Eavesdropping on an Interview

Bob FranquizLeadership

Carey I were sitting in P.F. Chang’s enjoying their Mongolian Chicken (Which is totally out of control, by the way) when the manager and a guy looking for employment as a server sat down at the table next to us and started conducting an interview.  Being the non-obtrusive person that I am, I eavesdropped in an very stealthy way.  The manager asked some really good questions.  Here are some of them: 

#1 – How well do you handle stress?
(That P.F. Chang’s location in North Miami is one of the 5 busiest locations in The U.S.)  This seems like a good question to ask a person who we might look to hire or have serve in a critical volunteers capacity.  I’d hate to find out they can’t handle the pressure of ministry the day before our Easter services! 

#2 – Are you planning on going back to New York?  The kid was from New York and the manager wanted to know if he was going to stay.  I don’t shy away from asking this question.  If a guy has it in his heart to plant a church some day, I want to know it.  First, because I want to help train him, but secondly, I want to know because I’m going to be interviewing someone else for this position in a year or two.  When my friend Bill joined our staff, I knew it was a 2 year situation and then he was going to plant a church.  So while we wished he never had left because he was so good at what he did, we also tried to train him and give him opportunities that would assist him when he left to plant his church. 

#3 – How familiar are you with P.F. Chang’s?
  I think this is a great question, but even though someone is "in-house", it doesn’t mean they are totally familiar with the ministry area they’re interviewing for.  When we hired our Children’s ministry director, she wasn’t serving in Children’s ministry, she was serving faithfully in our youth ministry.  But she had tons of experience in children’s ministry and knew what was going on in our Children’s area.  This is a great question to ask potential volunteers that you interview.  How well do they know the church’s mission and vision?   

#4 – What’s your favorite dish here?
  (I kid you not, I almost answered!)  But being the CIA operative type that I am, I simply listened as the kid gave his answer.  The kid must have said he was familiar with P.F. Chang’s pretty well, because that was the next question.  I love asking people what they love most about our church because it give me an understanding into how they see our church and present it to others.  I didn’t hear what the kid said, but then the manager asked another great question…

#5 – What’s your second favorite dish?  Why ask this?  Simple: This kid is going to have to sell the food to customers who don’t know what they want to order.  He has to know what’s on the menu.  I ask the person I’m interviewing to tell me what areas they are involved in and why.  It gives me great insight in to them, but it also gives me insight into seeing the ministry area they serve in from their perspective.  Sometimes, when you have all the information a ministry area looks great.  But does it look as good to a person that doesn’t have all the facts?   Then he asked him the last question…

#6 – Is this a good number to reach you?
  The manager was going to check his references and call him back for a second interview with another manager.  Remember, this is for a server position.  But it makes total sense because I go to a restaurant because the service is good and the food is good.  There’s another restaurant in town who’s food I love but I never go because the service is horrendous.  But I was really impressed that P.F. Chang’s made service such a priority because that directly relates back to the Mongolian chicken I was enjoying.  We call every reference on every person who serves.  We tell the potential volunteer that up front.  Also, we do a federal background check on EVERY person that serves with children and youth.   

I learned a lot sitting in P.F. Chang’s on Monday.  One of them was not to ignore my wife while I eavesdrop on an interview!