Who to Choose?
God on Monday
Then the Lord said to him [Elijah], ‘Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. Also, you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place
(1 Kings 19.15-16).
I have recently been selecting a new team member. University interviews are formal panel affairs that can feel like wilderness experiences – on both sides of the table! They prompt me to pray that I will choose the right person – not just as part of the collective interview process, but also in deciding who I ‘anoint’ (see above) through the investment of my time and attention, mentorship and support.
It is becoming more commonplace for interview panels to share their questions beforehand with interviewees. This is designed to enable a wider range of candidates to showcase their abilities, and it allows them to better marshal their experience. It makes the interview less of a performance, more evidence-based, and ultimately fairer to people who may be unfamiliar with the prevailing interview culture. It may involve greater risk, but in a sector needing greater diversity, it is worth consideration.
All leaders, in fact, need to work out in whom to invest their time. This is not always easy - I suspect few of us get such direct instructions as did Elijah! In fact, reading about the very direct guidance in the above verses can make them feel remote, and so full of strange names of people and far-flung places as to be irrelevant for today. But these two verses can remind us to be discerning. They spur us to have God’s eyes when we look at those who are put before us in selection procedures, and at all those we are called to encourage, nurture and affirm.
Being called to ‘anoint’ others, through hiring them, supporting them, or promoting them, is a God-given privilege. How do we discern the right people to choose? As God’s creation is full of variety, we need to find ways to hear the ‘still small voice’ prompting us to choose judiciously and wisely amongst a great range of personalities and talents. Future leaders rely on the choices we make.
God of guidance, help us to see those around us in our workplaces through your eyes. May we play our part in encouraging and developing others. Help us to choose with fairness and sound judgement those who will lead us into the future.
Some general interview guidance from the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CiPD) is available here
. An interesting think piece on the idea of offering questions in advance to interview candidates can be accessed here
. For an article of mine on ‘Vocation’, written with helping future leaders in mind, see here
, Associate Professor, University of Warwick - Centre for Lifelong Learning
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