Friday, August 15, 2014

Desperation and the job search

So, according to Inc. magazine, when job candidates appear too "desperate" for the job, it is a turn-off for interviewers:

"…If a job candidate comes across as someone who desperately wants to get back to work (or wants to change jobs), we reject them. Which leaves candidates who are currently unemployed (or are in bad jobs) in the weird position of having to pretend that they are fabulously wealthy and just want to get a job to get them out of the house for a bit."

(Read the whole article here.)

With regard to pastoral transition, my evidence is only anecdotal—but if accurate, then this bears out with pastoral searches, too.

One search committee member told me about how one candidate seemed tired and worn down by the process, and that was a big mark against him. I asked her, "do you know how long he had been looking for a position?" and she said she thought it might have been over a year. Is it any surprise that he appeared weary and worn?

(To be fair, the committee I just referenced recommended another candidate for more reasons than just this—but this was the stand-out reason she gave for what made him less favorable.)

This is a hard part of the process. Unless a candidate makes the foolish mistake of simply jumping at any opportunity that is available, then inevitably he has had to do some digging and research, and probably some waiting, for an opportunity to arise that is a good fit.

So, here's a bit of advice to both sides of the equation.

To Candidates

It's hard, but do your best to present yourself as fresh, confident, and eager (but not over-eager)—even if you have been worn down by the search process! Don't mislead or misrepresent yourself to search committees; let them see you as you really are. At the same time, do everything you can to be well-rested before your interviews and visits. Trust in God that His timing for your transition is perfect, and exhibit that trust in how you speak about your willingness to accept a call.

To Search Committees

Be aware that the men you are interviewing may have been in a season of transition, and don't judge them solely on how "fresh" they are, how much they seem "desperate," or whether they seem content in where God has them right now. They may be very discontent or quite weary, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they can't serve your congregation faithfully and with real energy and contentment! (And realize that whether they can do these things is often more dependent on YOUR congregation, and how healthy and peaceful it will be to serve in, than it is the candidate's current circumstances!)

Summing up

The article I linked to above has a great wrap-up that I'll borrow here as well:

"Your first priority should be hiring someone who can do a fabulous job, and sometimes that person is desperate for a job. Don't reject on that basis alone."

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