One of the most challenging and intimidating questions an interviewer can ask – whether for a ministry job or otherwise – is “tell us about yourself!”
It can be difficult to know where to begin. What do they want to know? What experiences should you choose? Should I be person or professional? There are good reasons that this is a difficult question to answer!
For ministry, the way one should answer this question may be slightly different than for other positions for the reason that ministry is such a relational job and is built more on personhood than professional qualifications. Following are some approaches a ministry candidate may take when asked this question.
- Share Your Testimony – But Keep it Brief
Unless asked as a separate question as a part of your interview, this can be a good time to talk about how God brought you to where you are today. Give the whole picture, but this is not the time to go into all the nitty gritty details. Tell about how you experienced God’s calling in your life and what God has brought you through that can help you in the position you applied for. Don’t just repeat what you have written on your resume. Allow your humanity to show. Nobody wants a minister who thinks they are perfect!
- Talk about Your Experience
For a ministry interview, professional and personal experience can be relevant to the position. Talk about not just what God has done for you, but what God has accomplished through you. Churches want to entrust their congregation to a competent leader. Show that the gifts God has given you align with what the church is looking for in a minister.
- Be Real
Don’t just give the interviewer or search committee the answer you think they want to hear. Be honest with your answers, and let your passion for God show! Congregants want ministers they can have a relationship with. Let them see that you are a person with a passion for serving Christ!
- Talk About Your Family
While talking about this in an interview would be advised against in most professions, ministry is very much a family affair. When a church hires a minister, they are really in a way hiring the whole family. If you are married or have kids, this would be great time to talk about them! If you are single, this is also a good time to share that information.
- Be Prepared
There is little more frightening in an interview than being caught off guard by this question. Prepare ahead of time how you might answer this question and expect that it will be asked. Do not recite your answer like a textbook, but definitely be ready with some talking points!
In many ways, ministry interviews are much different than typical interviews. Keep this in mind when answering this question, and any question that may arise during the hiring process.