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Conversations with a several clergy over the past few weeks make me wonder whether technological changes are shortening the time required for traditional searches.  My evidence is anecdotal, so I welcome hearing your perceptions.

Four changes have been mentioned as helping speed up the search process:

  1. The shift from snail mail to e-mail has sped up communication among all participants in a search process, candidates, search committee members, Diocesan Transition Ministers (DTMs), and bishops.
  2. The addition of the “Narrative” section in the new OTM Portfolio is being used by search committees as a substitute for the lengthier process of sending questionnaires to candidates and waiting for their replies.  The “Connections” section of the OTM can also provide search committees with ready access to additional background material and online sermons.
  3. Clergy can easily send audios or videos of recent sermons.  Many sermons are posted on clergy’s current parish websites.
  4. Skype interviews approximate the feel of a face to face interview and are sometimes used as a substitute for a visit by a subset of the search committee to the candidates ‘current parish.

One clergy person recently told me that they had submitted their name, resume and OTM to a parish and within a week been invited to participate in a Skype interview.  An invitation to visit the parish as a final candidate was expected within a month of the first contact.  This may be an abnormally fast process, but the period between first contact and final interview used to routinely take six to nine months.

Clergy seeking a new call, or even thinking about exploring a call within the foreseeable future, should take a few steps to be prepared for shorter search processes.

  1. Make sure your OTM Portfolio is filled out and up to date.  Answer all the “Narrative” questions, and liberally use the “Connections” section to steer search committees to sermons and other useful information.
  2. Maintain a “ready to go” electronic portfolio on their own computers with additional information to send to search committees.
  3. Watch the OTM “Search Community Portfolios” list of open positions and be ready to respond quickly to positions of interest.  Be careful to respond to the right party – some dioceses allow applications directly to the search committee, others require applications be sent to the DTM.
  4. Be prepared for a Skype interview.