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Screening, dating or both: How to approach your volunteer interview

Posted By Lori Gotlieb, Lori Gotlieb Consulting, May-26-16

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Although volunteer management processes are as varied as the organizations that use them, one process that is usually consistent is the interview. This stage of the volunteer cycle is key to learning about the volunteer: who they are and how they can make a difference in a meaningful way. But standard interviews may not reveal all the unique skills and capabilities that a volunteer could contribute.

If we want to learn about what a volunteer can do for our organization, rather than whether or not they’re a good fit for a specific, defined role, we need to have an open mind to see where the conversation leads. It is your role to set the stage for the interview to encourage dialogue and comfort so the potential volunteer can feel comfortable to discuss their:

  • Skills
  • Experience
  • Motivation
  • Hobbies
  • Expectations
  • Personal goals
  • Passions

So, the question is: are we taking this time to only screen or are we allowing a conversation to start where each party learns from each other and you “get to know each other”, like on a first date?

The first date concept is more of a conversation, where both parties are exploring the opportunity to partner in a mutually beneficial relationship. These conversations are more exploratory in nature and may require another meeting to agree on a specific role or project for the volunteer.

 

What can you do to begin this process?

  • Build an interview process that allows for a blend of exploratory questions and basic knowledge transfer between you and the volunteer to lay the foundation of the conversation.

  • Keep the conversation going; you may identify a role for the volunteer at that meeting, but you may want to take their information and explore internally where their skills may be of greatest value

  • Be open to new ideas

  • Train those who interview to be creative and open-minded

 

As you start this process and grow this culture of creativity in your volunteer program, you will find that your colleagues will consider how volunteers can be an asset to their programs and reach out to you for your expertise in connecting unique volunteers to unique roles.

Hopefully this will be a beginning of a wonderful relationship!

 

Lori Gotlieb is the President of Lori Gotlieb Consulting as well as co-developer and faculty member for Humber College Volunteer Management Leadership Certificate. She is a volunteer management expert who provides a unique concierge service to her clients. She is also an internationally published author and workshop facilitator who has taught workshops to many diverse audiences across North America. In 2012, Lori was the recipient of the Linda Buchanan Award for Excellence in Volunteer Management. 

You can reach here at  lorigotliebconsulting@gmail.com 


Tags:  how to screen a volunteer  volunteer interviews  volunteer management  volunteer screening 

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