“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Seneca
Welcome back! School and rehearsals have started for most of us but there are some leftover issues from spring and summer to take care of before we begin our new year.
It’s been a wild time, with a few ChoralNetters contacting me during the summer about all sorts of issues. We’ll look at one of those issues this week. I would love to have your input, so if you have an opinion, please comment!
Jane* moved her family across the country in late May, due to her spouse’s promotion. She began applying for church jobs soon after as quite a few positions in her new community would become available this fall. Interviews and auditions began within weeks of their move, before the family was really settled in, but Jane decided she needed to get going for fall employment sooner rather than later.
She applied for part time jobs— as just an organist or as just a choir director—as well as full time director of music positions with multiple choirs and a concert series to administer. She was asked to interview, then audition, for five positions. One position in particular, she was very excited about. It was for a music director’s position, being the chief organist and directing the adult volunteer (with a quartet of paid staff singers) choir, supervising the children’s music program, and administering a concert series. The concert series was all set for this year but was told she could begin programming for the following year during the fall. After her audition in June, Jane was told they would make their decision by July 1.
Hearing nothing by July 1, she contacted the church personnel committee after July 4. They told her they were still interviewing candidates but should come to some sort of decision by August 1. She heard nothing by that time and that’s when she contacted me. She wanted to know if she should contact them AGAIN to see what was going on. I told her no, that either they came to a decision, and it wasn’t her, or they truly hadn’t made a decision. Some committees don’t like to be rushed, so it’s better to just leave them alone for the time being.
In the meantime, of the five positions she interviewed for, she got two and didn’t get the others. All four of those jobs thanked her, whether they offered her a position or not, and said they enjoyed meeting her. Of the two she did get; one seemed a better fit and paid quite well. While this position didn’t have a concert series, they did have a children’s afterschool music program, and being the administrator was part of the music director’s job.
Jane wanted to know if she should hold out for her “ideal” position or accept the “better fit” position. As of August 10, she still hadn’t heard a word from “ideal”, but the “better fit” folks needed an answer by August 15. I told her to accept the “better fit” position. It doesn’t matter why she hadn’t heard from the “ideal” job; she has an opportunity where people WANT her and WANT her soon.
I really don’t like an interview process when you are told you will be informed by a certain date, then are not. At very least, I wish folks would tell their candidates where they are in the process. It is only fair to let them know so if they are offered another position, they may take it. It seems a bit selfish to do otherwise. As well, if committees state CLEARLY, they will only inform you if you are offered the position, lots of unhappiness would be avoided. If your committee decides that is how you’d like to handle things, please inform your applicants so there’s no need for them to wonder.
On August 21, Jane began her new job and tells me she is happy with her decision. The congregation held a welcome coffee hour for her, and she met the whole adult choir, as well as some of the teachers in the music program. Choir begins right after Labor Day and the afterschool program the week after that. Jane feels good about it all.
UPDATE: Jane emailed me earlier this week to tell me “ideal” job offered her an assistant music director position, which was not the position she interviewed for. They liked her but felt another candidate was better for the real job. She has no regrets for taking the “better fit” position.