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Volunteer Interview Questions to Use at Your Next Interview

Author: Marlena Moore
June 18, 2024
🕑 7 min read

Finding exemplary volunteers is crucial for the success of any nonprofit organization.

Interviewing potential volunteers provides a unique chance to assess their suitability for specific roles. This approach ensures that the organization’s needs and the volunteers’ skills align perfectly.

This blog will explore the importance of asking the right volunteer interview questions to help you understand and evaluate potential volunteers. Comprehensive questions tailored to draw out the most relevant information will help ensure a fruitful volunteer experience for everyone involved.

By the end, you’ll have volunteer interview questions that can significantly improve your ability to select the best candidates for your programs.

Why Should You Interview Potential Volunteers?

Conducting thorough interviews is a strategic solution that addresses these issues of recruiting and retaining volunteers. Asking the right interview questions for volunteers enables you to understand a volunteer’s motivations and abilities.

Some reasons why should interview potential volunteers include:

Building Reliable Relationships With Volunteers

Volunteer interviews provide a platform to explore the aspirations and expectations of volunteers. This approach can help ensure their engagement goes beyond filling a position to fulfilling personal goals. Such a mutual understanding fosters a sense of value and respect, which is crucial for maintaining long-term commitment.

Clarifying the Roles and Responsibilities

Clear job descriptions help you to prevent future issues when recruiting volunteers. It allows organizations to discuss the volunteer’s potential concerns and set clear expectations. This approach minimizes misunderstandings and ensures a smooth onboarding process, especially for volunteer training.

By addressing queries and explaining the organization’s mission and values, interviews strengthen the volunteer’s connection to the cause — to enhance their motivation and loyalty.

Revealing Insights About the Volunteer’s Background

Volunteer interviews let organizations discover potential conflicts of interest or areas needing extra support. This proactive approach ensures the volunteer can contribute effectively without compromising the organization’s integrity or personal goals.

Investing time into interviewing volunteers — from asking volunteer interview questions to sending recruitment emails — is a fundamental step towards optimizing the volunteer experience and achieving organizational goals. Also, it’ll motivate volunteers to feel genuinely engaged and appreciated, leading to better retention rates and more effective volunteer involvement.

Click through to claim your 60-day trial of WildApricot to create effective QR codes that will speed up event check-in.

Steps To Take Before Interviewing Potential Volunteers

Before creating interview questions for volunteers, an organization must undertake several vital preparatory steps to ensure a smooth and effective process.

These steps include:

Conducting Background Checks

Background checks help you ensure that the volunteers meet the ethical and legal standards required by your organization. Doing so safeguards the community and maintains the integrity of your mission. Background checks can verify the identity of volunteers, check their criminal records and make sure that there are no conflicts of interest.

Collecting Basic Contact Information

This step lets you communicate with potential volunteers throughout the recruitment process. It includes obtaining names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. Such information is crucial for scheduling interviews and sending out follow-up information.

Scheduling Interviews

Implementing this step is critical to managing the time of the organization’s staff and volunteers. Set a clear interview timetable to organize the process and show respect for the time commitments of all involved.

Verifying Basic Requirements

This step ensures that volunteers are eligible and suitable for the positions they are applying for. Verify that potential volunteers meet the basic requirements for volunteering, such as age or specific qualifications needed for certain roles.

Use WildApricot for Streamlined Management

Volunteer management software like WildApricot makes these steps easier by storing all candidates’ information in the database. Its centralized database helps organize and access volunteer information and streamlines communication and scheduling.

Try WildApricot free for 60 days to experience how it can enhance volunteer recruitment and management practices.

Volunteer Interview Question Examples

Here are some interview questions for volunteers that you can use to uncover invaluable insights into a volunteer’s motivations, skills and alignment with your mission.

General Interview Questions

These questions provide a broad understanding of the volunteer’s background, interests and personality. They are less specific and more open-ended, helping you create a relaxed atmosphere that encourages candid responses.

Examples of this category include the following:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What do you do for work?
  • What hobbies or interests do you pursue outside of work?
  • Can you describe a recent project or cause you worked on and why it was important to you?
  • How do you like to spend your free time?

Skills and Experience Interview Questions

These questions explore the practical and applicable aspects of a volunteer’s previous roles and accomplishments. By assessing skills and experience, you can place volunteers in roles that can be most effective and satisfying.

Examples of this category include the following:

  • Can you share an experience where you had to use your skills in a team setting?
  • What skills do you feel you could bring to our organization?
  • Describe a challenge you faced in a previous volunteer or work position and how you handled it.
  • Have you received any training or certifications relevant to volunteering with us?
  • Tell me about a project or task you initiated. What was the outcome?

Organization-Based Interview questions

These queries help you assess how well a volunteer’s values, goals and expectations align with your organization’s. Ensuring that volunteers are capable, experienced and deeply connected to your organization’s core mission and culture is crucial. Volunteers who resonate with your mission are more likely to be committed, passionate and long-term contributors.

Examples of this category include the following:

  • Why do you want to volunteer with us?
  • Our organization’s mission is [insert mission]. How does this align with your values?
  • What do you know about our current projects, and which ones interest you the most?
  • Can you tell us about a time when you supported a cause or mission similar to ours?
  • How do you see yourself making a difference within our organization?

Closing Interview Questions

These questions finalize the interview process by focusing on logistical and personal preferences that affect a volunteer’s potential placement and engagement. They help the organization and the volunteer clarify and align expectations regarding their role, availability and interests.

Examples of this category include the following:

  • What is your availability like for volunteering?
  • Which team or role within our organization are you most interested in working with?
  • Do you have any preferences or requirements for your volunteering environment?
  • How long do you anticipate being able to volunteer with us?
  • Do you have any questions for us?

Qualities To Seek During the Volunteer Interview

A suitable set of qualities can indicate whether a volunteer will be a committed and valuable addition to your organization. Consider the following attributes:

Commitment and Motivation

Look for signs of genuine passion and a deep-seated motivation for the cause. Volunteers who speak enthusiastically about their reasons for getting involved and demonstrate a clear understanding of your organization’s mission. These volunteers are more likely to dedicate themselves earnestly to the role.

Alignment with Organizational Values

Listen for responses that echo your core principles and goals. This alignment is often a predictor of a volunteer’s compatibility with your culture and their potential long-term commitment.

Understanding of Role and Goals

Assess whether the volunteer understands the role and how it contributes to the organization’s objectives. Volunteers who know how to contribute are often more effective and proactive.

Tips for a Volunteer Interview

By following these tips, volunteers can confidently approach their interviews, ready to make a positive impression and engage meaningfully with the organization.

  • Dress appropriately: While volunteer positions are often less formal than corporate roles, it’s important to dress professionally for the interview. This shows respect for the organization and signifies your seriousness about the position.
  • Research the organization: Before the interview, take time to learn about the organization’s mission, values and current projects. This will help you tailor your responses and demonstrate your interest and dedication to the cause.
  • Prepare specific examples: When discussing your skills and experience, use specific examples from your past. This makes your answers more concrete and showcases your abilities in a practical context. Illustrate how your background makes you a good fit for the volunteer role.
  • Show your enthusiasm: Let your passion for volunteering and the organization’s mission shine through. Enthusiasm can be decisive, as it often equates to motivation and dedication.
  • Be honest and authentic: Being honest about your skills, experiences and the time you can commit is crucial. Authenticity ensures you are matched with a volunteer role that fits your capabilities and expectations.
  • Be flexible: Show your willingness to take on various roles or tasks as needed. Flexibility is highly valued in volunteer settings where needs can change rapidly.
  • Prepare questions: An interview is a two-way street. Prepare thoughtful questions about the role, the team and what success looks like in the position. This shows your more profound interest in the organization and helps you determine if it’s the right fit for you.

Streamline Your Volunteer Recruitment With WildApricot

Conducting effective volunteer interviews is vital to building a committed and capable volunteer team that aligns with your nonprofit’s mission. By asking the right questions, you can uncover valuable insights into a candidate’s skills, motivations and compatibility with your organization. Ready to streamline your volunteer recruitment process and ensure you select the best candidates? Try WildApricot today. Sign up now for a free 60-day trial to discover how our comprehensive volunteer management software can transform your volunteer program and help you achieve your organizational goals.

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