Questions You Should Ask a Nonprofit Interviewee
Anyone who decides to devote their career to the nonprofit profession will experience turnover. With that scenario in mind, you better be prepared to interview candidates. These individuals come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. As one who had to interview several candidates recently, I quickly realized that each interview is different. Based upon the personalities and communication styles of these candidates, I reacted differently to each candidate. The questions and communication exchange was very interesting. I was glad I did my homework and was thoroughly prepared for each interview. It starts with knowing your subject matter, position to be filled, what you want “the ideal candidate” to be and having the right questions that will generate the responses you seek.
Indeed points out that you need to gather as much information as possible in a short period of time. The best way to adequately assess a candidate for both skill fit and culture fit is to ask questions that are specific to your company. You should also ask questions to determine personality and how one thinks critically under pressure.
According to Indeed, a few of the best interview questions to ask candidates are as follows:
- What career accomplishment makes you most proud?
- Why do you want to work here?
- Tell me about yourself?
- What made you want to apply for this position?
- What are your greatest weaknesses?
- What are your greatest strengths?
- Tell me about a difficult work situation and how you overcame it?
- Why are you leaving your current employer?
A job interview is your opportunity to get a feel for whether or not a candidate is qualified, but also if they are someone with whom other employees would enjoy working.
themuse suggests that an interview is a conversation. It is your chance to determine whether an applicant is a solid fit for the position, team and company in general. However, that information is only revealed if you know the right questions to ask an interviewee. Here are 10 excellent questions to ask an interviewee, per themuse:
- What one skill makes you the most qualified for this position?
- To date, what professional achievement are you most proud of?
- Can you tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge?
- How would you describe your own working style?
- What three words would you use to describe your ideal work environment?
- If hired, what is the first thing you would tackle in this position?
- Why are you leaving your current employer?
- What one skill would you like to improve and what’s your plan for doing so?
- What excites you most about this position?
- What do you like to do outside of work?
Interviewing is both an art and science. With enough preparation, you can reap the rewards in the form of a new hire that is eager to join your team.
Glassdoor points out that interviewing is not simple. Once you have attracted potential great fit candidates, you will want to ask questions regarding industry and expertise. The goal should be to have collaborative and communicative conversation during interviews.
Here are interview questions it suggests:
- Tell me something about yourself that others may be surprised to know about you?
- If there is something in your past you were able to go back and do differently, what would that be?
- Tell me about a time you had a difficult working relationship with a colleague?
- Tell me a story about your skills?
- Tell me a success story about using one of your skills?
- What is your ideal position?
- Tell me your biggest failure?
- What is a development area that you had to overcome in your career?
- What are two of your most satisfying accomplishments?
- Describe your most favorite and least favorite supervisors—and why?
- Describe work you have accomplished that best compares to what needs to be done?
- How did you end up in your current role?
- What challenges do you see impacting the industry?
- What interests you most about this position?
- Do you have any questions for me?
As you can see, the interview process is very complex. You are trying to determine on many levels if the candidate is a fit for your organization and team. You hope the candidate is the highest qualified and can raise the performance level throughout your organization. It is hoped that the candidate will stay for a length of time and inspire others.
It is obvious that quality interview questions draw out excellent potential answers. The next time you plan to interview a candidate, take the time to prepare yourself for the conversation. Create a number of questions, and use only those questions that you feel will have the greatest impact.
By learning what questions to ask, you will also be better prepared when the time comes for interviewers to ask you questions during your next job interview. If you plan on a career in the nonprofit sector, be prepared for this eventuality!
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy.