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My prayer journal this morning has the following question:

Experience or potential?

I have whittled the the list down to five, and I hope to appoint a music director by Monday.

People with great experience and talent seem to come with a lot of baggage, an agenda they wish to impose, and a negative experience from a former employment. I have some compassion for this perspective simply because I have some negative experiences from past employments, and of course, I have a vision and some hope for the future of music ministry here. The problem is that I do not detect in these people a desire to become a part of the community and get to know the people before making huge changes.

On the other hand there are two applicants who have no experience, some evident talent, and indication of great potential. They are both in their early 20s.

I discovered a new blog today He has not sent his resume, but seems to be tempted by the prospect. It is getting late and if the interview and audition does not happen before Monday, there is no chance to become part of the process.

Prayers appreciated.

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It's hard to tell sometimes with the internet, but I don't like the guy's general attitude.

Not to excuse the ripping out of pages from hymnals.

Ask yourself, Father Jeff, do you really want to try to work with someone who displays the attitudes towards a pastor that this blog reflects?

I have had much experience on hiring committees. Resumes, experience, even interviews don't give the full story. For me intuition was important. When I overlooked the grand resume and/or a good interview or conversely, a weak resume and/or a ho hum interview and went with my intuition, I was usually pleased with the result - not always - but most of the time. No advice to offer about your dilemma except to suggest that you pay some attention to your intuition. Prayers as always.

Here’s my 1.375 cents worth.

I know you feel the need to get a music director soon, but I would strongly recommend that you not rush. Hire ONLY if you are comfortably secure that the person will fit the needs of the parish. If you are not comfortable, hold off.

If the person shows no sign of wanting to respect or connect with the community (not even mouthing platitudes in interviews), that person would be a poor choice for the kind of music minister you rightfully envision.

Negative experiences are sometimes unavoidable, but negative attitudes are unacceptable (and remember due diligence in investigating past “negative experiences”). [I hope I don't sound too negative -- ha ha]

As for the young applicants with great potential, if you have not found the Right music director, you may want to consider offering a month-to-month arrangement while the search continues with less intensity. Eventually that person will prove to be the Right One or you will find another person who is (and the young person will have gained experience).

Just some ideas.

Best wishes and prayers!

Oh Father Keyes, you continue to tempt me to send you my resume! However seeing as Monday is the deadline and I'm in Canada, there seem to be some roadblocks. :)

Also, I am currently enjoying being "retired" a great deal. Without being "retired" I'd have to change the name of my blog and that'd be a lot of work. :)

Perhaps years down the road you'll get my resume when you next need one. Thanks for the mention. I've been reading you for a while, so it was almost like being mentioned by a celebrity. Just a very humble, holy and interesting celebrity.

Oh, and don't be afraid of inexperience. If nobody took a chance with me and hired me as organist when I was 13 years old, I probably wouldn't be where I am today. Although looking back, I probably wouldn't have hired me that young either! Best luck in whatever route you go! And let us know how things do go!

I'd say go for the young guys ... you'll make the first impression!

I've hired hundred of people over the years. Five minutes will give you what you really need to know about someone, after you've ready the resume. Intution is a good way to go. God bless Father Jeffrey's efforts.

I have interviewed and hired hundreds of people over the years. After reading the resume, the first five minutes of an interview will tell the story. Go with the instincts, verify all references, and you will hire well. God bless the search!

Retired Matthew may not be looking for the job, but perhaps there will be some way you can take advantage of his experience.

Dear Fr. Jeff,
I think you have some very good advice from your readers and I agree wholeheartedly with Peggy Doherty. Intuition is the best deciding factor in my book.
You and your search will be in my prayers.

Peace, Fr Jeff.

Good luck with whatever path you choose. I would echo the comment on caution. Not hiring someone is always an option, especially if organists are available as an interim option.

That said, I think a rookie can be a good choice if your intuition leads you to either one of your younger candidates. You would need to be much more involved in forming such a person as a minister and as a church musician. If that is a possibility given your time and personal priorities at the parish, it could be a very worthwhile effort.

Settling for a poorer choice will expend much more of your energy and attention in the long run.

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This page contains a single entry by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. published on June 10, 2004 11:51 AM.

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