Selecting and hiring people to be Community Connectors can be a difficult task. What type of experience and education should the applicant have? Does the person need to be out spoken and an extrovert? How can I find the right person?
I recall John McKnight telling me that I should look for 3 traits:
- passionate about people, neighbourhoods and the power of citizens
Unfortunately, when working with agencies that provide services there is often a different set of hiring criteria. A typical interview process does not lend itself to attracting people with these types of characteristics. Even the job description and ads tend to be confusing and not reflective of the real nature of community work. Spending time in neighborhoods and meeting people are seldom mentioned in descriptors that I have seen but are 2 key components of this work.
I have struggled for years about how to create an interview process that explores an applicants potential ability for connecting people in the community. Out in neighborhoods I have met citizens that are passionate about people and community and have met people who I thought would be amazing Connectors, but very few interview questions ever have left me with discovering that same passion.
This led to an idea: what if we did an everyday life type of activity and invite applicants to spend time in a neighborhood, meeting citizens as part of the interview process?
Would this provide information that was useful in selection? If nothing else would it share clearly what our mission is? Would it be a positive experience? What if it was a disaster? And what if it rained buckets?
My hope is that it will give a sense of the applicants’ fearlessness, the lens that they see the world through and their passion for community building.