Tips to help you get ready for your next interview as a volunteer.

by Jackie Robinson
189 views 10 min read

Volunteer opportunities can be a great way to give back to your local community and the world. Some volunteer positions require a screening phone call or a formal interview to ensure a professional is the right fit for the organization. Learning about some common interview questions and seeing sample answers could help you prepare for your next volunteer role. In this article, we list 35 common volunteer interview questions and provide sample answers and tips to help you get ready for your next interview as a volunteer.

General volunteer interview questions

An interviewer may ask general questions to learn more about your personality, work ethic and interests to see if you’re a good fit for their volunteer organization. Here are some common general questions:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are some of your strengths?
  • What is a weakness you have and how do you overcome it?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • List three adjectives to describe yourself.
  • What are you currently reading?
  • What is an accomplishment you are really proud of?
  • What do you do for work?
  • What is your dream job?
  • Do you prefer to work with a team or by yourself?

Questions about experience and background

A volunteer program manager or director may ask questions about your experience and background to learn more about your skills. Here are some common background questions for volunteer roles:

  • How has your work experience prepared you for this position?
  • What other volunteer experience have you had?
  • Describe a time you faced a challenge and how you overcame it.
  • How do you manage multiple priorities?
  • Do you have any leadership experience?
  • Describe a time you made a mistake and how you fixed it.
  • What tasks are your favorite to complete?
  • Tell me about a time you worked as part of a team.
  • What has been your favorite part of being a volunteer?
  • Tell me about a time you implemented feedback.

In-depth volunteer questions

An interviewer might ask in-depth questions to decide what team or role is best for you. They may assess your preferences and knowledge, so they can place you on the correct team. Here are some common in-depth volunteer questions:

  • What do you know about our organization?
  • Why do you want to volunteer with us?
  • Do you agree with our mission? Why?
  • How did you hear about our program?
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • When can you start your volunteer position?
  • How much time do you plan to spend volunteering each week?
  • Which team or department would you prefer to work with?
  • How do you imagine a typical day volunteering in our organization?
  • How long do you plan on volunteering with us?

5 volunteer interview questions with sample answers

Here are five common volunteer interview questions with sample answers:

What causes are you most passionate about?

A volunteer coordinator or manager may ask this question to learn more about your personality and preferences. This could help them decide whether you are a good match for the volunteer program. To answer, think of the causes that you care about. Consider including the cause related to the volunteer program.

Example: “I am most passionate about helping climate change and animals, which is why I’m so excited about your wildlife program. I’ve volunteered at the local animal shelter for six years now, helping stray animals find new homes. We focused on local animals, but I knew there were more animals we could help, so I launched a program where my shelter sponsored foster animals in different locations. That new program helped an additional 100 animals find their forever homes. I care deeply about all animals and want to help them in any way that I can.”

What skills would you bring to this volunteer position?

An interviewer may ask this question to assess your qualifications and strengths. Some organizations divide volunteers into groups based on skills, strengths and preferences. For example, an animal shelter needs people to clean the cages, walk the dog, greet visitors and lead tours. If a volunteer has strong communication skills, they might excel as a greeter or tour guide. To answer this question, consider your relevant skills and think of an example of a time you showed one of them. This example can be from work, school or a volunteer program.

Example: “I believe my strong time management and leadership skills make me an excellent fit for this position. In my teaching career, I am grade team leader for my school’s fourth grade. I oversee a team of teachers, organize meetings and provide feedback to new teachers. I also manage our team calendar and plan important deadlines for grades, field trips and assessments. In my first year as grade team leader, my team improved test scores by 10%. I would bring these skills to the summer tutor program as a team lead.”

Tell me about a time that you exceeded your expected responsibilities.

An interviewer can use this narrative question to learn more about your work ethic. When an interviewer asks you to describe a time, try to answer using the STAR response method by including a situation, task, your actions and the result. For this answer, you can think of a time at work, school or in a volunteer program where you went beyond expectations and managed additional tasks.

Example: “In my last volunteer position in my local park restoration, I exceeded expectations when requesting additional tasks. I was originally in charge of removing trash from one section of the park, but I noticed the garden needed help. I offered to raise the funds to buy new flowers. I printed pictures of the current garden and showed them to local businesses when asking for donations. In one week, I secured enough donations to buy new flowers, and I spent an afternoon planting them. This made our park more beautiful, and I noticed more people spending time in that section.”

Why do you think this volunteer opportunity is a good fit for you?

Volunteer coordinators may ask this question to ensure you’re right for the role. They can use this question to learn more about your experience, interests or personality. To answer, consider how your experience, skills and knowledge make you a good fit. Try to think of a specific example to show one of your qualifications.

Example: “I think I’m a great fit for the construction role because I have experience building homes. I have spent three summers volunteering to build new homes across the world. Over those three years, I’ve helped build six new homes for families. I love helping others and working as a team, and I would love an opportunity to work on this community center project.”

Tell me about a time you learned a new skill.

An interviewer can use this story-based question to evaluate your flexibility and ability to grow. A lot of volunteer programs require training, so it’s important to show an interviewer that you can learn new things. When answering, think of one skill you learned and how you developed it. Try to choose a skill related to the role if possible and include details about your growth process to show the interviewer your work ethic.

Example: “I learned many new skills in my last volunteer role. One particular skill I learned was customer service. My volunteer club organized a bake sale to raise funds for our community, and I signed up to run a table. My previous roles were as an accountant or treasurer, so working with customers was a new skill for me. I reached out to my supervisor for some suggestions, and I practiced my greeting, so I felt confident on the first day. Our bake sale raised over $1000, and I now feel comfortable working with customers.”

Tips for volunteer interviews

If you are preparing for your volunteer position interview, consider following these tips:

  • Dress professionally: Dressing professionally for a volunteer interview could help you stand out to a coordinator or manager. It shows the interviewer that you will bring a level of professionalism to your volunteer work.

  • Research the organization: Learning more about the organization before your interview can help you answer certain questions. Consider researching the organization’s mission, values and requirements.

  • Show your enthusiasm: Being positive and showing enthusiasm could help you stand out to your interviewer and show them how much you care about the cause.

  • Be flexible: A volunteer coordinator may place you on different teams or ask you to accomplish rotating tasks. Showing your flexibility and willingness to try new roles could help you earn the volunteer position.

  • Prepare a few questions: An interviewer may end the conversation by asking you if you have questions. Consider writing a few questions about the role or the organization. This can help you show your enthusiasm and interest in the role.

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