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Volunteer Interview
Questions

25 Questions and Answers by
| Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 25

We greatly appreciate our volunteers. How do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments?

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Volunteer Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    We greatly appreciate our volunteers. How do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments?

      We all like to be recognized in some way for our accomplishments. Share with the interviewer how you would want to be known for your hard work.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I am very much an over-achiever and find that the best way for me to be recognized for a job well done is to be given words of kindness and recognition. I am easily encouraged, and the best reward for me is to know that my hard work is being noticed."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I am very simple. I do not require any formal recognition, but kind words from my supervisor will keep me motivated and working hard."

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  2. 2.

    We encourage our volunteers to come to us with cost-saving ideas. Tell me about an idea you implemented at your last job.

      Non-profit organizations are looking for multi-talented volunteers. The interviewer would like to know if you are the type of volunteer who would be proactive if you noticed room for change. Think of some ways you have made an impact at work. When you see something that could be improved, do you take action? Provide an example that shows you have a high level of engagement, and the required confidence to recommend a change.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "In my most recent position I suggested that we eliminate the use of fax machines by better utilizing our company technology and shared servers. I calculated the cost-savings for my boss, and it turns out that it saved us over $500/month on paper. Not to mention the environmental impact."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "In my previous role, I was responsible for merchandising our department's floor. I decided it would be more cohesive to also collaborate with the surrounding departments, and pitched the idea to the other managers and staff. They loved it, so I was responsible for leading a team to collaborate on a bi-weekly theme and work together to develop and execute that vision."

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  3. 3.

    What do you know about our organization's culture?

      Culture and fit is a significant factor to an interviewer and interviewee alike. Assure the interviewer that you have put thought, research, and consideration into how the culture at this non-profit will be a fit for you.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have researched your organization through your social media channels and on glassdoor.com. Your employees and volunteers have great things to say, and overall it seems that you have fun while you work. I am looking forward to joining an organization, like yours, that is upbeat and thoughtful with an eye on helping the community at the same time."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I read many positive reviews online about your organization and culture. You offer great incentives to keep people motivated, and it seems to be the type of fast-paced environment that values innovation and performance. My type of place!"

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  4. 4.

    What keeps you motivated on the tough days?

      The interviewer wants to know how they can motivate you during the tougher days. Do you need words of appreciation? Public accolades? A pat on the back? What keeps you going when things get rough? This would be a great time to share how serving others is a motivation in itself. The interviewer is looking for qualities they want to see in a member of their team. Service, interaction with the people you're serving, having fun with your team... those are all excellent examples.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I'm not looking for a specific reward from your organization, simply being involved in a team setting, making friends, and knowing that I am making an impact on those in need, will be rewarding enough!"

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I am internally motivated. When I feel like my time and energy is making a positive difference, it makes me want to keep going."

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  5. 5.

    Do others view you as a role model?

      The interviewer wants to know if you are a leader and if others see you that way as well. Talk about initiatives and accomplishments, your key personality traits, or your presence within your community.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I recently started a workout club, three days a week, with my friends. They admire me for my discipline, and we have been able to motivate each other by being consistent and showing up to work out together."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I hope to be seen as a role model because I strive to be a strong example in everything that I do. One way I position my self as a role model is to be the first to try new things, and take a chance on myself and others."

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  6. 6.

    Why do you like helping others?

      The interviewer wants to know what drives you to help others. This question is a further test, by the interviewer, to convince themselves that you have a passion behind your volunteering ambitions.

      Interviewers are trying to avoid picking candidates from the crowd of people who say, 'Well my Mom told me I should help volunteer...' or 'I heard this is a great place to make friends.' Sure making friends is great, but most would instead choose a candidate that volunteers because they are passionate about what the organization provides to the community.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I love helping others, especially the elderly because there is a great joy in being a servant for those in need. Your organization helps the people who I care most about, and I would love to be a part of it."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "Helping others is my innate nature. It is part of the fabric of who I am. I think it has a lot to do with how I was raised. My mother always volunteered her time to local causes and feeding the homeless. I was brought up with this value at the forefront of living, and it has been a rewarding part of my life ever since!"

  7. 7.

    Tell me about your work history and how it relates to your work here as a volunteer.

      The interviewer wants you to bring your resume to life for them. If you have worked several different jobs, focus on the ones that pertain to this role. Think about ways you can transfer the skills from previous jobs and apply them to this volunteer position.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have spent the past five years working in a human resources position. I focus on tasks such as recruiting and administration. Through these experiences, I have developed a passion for helping others find jobs. I look forward to applying those skills here, as a volunteer coordinator."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I have been working as a maintenance supervisor for the past fifteen years. Part of my reason for volunteering is to gain some variety in my day to day experiences. I look forward to helping others and giving back to the community."

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  8. 8.

    What are your expectations for this volunteer position?

      Do your research before meeting with this organization. How much do you know about the opportunity? The interviewer wants to know if this volunteer role will meet your needs, as well as theirs. You can also ask questions if there is anything you're not clear about.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I expect that I'll be working with elderly, taking them for walks and assisting them on outings. I'm looking forward to working with others who are passionate about helping the elderly. Are there any other major proponents of this role that you would like to share?"

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I expect to make a difference in the community and come across meaningful experiences with fellow volunteers or those we are giving to. I also expect to put in hard work, and I am excited to do so!"

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  9. 9.

    What is your greatest strength? How does it help you as a volunteer?

      The interviewer wants to get to know you more to ensure you are a good fit. Think to the consistent compliments that you receive from your co-workers or previous managers. These are likely your biggest strengths!

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I am disciplined. I work hard and stay focused on the task at hand. My consistency makes me reliable and gives others confidence in me."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "My greatest strength is giving to others. This comes in handy in my volunteer work because I will always find the resources needed to support the organization for which I volunteer."

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  10. 10.

    How much time would you like spend in a volunteer role?

      The interviewer would like to know the extent of your commitment. Make sure you know your schedule before answering this question. Consider asking them a question to clarify their needs before you let them know what you can offer.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "How many volunteer hours are you looking for? I can be flexible, but I know that I can for sure offer 16 hours a week."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "That is a great question! I would like to volunteer as much as I can. How much time are you looking for a volunteer?"

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  11. 11.

    How would your current co-workers describe your attention to detail?

      It is always best to support your reply with a real-life example. Talk to the interviewer about your level of attentiveness when it comes to details on the job.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "My co-workers would describe my attention to detail as very strong. I can very easily point out spelling discrepancies in communication and will notice the small things. I think big-picture as well but have always had a knack for details."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "My attention to detail is a point that I have been working on a lot this past year. I am meticulous but, in the past, have pushed my documentation back a little bit. It's something I am conscious of and continually working on."

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  12. 12.

    Being a volunteer, have you ever felt your work went unappreciated?

      You can be honest here. If you have found this to be a true statement, explain the circumstances and why you felt that way. It is likely that, at some point, you may feel unappreciated, so the interviewer wants to know how you will respond to feelings like that.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I worked as a volunteer when there was a flood in my hometown. My responsibilities included dispatching volunteers to different neighborhoods. I spent long hours for the first week making sure everyone was cared for. There were moments where I didn't feel appreciated for the long hours put in, but I knew the value of my work and how many people I was helping. So, I kept on doing my thing!"

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I don't necessarily look for appreciation so I would say that I have never noticed any blatant un-appreciation in past volunteer work. I do what I do for others. Not for the recognition."

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  13. 13.

    What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?

      The interviewer wants to see if you the have self-awareness required to understand your weaknesses. Knowing the areas in which you can improve, is a sign of maturity. Share something that you have taken the time to reflect on. Maybe you made a mistake by moving too quickly through a project, and not paying attention to detail. Whatever it may be, show your ability to adapt and change from the mistakes or behaviors that didn't serve you in the past.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I tend to be a people pleaser. In the past, I have said 'yes' before looking at my schedule, and I have overcommitted myself. Now whenever my boss asks me to do something, I let him know I need to check to make sure I have the bandwidth. This practice has saved me from taking on too much and overworking myself."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "My greatest weakness is caring too much about the small details. It can be easy to care a great deal about the minute details. I have worked on this by ensuring that I remind myself of the big picture."

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  14. 14.

    What do you do during your free time?

      The interviewer wants to see if you are a good culture fit. Would you go out for drinks with the team after work? Would you want to play ultimate frisbee for a team activity? Share an answer that shows you are a team player.

      You are interviewing for a volunteer position, so be sure to show how passionate you are about helping others. Keep your answer simple. They don't need to know everything you like to do on the weekends or evenings, but if there is something you think is worth sharing, that might spark the interest of the interviewer, do share. Be interesting and memorable.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I enjoy spending time outdoors. I often take my dog Oscar to the local park. Also, I volunteer at the local animal shelter on Saturday mornings."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "When I am not working or volunteering, I am usually found reading. I value self-improvement and spent a great deal of time reading a variety of materials and listening to podcasts."

      View answer examples for this question >

  15. 15.

    Which organizations are you currently involved with?

      What are you doing to give back to your community? If you're not currently involved in an organization, share how you are making a positive impact in your community or your family.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I'm working with an organization that teaches kids about nature. I enjoy it because I care about the environment and I love working with kids. It's good to know that by educating them I'm empowering them to make a difference in their communities."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "If you're not involved in an organization, consider this, "I started a book club with my friends. Every month we choose a book that teaches us more about the world we live in. It has been a great way to build community and learn about different cultures."

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  16. 16.

    What skills and qualifications do you have that will help you as a volunteer?

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  17. 17.

    What kind of people do you most enjoy working with?

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  18. 18.

    Why do you want to be a volunteer in our organization?

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  19. 19.

    What has been your most rewarding volunteer experience?

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  20. 20.

    What volunteer work have you done in the past?

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  21. 21.

    Would you say you are a better verbal or written communicator?

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  22. 22.

    Our organization sees a great deal of social and economic diversity. When have you worked with a diverse group of people?

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  23. 23.

    We want our volunteers to come to us with creative ideas. Tell me about a time when you took a creative approach to solving a problem.

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  24. 24.

    Our volunteers need to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Have you ever broken a confidentiality agreement?

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  25. 25.

    Where did you find out about our volunteer program?

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