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

Interview questions, red flags and things to look out for

Written by James McBryan

When hiring a new volunteer coordinator, the questions you ask during the interview will be the most helpful when time to make a decision. Through those questions, you can find out what would make them thrive in your organization versus potential roadblocks in their role, as well as potential red flags, their 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. We’ll share what those types are as well as some examples of each. 

Types of volunteer coordinator interview questions

Role-specific questions - These questions are geared towards the candidate’s experience with nonprofits and how it could be used in this specific role. Examples of interview questions include: 

  • How does your experience make you right for this role?
  • What’s your experience in training volunteers/employees?

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

  • How would you promote the recognition of volunteers’ work in the community?
  • If you didn’t have enough volunteers, would you take any person who applied? What would it take for you to refuse a volunteer?

Situational questions - These questions are used to see how a candidate would handle a hypothetical challenge that could occur. Examples of situational questions include:

  • Imagine one of the most committed volunteers tells you they want to quit. What do you say?
  • 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 and are spreading negativity around to other volunteers. How would you handle the situation?

Behavioral questions - These questions are a great way to see how the candidate has acted in previous situations in the past, and for many people are a way to see how they will respond to similar situations in the future. 

  • Recall an instance in your time as a volunteer when you found it difficult to stay motivated. What did you do? What do you think a volunteer coordinator should have done?
  • Describe a project/event you coordinated successfully


Things to look for in your future volunteer coordinator

No matter how good someone looks on their resume, the interview is where you can really 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?
  • Red flags: What are some things that you see or hear from the candidate that pose a concern to you?


Speaking of red flags…

What are some things that really 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 to the organization if volunteers are being driven away and recruitment is put on hold. A good volunteer coordinator is someone who is great at relationships, handles conflict well, and is also detail oriented. Based off 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

Once you’re through all of this, it’s time to make the final decision. Read the next article in this series to help make sure you choose the right person and write up the offer letter.