire as a team. In other words, don’t make the decision by yourself. Include other people to discern whether the person you are considering has the right mix of commitment, character, chemistry and capacity to get the job done.
Hopefully these simple and practical steps will help you improve your hiring process. For those who need more help, though, I highly recommend you hire a professional. The Vanderbloemen Search Group is one of my strategic partners, and they help churches find staff leaders.
Whatever you do, please do your part to end lazy hiring. Otherwise, you may spend lots of time and money trying to find someone new to start the lawnmower.