Did You Create a Candidate Profile?

The time has come for your church to hire someone to lead the worship ministry. You've posted a job listing on several online job boards. You formed a search committee, created a job description, and called several trusted advisors to see if they know anyone who might apply. The search committee has even settled on a salary range for the position.

If you haven't created a Candidate Profile, the work you've done will end up being much less effective than it could be.

What is a Candidate Profile?

  • It's not a job description - although you also need one of those. The Candidate Profile is not a list of duties.

  • It is a document that answers the question, "What skills are required to succeed in this position?"

  • The Candidate Profile should include a list of characteristics and abilities that will allow the candidate to thrive in your church.

Is your worship ministry filled with musicians who play in the local symphony orchestra? Your Candidate Profile needs to include the ability to work with classically trained musicians.

Will your new worship ministry leader be the lead singer and guitar player in a band that plays on Sundays? Add those skills to your Candidate Profile.

Did your previous leader have an advanced degree in music, resulting in similar education now being expected by the leadership team and congregation? Include this requirement in the Candidate Profile.

All of these questions - and a host of others - need to be answered before you start interviewing candidates. It is this list of skills and attributes that will allow you to discern whether the individual you are interviewing is a good fit for your worship ministry.

A few items to keep in mind:

  • If someone doesn't match the Candidate Profile it's not because they're a bad person - they just don't have the background and skills needed to thrive in this position.

  • Have an honest discussion with the leadership team and search committee regarding whether the majority of the congregation will agree that the Candidate Profile is an accurate description of the skills needed to succeed. If your leadership team determines that what is needed is a charismatic leader who sings and plays guitar, but a large portion of the congregation is expecting you to hire a choir director who prefers to lead quietly and behind the scenes, you are heading for a train wreck.

  • Be willing to bend, but not too far. Let's say that your Candidate Profile includes a requirement for the individual to have an advanced degree in music. During the interview process you come across an individual who meets every other requirement contained in the Profile except that they have no advanced music degree. Find out if they are willing to pursue an advanced degree and then communicate clearly with the congregation that this requirement is still important, but here is how we are going address it. However, if an individual is lacking several skills that you have listed as important and has no plans to acquire those skills, it's time to move on.

  • You may need assistance testing a candidate's credentials on some portions of the Candidate Profile. For example, don't assume that you will be able to tell if the candidate has the necessary musical abilities to succeed in the position. If your church is blessed with members who are skilled musicians, enlist their help in determining whether the candidate has the necessary skills. If your church doesn't have musicians in-house to help, contact musicians at local colleges and universities for assistance.

Navigating the hiring of a worship ministry leader can be a complicated process. Creating a Candidate Profile will move you a long way down the road to completing the process successfully. If you have other questions or would like UNISON's assistance with hiring a worship ministry leader, you can read more about our WORSHIP LEADERSHIP SEARCH process and contact us here.