Interviewing is an important part of the volunteer application process and is an integral part of volunteer screening.
A personal interview is one of the best ways to get to know an applicant and can help to ensure that the volunteer is matched to the best job for their skill set, interests and personality.
Another advantage of interviewing volunteer candidates is that it helps the organization get to know the volunteer.
The volunteer also becomes connected to the organization on a personal level when they have the opportunity to sit down and chat with the Volunteer Manager.
Interviewing a volunteer should be as structured and organized as interviewing a job candidate. The person performing the interview should take the time to review the application and volunteer job description that the candidate is applying for.
This preparation helps to ensure an efficient conversation and communicates that the organization values its volunteers by being prepared.
How to Prepare For the Interview
The goal is to make the applicant feel comfortable and relaxed so they are more inclined to be themselves.
- Schedule the interview in a neutral office or conference room. Maybe even the local coffee shop.
- Give them an approximate time for the interview to begin and end. Most people won’t ask but it is good to let them know what they can expect.
- When they arrive welcome them to the meeting room and offer them a beverage and comfortable seating.
- Begin the conversation by thanking them for coming in to meet and gradually begin asking them questions.
Keep in mind that this is a volunteer position so try to avoid making it feel like a job interview.
Example Volunteer Interview Questions
- How long have you been attending ABC Church?
- Please tell me how you learned of this volunteer position.
- Tell me why you would like to volunteer for ABC Church.
- Why are are interested in this particular volunteer position?
- Can you give me an example of another volunteer position you had and the responsibilities you had in that position?
- Do you have any physical limitations for jobs that require physical activity?
- Tell me how you typically resolve conflict.
- What are some tasks that you enjoy doing?
- What are some tasks that you would prefer not to do?
- What hobbies do you have?
- What do you do for a living?
- How would your friends and family describe you?
- When can you begin your volunteer job?
- Do you have any questions for me?
Interview questions will vary depending on the volunteer job and the background of the applicant. The most important aspect of the interview is getting to know the person and spending some time interacting to learn about their likes, dislikes and personality.
A well designed volunteer management program will do a good job of recruiting, interviewing and placing volunteers to help the organization achieve its mission. But more importantly, it will help match a volunteer with the job that is best suited for them.
If you would like to learn more about managing volunteers you can check out our book Smart Volunteer Management, available on Amazon.
photo by: TerryChay
Article originally posted December 2012, updated August 2015.