Human Resources – hiring well

Glenn Miller, CEO of Miller Management, is the host of this week’s episode. He is joined by his colleague, Brian Huston, of OutrightHR.

Human Resources – part two

This month, our focus is surrounding the importance of HR management, and how to handle certain issues. Churches can sometimes get into trouble because of what they don’t know. Last week was the importance of a good handbook. Today, we will go over how to set your organization up to hire well.

Avoiding Mistakes

Hiring mistakes are generally due to two things: laziness or time pressure. We just need to get someone here, we are drowning. Or so-and-so knows this person, that’ll work.

First, there is no way to avoid hiring mistakes. Let’s get that out there now. We are human. But hiring carefully can still avoid some mistakes. And coupled with that – learn how to be a good manager. Annual cost of a bad hire could be 2x – 5x the annual cost of an employee! So let’s get this right.

… Listen to our Hiring series for more on this topic …


Don’t be afraid of too many people applying for the job. Internally promote – your own staff, and your congregation, if you are a church. And don’t be afraid to go outside your walls.

Being honest and realistic about the job is key. And don’t make the description too long, people aren’t going to read 5 pages of hundreds of bullet points.

Sample job descriptions on the Miller Management website.

Job Descriptions

Job descriptions are also similar to discipline or performance reviews. Don’t list 50 bullet points on those either. Most of those can be boiled down to three to five bullet points anyway. Just go with those three to five.

Start more globally first, then the middle level, and then funnel down to the actual person’s job. You can usually use more general language here and still communicate the essential functions of the job, according to Brian. You may even include goals for the next three to six months.

Protecting the church from discrimination

Step One: Multiple people should perform the interview. One person to do a phone screening, who sends to the two to four people who do the in-person interview. This can solve discrimination and infatuation pitfalls.

Step two: have all parties fill out an application. You may have certain job requirements and by filling out an application or submitting an resume, you have in writing if the person qualifies, or not.

Can churches discriminate?

Churches can discriminate due to religion: that could even include which seminary they attended. It can also be job specific, if it is the pastor versus the custodian.

In all cases, we suggest that you add a clause to your offer letter that says “contingent upon a successful background and/or drug test and a number of other factors.”

Background and Drug Testing

Should churches being doing background and drug testing? Brian’s advice is absolutely. You need to give yourself some flexibility; otherwise you can be responsible for negligent hiring. Especially when you have church workers working with children. Also, our advice is to with the most comprehensive background check you can get, not the cheapest.

Drug testing is more of a new practice, but still a necessary one. A church can have a no-alcohol, no-drug policy in their handbook, and have drug testing requirements.


Once you’ve made a good hire, there is still one more keep element. The onboarding and probationary period. Don’t overlook this step!

Onboarding is very important; it’s their first impression and imprinting occurs on their first day. Have new hires start later on their first day. Create a good impression. Give the hiring manager some time to get into the groove on of their day. And meeting people will go much smoother if people have had time to start their day first and not be rushed or waiting on someone to arrive because they had an emergency that morning.

Devote a whole day to training versus a couple hours in the morning and then straight to job responsibilities. A Texas Instrument study was done, and when you focus a whole day to training, not only do you have lower turnover, but production costs are lower, these people experience less tardiness, and in turn create less training fees. You can’t afford to not spend a whole day to train someone. A real practical way to do that is to see the organization as a whole on that first day.

Probationary Period

A probationary time is also another important thing to have. At-will employment is something that you can implement. And earlier is better than later.

Need help with something that was mentioned today? Reach out to OutrightHR for potential help in these areas.

Coming Up

Join us next week as we continue our series on Human Resources: Firing and Employee disputes.

Join the conversation, see behind the scenes, and learn more on our Instagram and Twitter.

Special thanks to our guest, Brian Huston, and our masters of all things Podcasting, Chris and Lauren Miller, for this second episode in our Human Resources series.