Strategy for Interviewing Potential Volunteers
Use these five steps as a guide to interviewing potential volunteers.

1. Review and prepare

  • Review the candidate’s application and resume - note accomplishments, gaps,
  • Prepare a variety of questions to ask them (see next page)

2. Welcome them

  • Greet them when they arrive, smile, shake hands, take their coat
  • Break the ice by commenting on the weather, traffic, etc
  • Offer them a drink (water/coffee/tea)
  • Consider using their resume to discuss a mutual area of interest (arts, sports,)
  • Lead them to a private office, close the door, say no to telephone interruptions.

3. Conduct the Interview:

  • Explain that you’ll be taking notes to ensure accurate record of their information
  • Review their volunteer job description to refresh their memory
  • Ask to see pertinent info: valid driver’s license, computer diploma, etc.
  • Ask a variety of open-ended questions to get the candidate talking
  • Make note of any gaps in information/risk factors*
  • Let them know it is all right to pause and think before answering questions (“It isn’t always easy recalling incidents that happened a while ago....”)

4. Close the interview:

  • Let them ask questions of you. (Helps indicate their level of interest)
  • Tell them you will be checking their references before making an offer
  • Ask them if they are still interested in the position
  • Let them know when to expect a call and follow through on that promise
  • Thank them for coming in, shake hands, and lead them out of the office.

5. Evaluate:

  • Review their responses and determine whether or not to continue screening them. Trust your instincts - make a list of pluses and minuses if you’re not sure.
  • List potential concerns, and make sure these are addressed in reference checks or during a second interview.
  • Determine which references to call and what to ask them. Schedule these ASAP.

*Risk factors/ poor suitability: gaps in history, lots of moves, applicant’s location (too far away), choice of references, inconsistencies, gut feeling, prejudiced remarks, values and beliefs different from organization’s.