The interview will give you an insight into the person and should be a two way process, letting you know if this is someone you can work with and the prospective volunteer’s opportunity to see if you are the type of people or organization they want to volunteer with. Will the needs of the organization and the volunteer be mutually beneficial?
Taylor the process to your organization, as well as to the particular opportunity you are interviewing for. This may mean anything from an informal chat to structured interview setting.
Although the application process allows you to inform applicants of Police Information Checks (PIC), the interview is another opportunity to explain the necessity of a PIC. If the potential volunteer is not willing to go through this process you will avoid wasting time. They will probably be honest with you or their reaction will tell you.
The next stage could be giving the person a “hands on” interview, allowing them to work alongside a seasoned volunteer for a shift. This will give the volunteer a good idea of your organization and the actual volunteering. Subsequently, they and you can then make an informed decision as to whether this is the role for them. The length of time a taster session lasts is up to you from a ‘one off’ or several sessions similar to a probation period. This could lead into a more formal interview at which you may wish to go through some of the specific requirements (Please note we acknowledge this will not work in all scenarios) .
Try and give some idea of the timescales that can be involved, especially with the PICs and references.
You should cover the following questions:
- Why the volunteer wants the role;
- What would they like to get out of volunteering?;
- What experience, skills, hobbies do they have that are relevant to the role; and
- What information would they like to know about the role or organization?;
Some of the techniques used in interviewing volunteers and paid employment are similar – structure, techniques and listening skills. However, volunteer interviews offer some unique considerations. At a typical employment interview one knows the position interests them; in a volunteer setting a volunteer may be “shopping” for the potential right fit and a role that interests them. Motivation behind paid work is often just that – the pay. Money is not a motivator for volunteerism, hence other motivators need to be understood and respected.
As well in an interview for a paid position there is usually only one position open at a time and one successful candidate will be chosen. When interviewing for volunteers you may be looking to fill several positions with varying needs, and be able to be more flexible. You may even be able to create a position based on a volunteer you meet.
Try these six simple steps to help you in preparing for an interview:
- Create an information package ;
- Ensure you have a role description;
- Create interview questions;
- Prepare a summary sheet, include a checklist of points you want to cover;
- Review the application for last minute questions and clarification; and
- Schedule a suitable time and location.
Community Sector Council Newfoundland and Labrador