You must really care about working for a good cause if you are looking to be a volunteer coordinator, and for that, we congratulate you. However, simply having good intentions is not good enough. You must possess some specific skills to be a good volunteer coordinator. You’ll have to go through an interview to get selected as one, and in case you’re wondering what to expect, we’ve got you all covered. Here in this article, we take a look at some of the Volunteer Coordinator Interview Questions asked for the role of a volunteer coordinator and the ideal ways of answering them.
Volunteer Coordinators mostly work for Non-Governmental and Charity organizations. Their primary responsibility includes organizing and scheduling new and existing volunteers for suitable volunteering roles and opportunities while adhering to the principle values of the volunteer organization. Volunteer coordinators are required to work with various people, often from different cultural backgrounds, and act as their point of contact, their go-to person, within the organization. They are expected to possess certain skills, such as communication and people skills, organization and management skills, etc., and already having some degree of experience in this line f work is definitely a plus.
Volunteer Coordinator Interview Questions
Volunteer coordinators also need to have an adequate grip on knowledge of current affairs, especially for matters related to the cause their organization is working for, and display a marked passion for volunteering and donating their time and energy for that cause. Therefore, an interview for such a role will be conducted to test whether the candidate has the requisite skillset, knowledge, and passion, and the questions asked will assess the candidate on these grounds. We have prepared a list of such possible questions and the ways n which a candidate can approach them, which we believe will give the reader a clear idea of what to expect in the interview. Let’s check them out:
- Have you ever used a recruitment database to recruit volunteers?
This is a test of experience, as the interviewer would like to see if the candidate already has some experience in volunteering and coordinating other volunteers. An experienced candidate will not need a lot of training from the organization and will be an asset. Knowing about databases and their role in recruitment means that a candidate will already have some useful contacts which can come in handy on this job. Even if the candidate has not used databases previously, they will do well to demonstrate that they are willing to learn on the job and have a basic working knowledge of databases and their use in recruitment. We recommend that the candidate read up on databases to anticipate this question before appearing for the interview?
- What motivated you to work for this cause?
Being motivated is an integral part of volunteer work. Every member of a volunteer organization must have a certain degree of dedication to the particular cause that the organization works for. This question will also test the candidate’s knowledge of current affairs. Simply stating that they think the cause to be significant in today’s context may not cut the deal, though many times, the interviewer looks for some personal anecdotes from the candidate. A good story about someone close to them showing them how volunteering can help make a difference, or about someone close to them the candidate is indeed motivated. For example, if it is an NGO working to provide free treatment to underprivileged victims of a particular disease, the candidate can talk about a patient of that particular disease whom they know or used to know. However, it is important to be honest, and not exaggerate any details.
- Why do you want to work for our organization?
A good candidate will do some basic research about the organization before showing up for an interview role with them. The interviewer knows that the candidate cares about the cause the organization stands for. The candidate should also be able to show that they have some rudimentary knowledge about the organization and the work it does, including the areas they operate in, the types of people they help, their mission and vision statements, etc. we strongly recommend going through the company website to get a clear idea of what they are all about. The candidate should be able to say what they like about the organization and what makes them think they are doing good.
- How would you work with a volunteer with no volunteering experience?
This question is asked to see if the candidate has the requisite organizational and people skills for the job. An inexperienced volunteer will need some on-the-job training, and it will be the volunteer coordinator’s responsibility to ensure that they learn what they need to function efficiently while dealing with their busy schedule at the same time. Also, working with an inexperienced volunteer will require patience and commitment to ensure that the work gets done, but the volunteer learns something on the way also. The candidate should display the ability to manage new volunteers and talk about how they would try and ensure that they have everything they need by having one-on-one sessions with them if necessary and checking up on them from time to time. This will convince the interviewer that the candidate can be trusted with handling newer recruits.
- What do you look for while hiring volunteers?
The interviewer wants to see what kind of standards the candidate has in looking for prospective volunteers and whether those standards align with the broad values and vision that the organization embodies. A candidate who is an experienced volunteer coordinator can point out the boxes they tick when interviewing volunteers. For candidates who do not possess enough experience in this regard, we recommend talking to some current members of the organization before the interview to get a good idea of what they expect from their volunteers, and then construct their answer in a way that highlights how the things they look for are in tandem with the organization values. A candidate who can clearly understand the necessary skills that would suit the organization would be looked upon favorably.
- How would you motivate or reward people who work for no pay?
A volunteer organization is made of a very high number of people working without any pay. While it is understandable that people who volunteer are passionate about a cause, the absence of any pay makes it necessary to develop other means of motivation. Answering this question properly would require some knowledge of volunteering motivation and ideas, coupled with good people skills and the ability to think creatively. A candidate who understands what volunteers expect to gain from a volunteering program and how to deliver it to them seamlessly will be considered for the job. A common example would be volunteering certification. Many motivated students volunteer with charity organizations because it gives them a certificate of volunteering, which is valuable to them. Promising certification which can help them later on with their career is definitely a good way of attracting and motivating young volunteers.
- How would you deal with an underperforming volunteer?
Being a volunteer coordinator requires good management skills. Often, the candidate can be faced with underperforming volunteers, and the interviewer would like to know how they would go about in such a situation, as this is something integral to the job. There could be multiple reasons why a volunteer might be underperforming, from a lack of motivation to disregard their supervisor’s instructions. A good volunteer coordinator should detect when a volunteer is not giving their best at the job and talk them out of their incompetence. Since the interviewer wants to assess the candidate’s interpersonal and problem-solving skills, the candidate should ideally talk about how they would sit down with the troubled volunteer and try to find out what is bothering them. And if there is something wrong on the part of the volunteer, then the candidate should be able to deal with them without compromising on the organization’s interests, which may include letting the particular candidate go.
- How would you handle conflict within volunteers?
One of the biggest impediments to the smooth functioning of an organization is an unnecessary interpersonal conflict between volunteers. Such conflict can sometimes prove to be dangerous and threaten to slow down the work in progress, and it is the responsibility of an able volunteer coordinator to put an end to it before it goes out of hand. Sometimes, conflict can arise from serious causes, or maybe a result of a minor misunderstanding. Whatever the reason may be, the candidate should answer on the lines of always being approachable to volunteers and ready to sit down with the disgruntled parties arrive at a feasible compromise. The interviewer would like to know that the candidate has it in them to ensure the smooth functioning of the organization without letting small skirmishes get in the way.
- What, in your opinion, makes an ideal leader?
The purpose of this question is to understand what ideals the candidate looks up to while fulfilling their role as a leader and whether the organization would benefit from having such a person in a leadership role. The image of an ideal leader that the candidate has in their mind will obviously be the one they shall try to emulate, and the interviewer needs to know what that is. Apart from listing some of the general characteristics that a good leader should have, the candidate should also highlight some aspects of leadership specific to this role, such as organization skills, communication, interpersonal skills, problem-solving abilities, etc. This will convince the interviewer that the candidate will be a good fit for the role in front of them.
- What do you see happening in the next five years with regard to the cause we work for?
A good leader needs to have a vision. Someone who already has volunteer experience and possesses sufficient knowledge about the cause they have worked for and the organization they have applied to will have their own vision to offer as to what they see happening in the future, as to whether they see the problem they are working to solve reducing in magnitude or the danger increasing. If they see the problem growing in size, they should also be able to list some measures that should be adopted to tackle the undesirable change. The interviewer will be impressed with a candidate who can articulate their opinions well, which will indicate that they are indeed passionate about the cause.
Unlike a regular job, being a volunteer coordinator requires that extra dose of commitment to the job at hand as the work being done is not for profit but a greater cause. The skills and experience required are similar to that of a manager at a corporate organization, but one needs more zeal and conviction. If you’re reading this article, then the chances are that you have already decided that you want to dedicate some part of yourself to a cause. We wish you the best of luck with being placed with an organization of your choice and continuing the good work.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How should I dress for an interview for the role of a volunteer coordinator? Since this is not a corporate job, there is no need to dress professionally during an interview. However, a neat appearance gives the impression that you are serious about the role, which every interviewer likes to see. We recommend you wear simple formal clothes that have been washed and ironed.
- Can I work part-time as a volunteer coordinator? Some organizations do have part-time positions available. We recommend checking this up on their website.