The 5 Terrible Job Interviewers—and How Candidates Can Overcome Them

I read an article by Gary Burnison at work this past week & thought some elements of it applied to the pastoral search committee. Although it’s aimed at the job seeker in a corporate setting, the search committee can easily read it for their own benefit. It tells you what NOT to do and what kind of an interviewer you should avoid being.

According to the article, the five terrible job interviewers are:

  1. The Clueless – May admit right away to not having read your resume
  2. The Bumbler – Rambles and appears disorganized
  3. The General – Has a “command-and-control style,” often trying to intimidate others
  4. The Talk Show Host –  Focused on being likeable, talks too much and doesn’t give the candidate an opportunity to provide relevant details about his experience
  5. The Scientist – Analytical and seeking details…LOTS of details

Learn more about each of these interviewers at

The information posted here is not original with me and I claim no ownership or copyright in the "5 Terrible Job Interviewers." The article I refer to here first appeared at and was later posted at the link above.

Pastoral Interviews: Why Use Video?

In my last post I discussed the value of technology for a pastor search committee. This week I want to touch on one specific part of the search process, the interview, and discuss how technology can be a useful tool.

In our final debriefing session after our search was over, everyone on the committee agreed that the video interview was essential to getting to know the candidates. We couldn’t imagine doing it without video. It allowed us to see a candidate’s personality in a way that a phone interview just couldn’t.

The post-interview debrief usually went quickly if we knew the candidate wouldn’t be moving forward. But if the interview went well, our follow-up conversation could take as long as the interview itself! We reviewed what was said, how it was said, tone of voice, body language – everything was open for discussion. What were the strongest points? Where did he seem less confident in his answers? Did he communicate clearly? Could he think on his feet? Did he pause to gather his thoughts before speaking? What did his body language indicate? These and dozens of other questions were part of our post-interview debrief. Continue reading “Pastoral Interviews: Why Use Video?”

The Process of Interviewing Pastoral Candidates

Chances are, you’ve been in a job interview before. Most of us have. But not everyone sits on “the other side of the desk,” asking the interview questions. So how do you know where to begin? What questions do you ask? And what’s legal to ask? After all, we’re not HR experts!

We began the process of choosing our next pastor by evaluating resumes and other paperwork. In the PCA, the most in-depth document is the Ministerial Data Form, or MDF (other denominations have something similar, I’m told). In addition to paperwork, we listened to at least three sermons. This may sound like a time-consuming task.

You’d be right – it is. But it was made easier by our committee structure.

Our Process: The Power of Subcommittees

We divided our seven-member committee into three subcommittees of two members each (the chairman “floated” and wasn’t on a subcommittee.) When a new candidate’s name arrived, he was assigned to a subcommittee. If we received names of Candidates A, B, and C, they were each assigned to different subcommittees. Everyone listened to at least one sermon by every candidate, but the assigned subcommittee listened more fully. Here’s how we worked it out: Continue reading “The Process of Interviewing Pastoral Candidates”