In this article, we will see the Grant Writer Interview Questions and answers.
Grant Writers have become some of the most important people that are needed in every industry today. The job position of a grant writer is not easy to fill, and every company wants the best they can get. Grant Writers can either be freelancers or can be looking for a full-time position at a good firm. In the United States, the average salary of a grant writer is $52,161 per year. According to recent studies, more than half of the grant writers who are working in any of the companies, are more than happy and satisfied with their pay as it also covers their cost of living and provides them with more benefits than they expected.
Due to the many skills this profession needs and the diverse roles the individual needs to follow through, cracking the selection process for this position is not at all easy. The questions are tricky, and sometimes even unexpected. While you cannot predict all kinds of questions that you may be asked, there are a few questions that the board is mandated to ask to judge your knowledge and experience. Given below is a list of more common questions that you are most likely to be asked.
- Tell us about your experience with writing grants.
I have a total of 3 years of experience with writing grants. Initially, I started as a writer for an organization that not only wrote grant proposals but also did work for other technical writing-related departments. When I realized that my real passion lies with grant writing, I started with freelancing work. With this experience, I feel like I have received enough feedback from the organizations I have worked in. In the next job position that I get, I feel I am ready in a way that I have already worked on my weaknesses, and I can use my strengths to gain a competitive advantage in the field.
- What is your process of grant writing? How does it work the best for you?
My process is simple but effective. As part of the company, I will begin by searching for opportunities that will land me with great grant prospects. This will be done through thorough research. I will then reach out to the prospect and discuss with them what we have in mind. I will be happy to answer all their questions, and if they are not interested, I will not prob them further. I will start the real grant writing process with in-depth research and communication with the parties involved. Then comes the writing process. Everything will be compiled into a report and the client will be free to ask us to add on anything they feel has been left out. Finally, I also like to follow up and ask for feedback to make sure we do better next time onwards.
I am not only familiar with this method but it is highly convenient for both the company and the client. It also leaves space for improvement and makes sure the party is satisfied.
- On average, how many grants can you write in 1 year?
I am the kind of person who likes to write multiple federal grants side by side. On the other hand, I like to take short breaks once I am done with multiple grants every 3-4 months. It helps me clear my head and start afresh. I would say I can write a total of 7 grants a year. Like any other professional grant writer, I plan to reach a goal of writing a total of 14 grants in a year. However, I am also open to understanding how the company would like me to work and reach a method that works for us both!
- Do you struggle with meeting deadlines, or would you call it a strength of yours?
I consider meeting deadlines a strength of mine. This is a quality and a much-needed skill that I have developed over time. When I first started as a grant writer, I had hard time meeting deadlines, and this resulted in a lot of chaos and a bad reputation. However, I learned that acquiring the art of meeting deadlines can take you a long way in this profession. For this reason, I challenged myself, and today, I can assure you that meeting deadlines are one of the qualities that I possess.
- How would you describe your review process in a few words?
Firstly, I make sure that I have a separate list of all the important elements and I double/triple check them once my grant proposal is complete. While making notes, I highlight the important pointers, and sometimes even read through more times than needed to understand and get full clarity. Finally, I especially give a few days before the deadline to proofread and go through each word of what I have prepared.
- Suppose you have an extremely challenging client. What will be your strategy for getting information out of them?
Some clients hesitate in giving all the required information for writing a federal grant. While we have various resources where that can be contacted for information, the process is often extremely time-taking and sometimes, not accurate. To tackle this problem, I make sure that I build a healthy relationship with my client before beginning the whole process. Apart from briefing them beforehand about how these few months will plan out, I make sure they are comfortable enough to give me the information required.
- As an individual grant writer, how would you charge your clients?
Even though I have never worked as an individual grant writer, I would make sure the fee I charge is reasonable and accepted by both parties. Depending on my experience and qualification, I would charge within a range of $40-$60 on an hourly basis. There will be a small fee for resubmission and compilation too.
- What is the one mistake that you made as a grant writer, and how did you correct it?
In the recent years of my profession, I often made the mistake of not following up. I learned from my mistake when the client tried to reach me because he wanted a minor change in the proposal. I realized the importance of following up and making sure that the other party is happy and satisfied with my work. Now, I have made it a habit to follow up once the grant has been finalized, and additionally also ask for feedback.
- How much time would it take you to complete writing a federal grant from scratch?
In my experience, the time it takes me to complete federal grants largely depends on the amount of information I have, and the number of pages that I need to write. While grants with a few pages and limited information take about 4-5 weeks, others can take up to 2-3 months. Additionally, there also exist the kind of grant proposals where there is too little information and it takes more time to research and gather sufficient information.
- We believe in the constant polishing of skills. What is your process of improving your skills as a grant writer?
I believe in the same. I also feel that the best way to polish my skills is by working continuously and learning from my mistakes. While theory plays a major role in polishing skills, I have freelanced in 7+ organizations and have not only improved but also gotten significantly better at grant writing. Moreover, I have made it a habit to read the communication and business relationship-related articles from the Harvard Business Review and use their plus points in my professional work too.
What are the Roles and Duties of a Grant Writer?
Many feel that the job description of a grant writer is not too hard to fulfill. However, this is a myth and it is only when you have experienced the various tasks grant writers are entrusted with, you realize that their job goes well beyond just writing. From understanding the perspective of the client to preparing a grant that aligns with all guidelines of the company, it is a long and tedious process. Before you choose this as your profession, be sure that you are well aware of your roles and duties.
- Writing effective, practical, and compelling grant proposals
- Communicating with the client and getting clarity on their needs and requirements.
- Creating annual reports and presentations related to different choices the clients may have.
- Maintaining accurate and complete records of all the proposed and drafted grants.
- Searching for grant opportunities and funding organizations that may be suitable.
- Periodically following-up with funding organizations on the status of the grants proposed.
- Preparing financial budgets for grant applications.
What are the skills needed to be a Grant Writer?
The primary skill needed to ace this job position or even qualify for the same is to have a flair for writing. The habit of constantly polishing your skills to keep up with the constant changes and the type of writing styles that keep getting important in this industry is extremely important. However, there is a whole different skill set apart from this that is needed for the individual to club with their writing skills, and become a suitable candidate as a grant writer. Here are the must-have skills that you need to acquire and learn over time –
- Effective Communication: There needs to be no misunderstanding between you and the client. Make sure you leave no information incomplete.
- Practical Thinking: Writing grants requires common sense and strictly stating facts. The individual will focus on both the strengths and weaknesses, coming up with a practical solution.
- Building Healthy Relationships – It will often be that both you and your client will have conflicting opinions, putting the work temporarily on hold. It is you who needs to think from both sides and put a mutual solution on the table.
- Knowledge of the Industry: If you are not constantly in sync and aware of the changing trends and preferences of the market, your grants will not be worth much.
Be it a non-profit or a profit organization, all kinds of companies today require a grant writer. Since this job position has recently gained the value it deserves, the interview process is constantly changing. Be updated with the recent trends of the industry and the competitors of the company you are going to interview at. Just in case, also be ready with a strategy and how your grant writing process will set you apart from other leading individuals in the same job position.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is grant writing a good career option?
Since there has been a significant increase in the number of non-profit organizations all across the US, the need for grant writers has also increased. Even if you are not experienced and are looking for a company that will hire you, you still have chances of getting hired through freelancing. According to statistics, there will be an average of 8% increase in the job outlook for grant writers by the year 2028.
- Can we be asked to write/do a practical assignment on the spot, amidst our interview?
Even though this varies from company to company, most interviews only require you to answer the questions that are asked. Even though there may be a separate step in the selection process where you are required to sit and write a practical, interviews are mostly based on understanding your personality and judging whether you are right for the job position.
- What other careers can be said to be similar to grant writing?
Every career is different in its way. However, there are a few other professions that can more or less be clubbed with grant writing. These similar professions include authors, editors, fundraising managers, content writers, public relations heads, and other such individuals that are in the same industry.
- What is the salary of a grant writer? Do they enjoy any benefits?
The average salary of a grant writer per year is $52,161. Apart from the pay, there are a variety of benefits that they are offered. These include health insurance, life insurance, flexible working hours, paid time off, employee assistance programs, and much more.