Hiring Guru: Ed Young - A Pastor's Decisions

Ed Young is the Senior Pastor of Fellowship Church, which is headquartered in Grapevine, Texas but has rapidly expanded across Texas, to Florida, London (UK) and online. His message is obviously resonating and his recruiting efforts for good people have been strong and spirited. Decisions to hire are amongst the toughest anyone will ever make; but I imagine for a Church, there are such a high standards and expectations with the reputation of a higher power on the line. This intrigued me to do my hiring interview with Pastor Young.

To what degree do you keep your finger on the pulse of hiring for Fellowship?

"As a senior leader, it's important to have your finger on the pulse of the staff. But you can't micromanage. Those in leadership positions under you need to have the freedom to hire the team members they need. At Fellowship, any decisions that need to be made are brought to the leadership team. Ultimately, it's all about discernment and surrounding yourself with other leaders who can carry out the vision of the organization. It's my job to make sure that vision is clear."


How important is it to keep personally connected to the process of adding personnel?

"It depends which spots are being filled. Some positions I need to be very involved and connected to and with others there's more freedom for the leaders in that area to make the call on their own. Our team does a phenomenal job of communicating what staffing looks like in their areas and what positions they need filled and which ones they don't. When decisions need to be made to bring someone new in, we discuss it as a team. Ultimately, the responsibility lies with me. But again, it goes back to surrounding yourself with a team that you can trust."

Do you have any hard-fast rules that are followed in your own selection of team members or those who will be working close with you?

"One of the most important things about hiring someone is to hire where you are weak. There are things I'm good at; I don't need to hire people who are good at those things. When we hire, we look to fill areas where we are a lacking. I don't need a bunch of people around me who look just like me, talk just like me, lead just like me or who have the same abilities and strengths I do. I need a team around me who shores up those areas that aren't as strong. For example, I'm not great organizationally. So I bring some people around me who are strong in that area. That helps the entire team become stronger."

Do you have any anecdotal thoughts about hiring?

• "Hire for heart, not just head knowledge."
• "Don't get sidetracked by superstars."
• "Avoid 'cruise control' people."
• "Keep your staff lean."

Best interview question you have used?

"I can't think of a specific question, but one thing we focus on is asking the spouse of a potential employee some questions. You can tell a lot about a person by the way their spouse acts, speaks, and carries him or herself. "

I wholeheartedly agree with this approach and in Chapter 10 of my book The Naked Interview: Hiring Without Regret I suggest with key hires to do a dinner or other activity so you can relate to (and observe) the prospect on a social level to ensure a good fit.

Any hilarious or horrifying interview stories?

"YES but none that I can share!"

What has driven you in building such success?

"At Fellowship Church, we believe we have the most important message on the planet to communicate. What it comes down to is excellence. We want to provide the best opportunities for people to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. So when we hire, we look to hire excellence. We don't hire maintainers. We hire people who drive themselves and are willing to work hard to reach new heights personally and help us reach new heights as an organization."

I can see that Ed Young has a purpose to hire those with a higher purpose!

Interview by David Jensen for The Huffington Post