Volunteer Interview Questions: A Guide to Find the Right Candidates

Volunteer Interview Questions: A Guide to Find the Right Candidates

Volunteering is a rewarding experience that benefits both the volunteer and the organization they serve. As a volunteer coordinator, you play a vital role in finding and selecting the right candidates who align with your organization’s mission and goals. Conducting effective volunteer interviews is key to making informed decisions and building a strong, dedicated volunteer team.

This informative article provides you with a comprehensive guide to volunteer interview questions. We’ll cover essential questions to assess a candidate’s motivation, skills, and commitment. Additionally, we’ll offer tips for conducting successful interviews and evaluating responses to ensure you find the most suitable volunteers for your organization. Whether you’re a seasoned volunteer coordinator or new to the role, this article will equip you with the knowledge and tools to conduct effective volunteer interviews and build a strong volunteer team.

Before diving into specific interview questions, let’s first discuss the importance of preparing for volunteer interviews. Proper preparation ensures you make the most of the interview time and gather valuable insights into each candidate’s suitability for your organization.

volunteer interview questions

Asking the right questions is crucial for effective volunteer interviews. Here are 8 important points to consider:

  • Assess Motivation
  • Skills and Experience
  • Availability and Commitment
  • Teamwork and Communication
  • Problem-Solving Abilities
  • Background and Interests
  • Alignment with Mission
  • References and Verification

By addressing these key points during the interview, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of each candidate’s suitability for your volunteer role and organization.

Assess Motivation

Understanding a candidate’s motivation for volunteering is essential in determining their potential commitment and dedication to your organization. Ask open-ended questions that encourage candidates to share their reasons for wanting to volunteer and what they hope to gain from the experience.

Some specific questions you can ask include:

  • “What inspired you to volunteer with our organization?”
  • “What are your personal goals and aspirations as a volunteer?”
  • “How do you believe your skills and experiences align with the mission and values of our organization?”
  • “Can you share a time when you demonstrated your commitment to a cause or project?”

Pay attention to the candidate’s responses and observe their level of enthusiasm and passion. Genuine motivation often translates into a strong work ethic and dedication to the volunteer role.

Additionally, consider asking about the candidate’s long-term goals and interests. Understanding their aspirations can help you determine if the volunteer position aligns with their personal and professional development.

Skills and Experience

Assessing a candidate’s skills and experience is crucial to determine their suitability for the volunteer role and the organization’s needs. Ask questions that uncover their relevant abilities, knowledge, and past experiences.

  • Technical and Professional Skills:

    Inquire about specific skills that align with the volunteer role. For example, if the role involves social media management, ask about their experience with relevant platforms and tools.

  • Transferable Skills:

    Identify skills that are applicable across different roles and industries. Communication, problem-solving, and teamwork are often valuable transferable skills for volunteers.

  • Relevant Experience:

    Ask about previous volunteer experiences or employment that relate to the volunteer role. This can provide insights into their work ethic, dedication, and ability to contribute effectively.

  • Interests and Hobbies:

    Explore the candidate’s interests and hobbies to identify potential skills and passions that align with the organization’s mission. Sometimes, transferable skills can be discovered through extracurricular activities.

Remember to evaluate the candidate’s skills and experience in relation to the specific requirements of the volunteer role. A good fit between the candidate’s abilities and the organization’s needs will increase the likelihood of a successful volunteer experience.

Availability and Commitment

Assessing a candidate’s availability and commitment is essential to ensure they can fulfill the requirements of the volunteer role and contribute effectively to the organization.

  • Time Commitment:

    Inquire about the candidate’s availability in terms of days, times, and frequency. Discuss the specific time requirements of the volunteer role and ensure that the candidate can commit to a schedule that meets the organization’s needs.

  • Flexibility:

    Determine the candidate’s flexibility in adjusting their schedule if needed. Volunteer roles may require occasional changes in schedule or additional hours during special events or projects.

  • Long-Term Commitment:

    Discuss the candidate’s willingness to volunteer for a sustained period of time. Long-term commitment is valuable for both the organization and the volunteer, as it allows for the development of skills, relationships, and a sense of accomplishment.

  • Reliability:

    Assess the candidate’s reliability and punctuality. Volunteers who are consistently present and dependable are invaluable to any organization.

When evaluating a candidate’s availability and commitment, consider the specific needs of the volunteer role and the organization’s goals. Matching the candidate’s schedule and commitment level to the requirements of the role will increase the likelihood of a successful volunteer experience.

Teamwork and Communication

Volunteers often work in teams and interact with various stakeholders, including staff, other volunteers, and beneficiaries. Assessing a candidate’s teamwork and communication skills is crucial to ensure they can collaborate effectively and contribute to a positive team environment.

Some specific questions you can ask include:

  • “Can you describe a situation where you successfully worked as part of a team to achieve a common goal?”
  • “How do you handle disagreements or conflicts within a team?”
  • “What strategies do you use to communicate effectively with people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives?”
  • “Can you share an example of a time when you had to adapt your communication style to suit a particular audience?”

Pay attention to the candidate’s responses and observe their ability to articulate their thoughts clearly and respectfully. Effective communication and teamwork skills are essential for volunteers to build strong relationships, share ideas, and work collaboratively towards the organization’s goals.

Additionally, consider asking about the candidate’s willingness to learn and grow. Volunteers who are open to feedback and eager to develop their skills are more likely to thrive in a team environment and contribute positively to the organization.

Problem-Solving Abilities

Volunteers often encounter challenges and unexpected situations in their roles. Assessing a candidate’s problem-solving abilities is essential to determine their capacity to identify, analyze, and resolve issues effectively.

  • Analytical Thinking:

    Ask questions that gauge the candidate’s ability to break down complex problems into manageable steps and identify key factors that contribute to the issue.

  • Creative Thinking:

    Inquire about the candidate’s ability to generate innovative solutions and think outside the box. Volunteers who can approach problems from different perspectives are valuable assets to any organization.

  • Decision-Making:

    Explore the candidate’s approach to making decisions, particularly in time-sensitive or challenging situations. Effective decision-making skills are crucial for volunteers who need to take initiative and act independently.

  • Adaptability:

    Assess the candidate’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances and find alternative solutions when necessary. Volunteers who are flexible and adaptable can handle unexpected challenges and contribute to the organization’s resilience.

When evaluating a candidate’s problem-solving abilities, consider the specific challenges and demands of the volunteer role. Selecting candidates who demonstrate strong analytical, creative, and decision-making skills will increase the likelihood of successful problem resolution and positive outcomes for the organization.

Background and Interests

Exploring a candidate’s background and interests can provide valuable insights into their suitability for the volunteer role and the organization’s culture. Questions about their background can reveal skills, experiences, and perspectives that may not be evident from their resume or initial responses.

Some specific questions you can ask include:

  • “What are your hobbies and interests outside of work or school?”
  • “Can you share a significant life experience that shaped your values and beliefs?”
  • “What are your thoughts on the organization’s mission and values? Do you see alignment with your own personal values?”
  • “What unique skills or perspectives do you bring to the volunteer role based on your background and experiences?”

Pay attention to the candidate’s responses and observe their enthusiasm and passion for their interests and values. Volunteers who are genuinely interested in the organization’s mission and have relevant skills and experiences are more likely to be engaged and committed to their volunteer role.

Additionally, consider asking about the candidate’s willingness to learn and grow. Volunteers who are open to new experiences and eager to develop their skills are more likely to embrace challenges and contribute positively to the organization.

Alignment with Mission

Assessing a candidate’s alignment with the organization’s mission and values is crucial to ensure they are motivated and committed to the cause. Volunteers who share the organization’s values and goals are more likely to be passionate about their work and dedicated to making a positive impact.

  • Understanding the Mission:

    Ask questions to gauge the candidate’s understanding of the organization’s mission, vision, and values. Ensure that they can articulate how their skills, experiences, and interests align with these core principles.

  • Motivation and Passion:

    Inquire about the candidate’s reasons for wanting to volunteer with the organization. Explore their personal motivations and passions to determine if they genuinely care about the cause and are willing to invest their time and energy in supporting it.

  • Shared Values:

    Discuss the candidate’s personal values and beliefs to identify areas of overlap with the organization’s values. Shared values create a strong foundation for a mutually beneficial volunteer experience.

  • Long-Term Commitment:

    Assess the candidate’s willingness to commit to the organization’s mission over the long term. Volunteers who are invested in the cause and see themselves as part of the team are more likely to stay engaged and make a lasting impact.

When evaluating a candidate’s alignment with the mission, consider the specific goals and objectives of the volunteer role. Selecting candidates who demonstrate a genuine connection to the organization’s mission and values will increase the likelihood of a successful and fulfilling volunteer experience.

References and Checks

Requesting references and conducting background checks are important steps in the volunteer interview process. These measures help ensure the safety and integrity of the organization and its volunteers.

Some specific considerations for references and checks include:

  • Reference Checks:
    Ask for professional and personal references who can provide insights into the candidate’s character, work ethic, and suitability for the volunteer role. Contact these references to verify the candidate’s information and gather additional feedback.
  • Background Checks:
    If applicable, conduct background checks to screen for criminal records or other relevant information. These checks should be conducted in compliance with local laws and regulations.
  • Identity Checks:
    Request appropriate identification documents to verify the candidate’s identity and ensure they are who they claim to be. This is particularly important for roles that involve handling sensitive information or interacting with vulnerable populations.
  • Health Checks:
    For certain volunteer roles, such as those involving physical labor or working with children, it may be necessary to request health checks or medical clearances to ensure the candidate is fit to perform the required duties safely.

By conducting thorough reference and background checks, organizations can mitigate potential risks and ensure that they are recruiting reliable and suitable individuals as volunteers.


To provide additional support to aspiring volunteers, here’s a comprehensive FAQ section tailored for their queries:

Question 1: What are the key qualities and skills looked for in volunteers?
Answer 1: Organizations typically seek volunteers who are passionate, dedicated, and reliable. Strong communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills are also highly valued.

Question 2: How can I find volunteer opportunities that align with my interests and skills?
Answer 2: Research local organizations and online platforms that connect volunteers with opportunities. Consider your passions, skills, and availability when searching for suitable roles.

Question 3: What if I have limited time or resources to volunteer?
Answer 3: Many organizations offer flexible volunteer roles that can accommodate busy schedules or limited resources. Explore opportunities that allow you to contribute your skills and time on a part-time or project-based basis.

Question 4: How can I make the most of my volunteer experience?
Answer 4: Be proactive, ask questions, and take initiative in your volunteer role. Show enthusiasm, be open to learning new skills, and build meaningful connections with fellow volunteers and the organization’s staff.

Question 5: What are the benefits of volunteering?
Answer 5: Volunteering offers numerous benefits, including personal fulfillment, skill development, networking opportunities, and the chance to make a positive impact on your community.

Question 6: What should I do if I’m unsure about my suitability for a particular volunteer role?
Answer 6: Don’t hesitate to reach out to the organization and ask questions about the role, its requirements, and how your skills and interests align with the position.

Question 7: How can I showcase my skills and experiences during a volunteer interview?
Answer 7: Prepare thoughtful answers that highlight your relevant skills, experiences, and motivations for volunteering. Provide specific examples of how you’ve applied your skills in the past and how they can contribute to the volunteer role.

Remember, volunteering is a rewarding and fulfilling experience that offers personal growth, community engagement, and the chance to make a meaningful difference.

Now that you have a better understanding of the volunteer interview process and the qualities organizations seek in their volunteers, let’s explore some additional tips to help you prepare for and ace your interview.


To help you prepare for and ace your volunteer interview, here are four practical tips:

1. Research the Organization:
Take the time to learn about the organization’s mission, values, and current projects. This knowledge will demonstrate your genuine interest and help you tailor your answers to align with their goals.

2. Practice Your Answers:
Prepare thoughtful and concise answers to common interview questions. Practice answering these questions aloud to build your confidence and ensure you can articulate your thoughts clearly.

3. Dress Professionally:
While the dress code for volunteer roles may be casual, it’s always a good idea to dress professionally for the interview. This shows respect for the organization and the interviewer.

4. Be Yourself and Be Enthusiastic:
The interviewer wants to get to know the real you, so be authentic and let your personality shine through. Show your genuine enthusiasm for volunteering and your desire to contribute to the organization.

Remember, the volunteer interview is an opportunity for you to showcase your skills, experiences, and passion for making a difference. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of making a positive impression and securing the volunteer role you desire.

With the right preparation and a positive attitude, you can confidently navigate the volunteer interview process and embark on a rewarding volunteer experience that aligns with your goals and values.


As you embark on your volunteer journey, remember that your skills, experiences, and passion can make a real difference in the lives of others and in your community. Volunteering is a rewarding experience that offers personal growth, skill development, and the chance to connect with like-minded individuals who share your commitment to making a positive impact.

Throughout this article, we’ve explored the importance of preparing for volunteer interviews, discussed key questions to assess a candidate’s motivation, skills, and alignment with the organization’s mission, and provided tips to help you make a strong impression during the interview.

By conducting thorough and informative interviews, volunteer coordinators can select the right candidates who possess the skills, dedication, and enthusiasm to contribute to the organization’s goals and make a positive impact on the community.

To all the aspiring volunteers out there, we encourage you to embrace the opportunity to give back and make a difference. Your contributions, no matter how big or small, can create lasting change and inspire others to follow in your footsteps.

Remember, volunteering is not just about giving your time; it’s about investing in your own growth, connecting with your community, and making the world a better place, one step at a time.

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