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R. Joseph Knapp Mission Director Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria
This entry in the Catholic Charities USA Reﬂection on Mission series is designed to help you explore the concept of mission-based hiring and how you communicate and integrate agency mission and values in the hiring process. Reﬂections on Mission is a series of resources to help you understand mission as a concept and how to integrate the mission of your agency into your work. This series is meant to be practical – to give information that will further your understanding of mission and to provide questions that will encourage you to think about how you are a living witness of this mission in who you are and what you do at the agency.
s you begin to think about hiring practices in your agency take a moment to reﬂect on the mission, how it attracts people to your organization, and how it continues to motivate staﬀ and bring purpose to their work. How well does your hiring process reﬂect the mission and values of the agency? What are the best ways to promote mission when recruiting and hiring staﬀ and what qualities point to good “mission ﬁt” in a candidate?
As we begin our reﬂection on mission-based hiring, let us pray for God’s wisdom and blessings: Generous God, it is we who have been gifted by this opportunity to serve. We are grateful that we are allowed to represent the community, the largerchurch and you in the work which we have done and continue to do. Make us increasingly mindful of all who are in need. May we seek to serve the poor and their needs of both body and spirit, with natural, humble and holy service. Make us more and more mindful of our own poverty and of our need for you. May this work that we carry out and to which we are committed in the future be a true prayer to you. May our service ever give you glory and honor. Amen.
When you think about the hiring process in your agency, and the approach to ﬁlling an open position you are probably most comfortable focusing on speciﬁc requirements – i.e. education, professional expertise, talents and experience. You evaluate the budget, review the job description, post the position and advertise for qualiﬁed candidates. In the initial phase of responding to the news that you will have an open position and assessing the agency needs, how often do you stop to reﬂect on your agency mission and values? In what ways did the former employee exemplify the mission and what do you hope a new person might bring to the table? How well do you communicate the mission and evaluate potential candidates for “mission ﬁt”? How well is the agency mission integrated into the hiring process?
As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were ﬁshermen. He said to them, “Come after me and I will make you ﬁshers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (Mt. 4:18-20) 2
What was Jesus looking for as he walked along the See of Galilee? These were simple, hard working ﬁshermen. What did he expect? Why does Jesus choose to look for his disciples from among this group of ﬁshermen working along the Sea of Galilee? This is not where you would look for people of social privilege and inﬂuence. There doesn’t seem to be anything special about these individuals. What was Jesus looking for? What did Jesus see in the twelve disciples he called upon to help him fulﬁll his mission?
Reﬂecting on your agency’s mission statement what would you deﬁne as the key principles of the mission? Deﬁne two or three key characteristics you might look for in a candidate that would be congruent with the agency mission? The process of ﬁlling an open position is most productive when approached as an opportunity for team building. How might you involve others in the initial, assessment phase of the hiring process? How is this team approach reﬂected in the agency mission? Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5
Individuals who come to your agency seeking employment understand the importance of making a good ﬁrst impression. In a similar manner it is essential to consider the ﬁrst impression your agency communicates to potential employees? Do we create an honest ﬁrst impression in the advertising and recruitment process? How well do we communicate our mission and what we stand for? Communicating what the agency needs and expects in the area of mission eﬀectiveness prevents the ineﬃciencies that result from hiring a mission misﬁt.
Today, there is an inescapable duty to make ourselves the neighbor of every individual, without exception, and to take positive steps to help a neighbor whom we encounter, whether that neighbor be an elderly person abandoned by everyone, a foreign worker who suﬀers the injustice of being despised, a refugee, an illegitimate child wrongly suﬀering for a sin of which the child is innocent, or a starving human being who awakens our conscience by calling to mind the words of Christ: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers or sisters, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). (Gaudium et Spes; Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World , Vatican Council II) 3
What are the key elements of the agency mission that need to be communicated to potential candidates to help them evaluate how well their personal needs and values align with the agency’s mission and values? Reﬂecting on the agency mission and your own work experience, what would you describe as the competitive advantages for a candidate interested in coming to work at your agency? Identify two or three strategies you might use to communicate these competitive advantages in the advertising and recruitment phase of the hiring process? Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5
The interview process is like a two sided coin. On the one hand you are looking for a candidate who will bring a speciﬁc set of gifts and talents to your organization. Hopefully this person will be a “good ﬁt” for both a program/department, and for the agency. On the other hand, candidates who take time to interview with your organization need to feel a sense of partnership. Just as a candidate wants to put their best foot forward in the interview process, your agency needs to be attractive to the candidate. You both come to the table with speciﬁc needs and with something of value to oﬀer. As you prepare for the interview process, don’t forget that this is a two way street. As you prepare for the interview, keep in mind that this process is a reﬂection of your agency and its mission and values. Taking time to evaluate for “mission ﬁt” in the interview is critical to developing a healthy partnership with employees from the beginning and is essential in the agency’s overall eﬀort to accomplish its mission.
Prayer of St. Francis Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; 4
to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Key to a successful interview is asking open-ended questions. Taking time to prepare open-ended, value based questions will communicate the agency’s commitment to mission and assist in evaluating a candidate for “mission ﬁt.” Take a few minutes to reﬂect on your agency mission statement and the principles of Catholic social teaching. Identify two or three key competencies for your agency to focus on in the interview process. Formulate an open-ended question to evaluate “mission ﬁt” for each competency area. (i.e. What experiences have you had with helping the poor and vulnerable work toward improving their lives?). Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5
O Lord, teach me to seek you, and reveal yourself to me when I seek you. For I cannot seek you unless you ﬁrst teach me, nor ﬁnd you unless you ﬁrst reveal yourself to me. Let me seek you in longing, and long for you in seeking. Let me ﬁnd you in love, and love you in ﬁnding. Saint Ambrose of Milan, c. 340 - 397
About the Reﬂections on Mission Series
Reﬂections on Mission was developed by Catholic Charities USA to assist agency staﬀ with understanding the concept of mission and to facilitate integrating mission into their work. These resources are meant to be practical; to provide information that will further your understanding of what you do within the context of mission and to oﬀer questions that will stimulate you to think about how you are a living witness of this mission in who you are and what you do at your agency. The tools in this series are designed to be userfriendly and to allow for your imaginative self-expression.
Providing Help. Creating Hope.
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