Hiring the right volunteer coordinator: Including interview questions, red flags and more! | Track It Forward

Interview Questions to Ask and What To Look For When Interviewing A Potential Volunteer Coordinator

Last updated by Kasey Murphy on 08/12/2020

When hiring a new volunteer coordinator, the questions you ask during the interview will be the most helpful when the time comes to make a decision. Through those volunteer coordinator interview questions, you can find out what would make them thrive in your organization versus potential red flags. 

A crucial part of the interview process with a potential volunteer coordinator or manager is the self-reflection of your organization beforehand. An analysis of how your organization runs and the personalities that work within your organization will help you prepare specific interview questions for volunteer coordinators and pinpoint things to look out for and red flags that will give you the opposite of what you want in a volunteer coordinator or manager.

You can download our free guide that creates a process for you to analyze your organization’s wants and priorities and then create specific interview questions for volunteer coordinators based on that! It’s free here! 

Volunteer coordinator interview questions can help reveal management style, and how well they would fit in with your organization's culture. There are several types of interview questions that’ll help you see these aspects of a candidate without needing to ask them directly. Depending on each volunteer management interview question you ask, there are certain things to look out for and red flags that you can process! 

We will give you a brief overview of these volunteer coordinator interview questions and what to look out for in this article. But you can also gain access to the full guide and a multitude of example questions that you can download, enter your email below for our downloadable interview process guide folder! 

 

Different Types of Interview Questions 

There are different categories of interview questions for volunteer coordinators that will give you different answers and portray different characteristics that the applicant will have as a volunteer coordinator. 

Different Types Of Interview Questions For Volunteer Coordinator Roles

Role - Specific 
These usually go over the general outlines of being a volunteer coordinator or manager. They basically answer the question: Why would this person be good at managing volunteers over any other job?

Operational Questions - These are more specific questions based on how your organization and the volunteer program operates and runs. These will be more focused on seeing specific results and more detailed issues within your organization.

Situational Questions - These will be more descriptive answers. Give a specific situation and see how the interviewee would react to them. These will help clarify the way the interviewee handles specific situations that may arise. 

Behavioral Questions - This will be a set of more personal questions. How does the interviewee handle conflict, or different personality types? What types of behavior have they dealt with in the past?

Role-Specific Interview Questions

These interview questions for volunteer coordinators express the candidate’s experience with nonprofits and how they will use it in this specific role as a volunteer manager or coordinator. Examples of role-specific interview questions for volunteer coordinators include: 

  • How does your experience make you right for this role?

  • What’s your experience in training volunteers/employees?

There are many red flags and things to look out for in these questions. Firstly, you want specific examples and a look into their background from their answer. Secondly, you want to see if they describe their previous role in a positive light or in a way that you could see them working in your organization. 

If they give negative answers, vague answers, or do not cover the value of working with nonprofits or volunteers as an answer- these may be red flags! 

See more specific examples of volunteer coordinator interview questions and potential red flags in our downloadable interview guide folder! 

Operational Interview Questions

These types of questions help the employer understand what plans the candidate has if they receive the position. Examples of volunteer coordinator operational interview questions include:

  • How would you promote the recognition of volunteers’ work in the community?

  • Looking at our program, do you have any feedback or ideas of what you could bring into this organization?

You should look out for specific answers and a well thought out plan. These specificities will showcase that the potential volunteer coordinator is quick on their feet. If they come prepared to the interview with ideas, that means they have done their research! 

It is also important that the volunteer coordinator is knowledgeable in tools that can help them succeed and not try to take on tasks without help. If they answer any questions by acknowledging support from others or with volunteer management software, they know how to be efficient! 

Not doing their research before the interview is a huge red flag. This can mean general disorganization or lack of preparedness, which aren’t quintessential qualities in a manager. 

To see more questions you can ask to test preparedness in volunteer coordinator interviews, check out our “Things To Look Out For” document in our downloadable folder!

Situational Interview Questions

These volunteer coordinator interview questions see how a candidate would handle a hypothetical challenge that could occur. Examples of situational questions include:

  • We have multiple volunteer opportunities that need are organized at the same time. Can you tell me how you will organize multiple opportunities for volunteers, and how will you let volunteers know of all the opportunities? 

  • Imagine you have one volunteer that is the most liked by others and most active in your organization, but they do not follow the rules. They are spreading negativity around to other volunteers. How would you handle the situation?

These answers may take a bit of time, so feel free to offer the applicant a minute or two to gather their thoughts. Volunteer coordinators should have process-based thinking when it comes to solving problems or handling certain situations. 

This type of thinking means they will constantly be trying to solve the problem with different solutions and evaluating the impact. This type of approach makes an excellent problem-solver and a great volunteer coordinator! 

Find more situational question examples in our downloadable interview guide folder.

Behavioral Interview Questions 

These volunteer coordinator interview questions are a great way to see how the candidate has acted in previous situations in the past. For many people, they will see how they will respond to similar situations in the future. 

  • Recall an instance in your time as a volunteer when you found it challenging to stay motivated. What did you do? What do you think a volunteer coordinator should have done?

  • What kind of professional personality do you think you have? 

These answers will produce a bit of self-reflection. You want a volunteer coordinator who knows how to evaluate themselves and their work style! 

Now, your self-reflection will come in. See what kind of personality will fit in your organization or the people that the potential volunteer coordinator will work with in the future!

To see more volunteer coordinator interview questions to ask in coordination with your organization’s existing volunteer program or other departments, check out our interview guide!

 

WHEN SEARCHING FOR A VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR 

LOOK FOR: 
CONFIDENCE IN ANSWERS, DETAILED ANSWERS BACKED BY EXPERIENCE, GENUINE PERSONALITY THAT PEOPLE WILL PERCEIVE WELL, ADMITTING WEAKNESS, KNOWLEDGE OF INDUSTRY

RED FLAGS:
VAGUE ANSWERS, NO AMBITION TO LEARN MORE OR MODERNIZE, HARD TO READ OR UNDERSTAND INTENTIONS, VALUES NOT PRIORITIZED, UNAWARE OF ALL PARTS OF VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR ROLES

What to Look For In A Volunteer Coordinator During The Interview

No matter how good someone looks on their resume, the interview is where you can get to know a person. Through your questions, you can determine if this candidate will be a good fit for the volunteer coordinator job or not. Using the question format we discuss above, here are some things to look out for:

Strengths: What does the candidate offer that’ll make them excel in this role?

Weaknesses: What does the candidate lack that will hinder them from performing their best during challenging moments?

Leadership style: How will the leadership style of this candidate differ from what the volunteers are used to, and would it be a good fit, or will it push volunteers away?

Culture fit: Would this leader fit in with the current culture and organization atmosphere, or would it be a difficult transition?

Experience Working in the 6 Key Areas: Do they acknowledge all aspects of being a volunteer coordinator? (Recruitment, Retention, Training, Supervision, Program Planning, and Reporting.)

These are all general things to look out for, but you can dive deeper and see more specific examples of where to find these and what questions to ask to get them in our full hiring package guide! 

Potential Red Flags in a Volunteer Coordinator Interview

What are some things that turn you off? A tendency for some organizations is to want anyone for the job because they are desperate for a coordinator. However, that can be even worse if volunteers are pushed away, and recruitment is on hold. A good volunteer coordinator focuses on building relationships, handling conflict well, and is also detail-oriented. Based on that, here are some red flags that you should avoid in a volunteer coordinator:

  • They’re averse to conflict

  • They are disorganized

  • They are so focused on the details that it takes priority over relationships

  • They are afraid of networking and meeting new people

  • Their values don’t align with your organization’s

  • They don’t care about the cause, but just the job

It may be hard to see this in the interview, but we have a guide to showcase how you can spot these red flags from miles away! 

The following is a list of things you may say you would want in a volunteer coordinator. Underneath are pointers to look out for that WILL give you these wants, and red flags that showcase you may NOT get them. Prioritize these wants and add your own! 
A Genuine Connection to The Organization
Pointers to Look Out For: 
Brings up the organization’s mission organically. 
Lists the organization as a reason for applying 
Gives existing initiatives as examples or brings them up. 
Red Flags:
Gives examples of what they would do in the role and it does not align with the organization. 
Does not mention the mission or helping the mission at all.

Experience Dealing With Conflict
Pointers to Look Out For: 
Gives specific examples of solving conflict or addressing it. 
Tells a process for analyzing and addressing conflict.
Adds their personal belief or is passionate about solving conflict in a distinct way. (I.e. addressing it ASAP, validating everyone’s opinions, keeping things anonymous, etc.)

Above is a sneak peek of just ONE of the downloads you get in our hiring package folder! 

Read the next article in this series to help make sure you choose the right person and write up the offer letter.