Clergy Job Interviews

A clergy job interview is similar to any other job interview in most respects. It also requires the ability to articulate one's personal faith effectively and to display genuine enthusiasm for the ministry. The following will guide you through the process -

Getting the interview

The following are advisable when seeking a job with the clergy.

  • Write a strong initial contact letter. It should be no more than one page in length. Use the letter to demonstrate how well informed you are about the Parish.
  • Follow up your letters with brief personal phone calls to reaffirm your interest and to keep in touch with the progress of the search. Again, use this to display your knowledge of the post.
  • Contact the people you have nominated as references to ensure that they are enthusiastic about your application.

Preparation for the interview.

Like with any job interview, diligent preparation is essential.

  • You may be asked to give a prayer to before the interview. Be ready for this.
  • Learn everything you can about the Parish. Contact other clergy in the diocese and ask as many questions as you can. Also, ask anyone else who knows the parish about the area. Visit the area yourself before the interview.
  • Be sure of the time and place of the job interview.
  • Decide what your own skills and abilities are and be prepared to talk about them.
  • You should bring along your CVresume, your parish profile, a notebook containing the questions you want to ask and a checklist of thingspeople to see.

During the interview

The interviewer will be looking for strong interpersonal skills and natural leadership qualities for a position in the clergy.

  • Be confident and assertive when it is your turn to speak.
  • Remember that a clergy job interview is a two-way process and much of the time belongs to the candidate. Ask questions about the position, the area and the community. This also demonstrates confidence. Some examples are:
What provision is there for continuing education?
What provision is there for sabbaticals?
What conferences does the Parish organise?

Do not focus on pay and benefits early in the interview. Also, use the opportunity to evaluate your prospective employers. How you are treated in the interview may be how you will be treated if given the post.

  • Don't emphasize personal weaknesses or unhappy past experiences. Don't criticise your former superiors.
  • Treat each questioner with equal respect. Remember each of their names.

After the Interview

After the interview you might find it helpful to do the following:

  • Follow up the interview by sending a thank you letter to your hosts. Write positively about their process as far as you can honestly do so.
  • Write a summary of the interview. This will better help you to reflect on the interview and decide what was done well and where improvements can be made.

Who's Hiring Who? Lathrop, Richard. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA 1989

Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed Medley, H.A. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA 1978