A few months ago I applied for a post, the advertisement of which I had been anticipating for over a year. I thought I was in with a good chance as the selectors from the congregation had asked a local priest to snoop around about me and I knew he had received some positive feedback. I was told he had stated that I should get an interview in his opinion.
In the end, I wasn't shortlisted for interview. So, I contacted the diocesan bishop concerned who kindly agreed to find out why. The answer came back that they thought my application form was "generic."
The thing is that it wasn't generic. It couldn't be. They had invented their own form that was completely different to any application form I had ever filled in (and I've filled in a lot of them). The questions were specific. I couldn't cut and paste anything off previous forms, except the basics of name and address etc. I couldn't have answered their questions more specifically unless I had visited the benefice, which couldn't happen unless I was invited for interview. A Catch 22 situation.
So, the selectors had assumed something that was untrue.
Such assumptions, according to a person I spoke to who knows something about employment protocol, is not the way to select candidates for interview. That should be done in a detached manner and should be based on the ability of the candidate as shown in the application form. Matters, such as what the candidate would intend to do in the job, should be addressed at the interview stage when the candidate can elicit the information needed to answer such questions.
This is just one example of the many faults in our amateurish selection system. Basically, a few, in most cases only a couple, of unqualified people decide who gets an interview and, ultimately, who gets a job, based on their own prejudices and particular hobby horses. Of course, this happens to an extent in all walks of life. But most concerns of the size of a national, religious denomination tend to follow the law quite strictly, something the Anglican churches in the British Isles believe does not apply to them.
Getting a job is one of the most seriously important things a person does in their life. Those responsible for employment, at every level of the Church, should be selected and trained up to be able to deal with the selection procedure at a level of competence that reflects the serious, life changing nature of the situation. That the lives of individuals and their families, and also the lives of whole congregations, can be altered for good or bad on the petty whims, often, as in the above case, the erroneous whims, of a person who has absolutely no experience of employment protocol, is a major indictment of an institution that should be doing everything it does in a caring and professional manner. Once again, secular organisations in my land are acting in a far more Christian way than the Church, which seems to be a common occurrence at this moment in time.