Many B4Ters have trouble hiring the right person for the right role. Do not be over-confident about your interviewing skills. Invite Jesus to be a part of every interview and review each applicant with Him. From the outset establish which traits the job demands to beyond experience, training, and enthusiasm.

Hire the Right Person…

Before you begin hiring, you need to know what kind of people you need. When you are looking for new employees and team members, ask yourself: Who dreams like you dream? Who do you need, in view of your current and future context? Who fits in? And always hire a person, not a skill or a tool.

You should hire for attitude and train for skill. When you hire people and try to convert them to your way of doing things, you create a horrible tension as if training is supposed to ‘fix’ employees. Hire people to be themselves. Train them well in the areas of their interest and they will work hard for you. Too many bosses are looking for people to fill a role. If you use people to accomplish your purposes, they will be quick to pick up on it. In time, your attitude will demotivate the employee and reflect poorly on Jesus too. Hire people who you want to invest in, people who you want to help succeed in life.

For the Right Job…

Whatever your line of work may be, you must hire the best people regardless of race, religion, or relatives. This is especially true in service industries, as their product is their people. If we have two people applying for a position and they have equal qualifications, we will always hire the Muslim over the non-Muslim, as we are here to witness to the Muslims. However, if the non-Muslim is better qualified, we hire the non-Muslim. Your business is first and foremost a business, so you need to hire the best people to ensure it will succeed. Yes, your business is there to minister to people, but if you have unqualified employees your business will fail. Then, not only will you not have a business, you will not have a ministry either. David’s assistant manager resigned, so the manager wanted her best friend hired to work as her assistant. Despite the advice of experienced B4Ters, David hired the best friend and within four days the manager’s best friend was no longer her friend, and the assistant had to be released.

Never hire friends or relatives of employees. If there is pressure to do this, make it a written rule in your business. Never hire Christians just because they are Christians. Allow me to repeat myself: whatever your line of work, you must hire the best people regardless of race, religion, or relatives.

In the Right Way

How do you hire good people? Obviously there are no guarantees, but asking good questions helps. Here are six questions we use in our office:

  1. What is the biggest misperception that people have of you? This question clarifies just how self-aware the applicant is, which is important to know. Leaders and good workers are usually self-aware. For the same reason, I sometimes ask, “Why wouldn’t I hire you?”
  2. How do you relax? Some people are eager to show us that they will work themselves to the bone, put in overtime, etc. Such commitment is appreciated, but that is not good for them or the company. If they get the job and become stressed, I am able to recommend and remind them of ways to refresh or reenergize themselves.
  3. If I gave you fifty thousand dollars and told you that you had to spend it all within twenty-four hours or return it to me, what would you do with it? I want to find out if they will spend all of the money on stuff for themselves, or whether they will use it to bless others. I want to hire generous people.
  4. Who is your favorite person in history (dead or alive) that you try to pattern your life after? I want to know who they emulate. I am looking for people who follow religious leaders because such people are usually more trustworthy and are easier to motivate, plus they are often more open to the Gospel too.
  5. What is most important to you in your work? I like this question, as it gets to the point of what I want to know, beyond skills and experience. What motivates employees is essential to keeping them happy and productive.
  6. What are your career goals and what do you hope to be doing ten years from now? Anybody who says working in my business is their life’s ambition is either not being honest, or is a low achiever. I want to know where people are headed so I can help them to get there.

It is also wise to have people work through some problem solving that relates to the job. Have them do accounting if they are dealing with finances. If they are managing people or involved in marketing, give them a case study or two and ask them what they would do in each situation.

In addition, there are two practical tests you may implement with those applying for key positions:

  1. Invite the applicant into a room with many chairs. Soon after he sits down, have another employee come into the room and state, “We need five of these chairs in another room.” You and the employee pick up two chairs each, then leave. Watch to see if the applicant picks up a chair and follows you. This reveals the servant attitude and work ethic of the applicant.
  2. While an applicant is waiting in the lobby, have an employee walk through, shuffle some papers, and drop a five-dollar bill. The employee then exits the room pretending not to see the dropped bill. What does the applicant do? Chase after the employee? Turn the money over to the receptionist? Pocket the money? Or leave it lying there? Each action reveals a bit of the applicant’s character.


PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.

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