Clergy Recruitment

In her research on clergy wellbeing Lesley identified that clergy in ill fitting posts felt less well. It is anecdotally known that parishes would turn down the Archangel Gabriel for being under-qualified and for my study I looked at how parishes advertise for new incumbents.

When I worked in industry HR provided me with a list of competences and told me that when recruiting I could choose three. That way I had to be very clear about what I wanted and when interviewing could determine whether the candidates had those three competences.

If more competences are listed some people will think that they don’t meet them all, while others will think that they match some and apply. This can lead to the wrong candidates applying in the first place, because they do or don’t fit the most important competences. My aim in the study was to come up with such a list of competences for use when churches were looking for a new vicar. My report and the associated lists are here and if you would like to use the them you are welcome to do so.

When doing my study it came to my attention that on average parishes were asking for over eight competences; I also noticed that many of the parishes which in my opinion find it difficult to recruit listed fewer competences, and spent more of the advert “selling” the post to the potential candidates, mentioning the location and quality of the vicarage, the quality of the local schools, and the proximity to nice countryside.

Neither of these are helpful in encouraging the right candidates and only the right candidates to apply.

2 thoughts on “Clergy Recruitment”

  1. 30+ years ago, the Bible Society came up with an exercise, I think called ‘What do we want from our minister?’ It provided a grid of ?20 competences, invited Church Councils to list their 6 priorities for the new minister. The remaining 14 were to be arranged in two piles, one was ‘other people can do this’, and the other was ‘nice, but not a disaster if it doesn’t happen’ (I’m busking from memory here)..

    I used this simple exercise many times over the years, sometimes to help vacant parishes bring realism into their Parish Profiles, more often after going to a job and finding that unreasonable expectations had been glossed over in order to recruit a ‘body’ to fit the Vicar-shaped hole’.


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