So You Want a Successful Nonprofit Fundraising Job Interview?
I recently spent one day interviewing a number of candidates for two open positions in my office. The interview process is what you make of it, but having a proper interview process is critical if you desire a highly performing team.
To be fair, I had a number of uniform questions I asked each candidate. I also went with the flow depending upon the direction of each interview. These were first-round interviews. I had time constraints with the process.
I actually had a headache at the end of the day. To make matters more complicated, I was interviewing candidates that day for two different positions. In one case, an applicant who applied for one position was actually a better candidate for the other open position. The age range of candidates was from the 20s to the late 50s. These candidates came from all walks of life and circumstances. Since I enjoy meeting new people, I was totally engaged in the process.
Hiring someone is vital to the long-term success of your organization. You need to put the time in the process to make it achieve positive results.
When I interview someone for a position in the not-for-profit arena, I first look for the obvious technical skills to see if there is a match for the position. If people assume the résumé provides this information they are wrong. Even if someone does not have a long work history, that person must have either the tools to be successful, work experience being successful or ability to learn on the job through best-of-class practices. If the candidate passes the technical side of the equation, I then look for the intangibles:
- How do the candidates look, act and speak?
- Do they seem interested in the position or just need a job?
- Did they do their homework on your organization?
- Do they seem like a cultural fit for the organization?
- Do they have the drive and hunger for success?
- Do they listen well and fit with your ideal candidate profile?
- How will they blend with others on your team?
- How do you think they will work directly with you?
- Is this someone that will be with your organization one year or less or five years or more?
You go with your gut and try to determine win-win scenarios. I actually provide a grade on their overall presentation.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.