The following is a hiring checklist that we use to recruit core staff members for Shaping Destiny, a nonprofit that I founded in 2005. I share it here in case you find it helpful to you. The goal of the hiring process is to ensure that we are able to match the right candidate with the right position. Because the process is very time-intensive, we use it for hiring key players in the organization. For volunteers who come to do a few things here and there, the process is much simpler.

Hiring Checklist

As you go through the recruitment process, keep this in mind. It is “FIRST WHY, THEN WHO, THEN WHAT.” You want to first ensure calling and passion (why), then the character (who), and then competency(what) in that order.

We go through these steps:

Key Results Area with Detailed Job description

The first step to matching the right person with the right job is to know exactly what a person is needed for. A clear job description of the role with clearly defined key results areas is where you should start. If you can’t come up with a good job description, you are not ready to hire. You must know the organization and the competencies that are needed very well before you go out to look for someone who can meet them. You must know the shape of the hole very well before you can go out to find a peg that will fit squarely in the hole.

We advertise and get referrals for the position

We use social media, craigslist and any other job search websites, and any other avenue open to us to advertise that position. Most importantly, get referrals from your current staff, tribe, donors etc.

Candidate Completes Application and Submits Resume

Austin Bible Institute’s 16-week Certificate of Short-Term Missions is required training for all full-time staff. The staff takes that when they start work. We use Austin Bible Institute’s application as our staff application. Go to the site and fill out the following forms:

  1. Application form.
  2. Interview Questionnaire
  3. Medical-Questionnaire
  4. Reference-questionnaire
  5. Background check form.

Screening Process

i. Resume and Application Screen

ii. Phone Screen (30 mins to 1hr). Create your interview questions. Before the phone screening, review the application and all questionnaires and background check. This is a quick screen to rule candidates in or out early. You may also do the phone screening on Skype or Google Hangout.

ii. Reference Screen. Listen for excitement because references will almost always be people who will say good things about them. If a person doesn’t know a person’s weaknesses, then they don’t know them.

Interview Process

Have at least 5 interviews about 2 hours each, spaced at least one week apart. Prepare questions and a sort of agenda for each meeting. You don’t have to share this agenda with the interviewee. You will have to divide the topics that you want to cover during the entire interview process into each of these meetings. These meetings should be face to face. However, if face-to-face is not possible, Skype or Google Hangout may be used.

  • Clarifying expectations helps build trust.
  • Start with why. Then who, then what
  • No Gossip Policy (orientation)
  • Leadership Covenant. Have them read a copy of the leadership covenant. However, they should not sign it at this point. They will be required to sign it only after the three month probation period if they decide to continue as a core part of the team.
  • Make sure that the candidate’s beliefs and values match or align with yours. This is so crucial. Without that, it will be impossible to work with them. They will have a very different paradigm or belief system. Trust will be difficult or impossible to build.
  • Reflection & Prayer. Space the meetings at least a week apart so that you can reflect and seek guidance as the process progresses.
  • Read all the material we have in our hiring package. Use the questions recommended.
  • Take notes during all meetings.
  • Questions list: Also make a list of questions you have that have come up from what the candidate shared in the previous encounters. You want to make sure you ask the candidate if they have a plan to manage any weaknesses that were noticed.
  • Interview by other leaders: Have two or three other leaders interview the candidate on different days.
  • Answer Candidate’s Questions: Tell the candidate to write down questions that they may have and make time to answer them.
  • Strengths of the key leader.
  • Weaknesses that key leaders are struggling with: Write down the weaknesses of key leaders in the organization, some significant weaknesses others have brought up before, especially others who have quit the organization before have brought up. Humbly present those to the candidate and tell him about your desire to grow, but that you are a work in progress. Ask them to pray and consider whether they could still happily respect and submit to the authority of those leaders after knowing their weaknesses. Ask them to tell you in the future if they see other weaknesses the leaders have that you might not know. Let them know of the leader’s desire to continue to grow and improve in the area of your weaknesses.
    Some of my weaknesses

    • Anger
    • Insensitive to others
    • Coarse joking – often an attempted to make a job and lighten up the mood.
    • Overworking > often unconsciously expecting others to do the same.
    • Ingratitude
    • Impatience
    • Pride
    • Passion wrongly expressed that looks like arrogance. If I start talking about something that I’m passionate about, I get loud and talk fast. It can come across as aggressive.
    • Bad Manager – I don’t manage or lead people as I should.
    • Incompetence in some key areas of work.
    • Failure to love people as deeply as I want to.
      In spite of my list, the ‘real’ weakness that I have to anyone is the weakness they perceive. Their perception is their reality. What I consider a weakness, someone else may not even consider that anything worth mentioning. But what I am not even aware of may make someone extremely mad.
  • Strengths that the organization has.
  • Weaknesses that the organization is struggling with: Also share with the person, weaknesses that the organization is struggling with so that they can know before hand and pray about it.

Visit Austin. We invite him to visit Austin for a few days (if possible) so we can spend time getting to know each other and they can learn what we do. If this is about a married couple, we must be communicating with both parties and have them both present during the visit.

Spousal Interview. Have dinner with the candidate, their spouse, and their family if possible.

Expectation Letter. Have the candidate write a one-page expectation letter. In this letter, they should articulate clearly what their expectations are for the position or role they are seeking to take. They should include among other things: their understanding of what would be required of them, work hours (how many hours per week), key results areas, other kinds of duties they will be expected to do, kinds of duties they will be willing to happily and do and be content with doing etc. This should be done after the candidate has discussed with the staff and expresses an understanding of the expectations we have set for the job.

Invite the other leaders included in the hiring process to see the notes and resumes of applicants. Make sure every significant stakeholder interviews the person and votes for them to join. A unanimous spirit-led decision should be pursued.

Candidate ascertains calling to join us. By this time, the candidate should have known quite a bit about the organization to pray and reflect and make an informed decision about whether they want to continue to serve with us past the three-month trial period or not.

Corporate Guidance: Pray with other leaders about the decision and wait for guidance for one week.

Make Decision. Come together in a specific meeting to decide who to hire and when to do so. Encourage other leaders to highlight positives and negatives of the applicants as well as clearly define what they believe they are being led to Shaping Destiny to do.

Inform applicant. When the decision is made, inform the applicant(s) of your hiring decision.

Onboarding Process

Orientation. If they accept the position set up a time to meet and have an orientation with them before they begin work. If they will be training under another staff member make sure everything is set up to ensure a smooth transition.

Employee Manual. As part of the orientation, the new employee should review and sign the employee manual.

Review written processes for the position. If someone has held this position before, there should be written processes for each activity for the position.

Review job description for the position.

Appoint a mentor. Appoint a more mature staff member to mentor the new staff.

Three-month trial. Make sure they understand that you are only doing a three-month deal. It’s not good to make a long-term commitment to something one has not even tried. In fact, if a three-month trial works, a one-year deal should be made. After that, long-term commitments can be made.

Hiring Checklist

Click here to view or print the pdf version of this checklist