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30+ Volunteer Interview Questions Every Organization Should Ask (With Example Answers)
Rosterfy have pulled together 30 great interview questions you should ask when recruiting and screening your volunteers.
The importance of volunteer interviews
For volunteers, one of the most common complaints is that they are being underutilized in a role that doesn’t suit them. While organizations are always struggling with the two Rs: recruitment and retention.
So by taking a bit of extra time at the start to get to know a potential volunteer during recruitment, you can solve both problems at once. You will be able to better understand what motivates volunteers and what skills and talents they can bring to your organization.
This can help you place them in a role that suits them and matches their skills. By feeling valued and respected, the volunteer will be more likely to stay involved for longer, thus improving your organization's retention rate.
Ultimately, taking the time to conduct volunteer interviews will ensure both parties get the most out of the volunteer experience.
How do you conduct a volunteer interview?
Before you reach the interview stage, you will need a way of collecting volunteer applications and conducting background checks.
Rosterfy’s volunteer management solution makes it easy for you to handle the whole process online. Create a simple registration form to collect basic personal info and ask questions about skills and availability that can help you screen out unsuitable volunteers that don't meet the minimum criteria. Then share it on your website or social media channels. That way, all volunteers are automatically added to your database, and you can see everything in one place.
From there, you can easily conduct background checks through our built-in integration. A volunteer background check is an important step when recruiting volunteers, and it can help keep everyone safe. If your organization has any dealings with children, then you may also want to ensure volunteers have a working with children check.
Once the volunteer has met the above criteria, then they are ready to be interviewed.
Invite your potential volunteer to meet with you in person or virtually (if you are conducting the interview virtually, make sure they have the right technology in advance) at a suitable time. Half an hour should be plenty of time to complete the interview. Rosterfy’s allows you to integrate tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to schedule and conduct online interviews easily with your remote workforce.
If you are short of time, you may also like to conduct group interviews. Try to keep the group small, no more than five people, so everyone still has time to introduce themselves and ask questions.
A volunteer interview shouldn’t be an interrogation, more like a conversation where you get to know each other and make sure you share the same values. Introduce yourself, the volunteer opportunity and the organization, making a point to highlight how volunteers help deliver your goals. You may even like to have another volunteer join the interview to share their insights.
After that, invite the volunteer to introduce themselves and give a bit of background information. Then it’s time to begin the questions. We’ve made a list of helpful questions you could ask below, so it’s important to choose the ones that match your goals of the interview, and don’t pick too many as you will definitely run out of time! And remember to always give the volunteer a chance at the end to ask their own questions.
How to measure the value of your volunteer program
Can you measure the impact you're making? Do you know the value each volunteer has towards your volunteer program?
Discover the secrets to uncovering the true impact and worth of your volunteer program in our exclusive White Paper. Gain valuable insights on how to measure the value each volunteer brings, and why it is essential to do so.
Example volunteer interview questions and answers
10 general interview questions for volunteers
1. Why do you want to volunteer with our organization?
The answer should be honest and cover their motivations, passions and interests that drew them to your organization.A good response: “I would love to volunteer with your organization because I share similar values in wanting to protect the environment, and I believe that focusing on reducing waste is a great place to start. I’m also looking forward to getting more involved with the local community and meeting like-minded people.”
2. What makes you a good fit for this position?
Look out for answers that talk about skills that you may be looking for, while at the same time recognizing some people might be looking for a way to learn new skills.
A good response. “I have always been interested in this on a personal level, recycling, reusing and composting at home, and I would like to help spread awareness within the community. I have some spare time each week that I can commit to, and I am happy to help out in a variety of areas. Plus, my professional skills in management might come in handy if you need additional help in the organizational side of things.”
3. What do you know about our organization?
You want the volunteer to demonstrate that they have taken the initiative and done some initial research into what you do - as this means they are already committed to your goals and values.
A good response. “I have followed you on social media for a while, and I really like seeing inside the organization. I also read an article that was recently featured in the local newspaper about how you started and the call-out for more volunteers, which is what made me apply. I know a few other people who already volunteer here, and they have said it’s been a really positive experience.”
4. What motivates you?
Since volunteers won’t be receiving payment, it’s important you find out what is their motivation for joining. This can also help you shape your recognition and rewards program.
A good response. “I am motivated by seeing positive outcomes, and meeting and interacting with people gives me energy to keep going. I enjoy working in a team, and I am motivated to work hard for people in my team and support them. I am also motivated to use my time wisely and make the community a better place for everyone who lives here.”
5. What do you hope to get out of the volunteering experience?
Keep an ear out for any specific skills or experience the volunteer is looking to gain and use this info to place them in a suitable role.
A good response. “I hope to use my skills of problem solving, teamwork and management to help grow your organization and deliver an even greater impact. I also hope to feel like a valuable member of the team, and meet like-minded people. “
6. What is your greatest strength? How does it help you volunteer?
This question is a good opportunity to understand your volunteer a bit better, and take note of any strengths that you could use to help grow your organization.
A good response. “My greatest strength is my passion to continue learning and growing. I always seek to experience new things, learn from other people and then use those learnings to become a better person. I believe this will help me as a volunteer as I am open-minded and am prepared for any challenges that I may encounter.”
7. How much time can you dedicate each week/month/year to volunteering with our organization?
This is an essential question and one that should not be missed as it will help you shape your rosters. Always try to find a way to optimize the number of people you can bring into your organization.
Tip: Answer the question as honestly as possible, regardless of your circumstances. Don’t say you can give 20 hours a week if it’s really only an occasional weekend, as you may end up letting the organization down.
8. Do you have any questions?
Giving volunteers an opportunity to ask questions is an important part of the interviewing process. Listen to their questions and answer them as honestly as possible.Tip: This is your chance to find out more about the organization. Great questions include:
- What sort of roles do you see me doing?
- Are there social events for volunteers?
- Do you offer any training courses?
9. Do you have any barriers to volunteering that we can help with?
This question shows volunteers that you are committed to helping them, and it also enables you to reach a group of volunteers who may otherwise have been excluded due to certain barriers.Tip: Answer this question as honestly as possible, as the organization will most likely go out of their way to help you come on board. If you don’t have transport, maybe there’s another volunteer who lives nearby who could give you a lift, or if you have to leave early to pick up children, this is your chance to talk about that.
10. Are there any physical restrictions you may have? If so, how can we help?
This question shows volunteers that you are committed to helping them, and it also enables you to reach a group of diverse volunteers who can help you reach even more people in the community.Tip: If you have any physical restrictions, such as trouble hearing, walking or carrying heavy items, make sure you tell the interviewer. By sharing this information, they will be able to place you in a role that suits your abilities.
What questions will I be asked at a volunteer interview?
Here are a few more common volunteer interview questions for specific volunteer settings.
Common hospital volunteer interview questions
- Why do you want to volunteer in a hospital?
- How comfortable are you with sitting with sick patients?
- What experience do you have in a hospital or medical setting?
- What would you do if faced with an unhappy patient?
- What would you do if a patient shared private information with you?
- Describe a time you made someone smile.
Common youth volunteers interview questions
- Why do you want to volunteer?
- Are there any specific skills or learning outcomes you hope to get out of the experience?
- How often are you available?
- Do you have any other commitments?
- Describe a time you went out of your way to help someone.
Common animal and outdoor volunteer interview questions
- What is your physical fitness level?
- Are you comfortable dealing with messy situations like cleaning cages?
- Why are you interested in working with animals?
- What experience do you have with animals?
- Describe a time you felt really connected to nature.
Common police volunteer interview questions
- What do you like most about police volunteer work?
- How does your work experience relate to the role of a police officer?
- Tell me about a time you had to make a tough decision
- Do you have any personal connection with the police?
- How would you stay motivated on long shifts?
Interview tips for volunteers
Interviews are always a little nerve-racking, whether it’s for a volunteer role or staff role. But doing a little preparation can help calm those nerves and make you feel more in control. So we’ve got a few tips to help you prepare for a volunteer interview.
Preparing for an interview for a volunteer position
When preparing for an interview for a volunteer position, you should always do your own research before you begin. You should research and prepare:
- The company culture and policies
- Their mission and determine how that aligns with your values
- An introduction about yourself
- The key points you hope to make during the interview
- Any volunteer questions you want to ask the organization
If you are doing the interview face-to-face, make sure you’ve checked how long it will take you to get there and timetables if you plan on using public transport.
If you are doing a virtual interview, always check your tech equipment the day before, so you have time to reset or install anything you might need to. Try to position yourself in a quiet space with good, natural lighting.
As with any interview, it's important to dress smartly, be on time, and be polite and courteous.
Your resume should quickly and clearly show why you are a great fit for the volunteer position. If you have any related paid work or volunteer work, make sure you add that, as well as any achievements to your resume.
Tip: If you're looking to make your resume stand out, why not try Canva, which has a number of great free resume templates to use.
Volunteer interviews are a key step to running a more effective volunteer management program. The process will help you recruit the right candidates who are committed to your goals, helping improve your retention rate and overall impact.
If you want to learn more, check out our article on the top 10 qualities to look for when recruiting.
Once you’ve completed the interview process, you can begin onboarding any successful volunteers. Rosterfy’s volunteer management solution streamlines the onboarding process by automating the training and rostering process. Volunteers can manage their own details, upload documents and apply for shifts in their very own volunteer portal.
Rosterfy allows volunteers to register for shifts when they want, based on their specific skill set. It allows for personalized and consistent communications that ensure that volunteers are engaged from start to finish, and it allows you to offer some great additions to your program including reward and recognition and training.