5 Questions to Ask in a Volunteer InterviewCarol Walton Oct 11, 2022 9:08 AM Illustration by Marian Blair
This article has been adapted from the Idealistas Blog .
You’ve finally received an email reply regarding that dream volunteering opportunity you applied for. Sweet! As you read on, you see that you’ll be scheduled for an interview as part of the application process. “But I thought interviews were only for job applicants.”
In fact, screening is an integral part of the volunteering process as it offers a chance to showcase your fit for the role as well as your alignment with the organization’s mission. One way to stand out is to ask solid questions when prompted at the end of the interview. Asking questions will help you clarify what you’ll be doing, provide further detail about the organization's mission and goals, and will also help demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position.
Below are five questions to ask during your interview:
How is the organization's work structured?
Asking this question can inform you of who’s who within the organization. This way, you will know who to contact for what and will also get a complete picture of the organization beyond the work you’ll be supporting.
Can you describe what “success” would mean for a volunteer in this position?
By getting these specific details about the position, as well as potential goals and timelines, you can determine if you want to pursue it further and whether you’re interested and can make a real commitment as a volunteer.
How much time will I need to commit?
Before accepting a volunteer position, it’s crucial that you assess how much time you can realistically commit. Can you show up for a role that requires a certain number of hours per week, or are you only able to volunteer for a few hours monthly?
Will I work alone or with others?
Volunteering not only offers you the opportunity to work on an issue you care about, but it can also be a great way to network. Interacting with other volunteers and staff can be a great way to explore possible future career opportunities.
What is the volunteer training process?
Some organizations offer orientations to introduce volunteers to the culture, procedures, and policy and to teach them the specifics of the task(s) they will take on. The orientation may even be a part of the interview screening process. Getting adequate training can help ensure that your time and experience are being applied efficiently and effectively. If training is not provided, ask to shadow another volunteer familiar with the procedures of the role for guidance.
Carol Walton is a Community Organizer at Idealist. She connects our community of idealists with opportunities to volunteer and take action in their area.