One Applicant Per Position

Photo by Andrew Neel

Hiring someone new in your ministry?  Need to overhaul your own job description with your church board?

Peter Drucker used to say that your job description (we’ll call it a Performance Agreement from here on out) should be written in such a way that only one person is capable of applying for the job.  The point: it must be precise, clear, and compelling.  It should be written in such a way that it naturally “weeds” out almost every interested applicant, until the one qualified person reads it and knows it was written exactly with them in mind.

Performance Agreements should include the following:

Position Purpose:
Statement of 1-2 sentences describing why the position exists.  Because it is a summary, it is normally the last section to be completed.

The purpose should help the reader quickly understand the basic role of the position within the organization.  It is typically written in a 2-part statement:  a task statement and a purpose for completing the task.

Ministry Team Expectations:
Lists key team members with whom this position works and serves, both internally and externally, and a list of their expectations.

Leadership Roles:
These are roles that a leader plays on a team and is closely related to personal leadership style and gifting.

Leadership Responsibilities:
This is the core of the work that is being required from the person in this position. List in complete sentences and assign a percentage of time that is estimated will be spent in each responsibility.

Qualifications/Education/Experience Required:
This is a brief explanation of the minimal level of education and experience required to perform the position.  Education should be identified by field or equivalent.  Where specific educational requirements exist, these should be stated.  Experience is often stated in a range of years.

Decision Parameters:
This section is used to indicate the level of approval that has been delegated to the position. This can include purchasing authority or approval.  Other non-numerical authorizations can also be listed in terms of approvals and decision-making at the job, or in absence of persons at higher levels of the organization.

Standards of Performance:
This section can be used to list key performance indicators to the organization within the scope of responsibility of this position.  These can be a general list or specific to a given time period for objective setting.  Also included can be objective standards, but non-numeric, for programs or initiatives within the organization.  In other words, what are the ways your performance is measured?  What are the metrics and standards that will be used?

Work To Be Performed In The Next Six Months:
These are strategies or action steps from the annual strategic plan that are “owned” by the leader. This work can also be in the area of personal growth and development that the leader agrees to pursue.

Write it in such a way that it “pops.”  If it doesn’t sound like an exciting opportunity to you, it will not sound like an exciting opportunity to someone else, especially top talent.  The more clear, precise, and compelling you can make the Performance Agreement, the fewer and better qualified applicants you will have.