The Questions Every Nonprofit Should Ask Candidates

Interviews are by far the most important step of the staffing journey- for both employers and employees! It is such a crucial step for employers because it is the first, and sometimes the only, opportunity to get a deeper understanding of a candidate. Of course their resume can give you valuable information, but it is never the whole picture. It is important, especially for nonprofits, to go deeper than a resume and assess if a candidate has the passion and drive it takes to succeed in their role. In order to do so, I have crafted 3 challenging questions that I ask every candidate I sit down with. If you are curious as to what they are, keep reading!


What was your first volunteer experience, and why did you choose that event?

Those who operate in the nonprofit sector must have a passion for service and their community. By asking this question, you can understand at what age they felt this calling and what causes are close to their heart. If they align with those of your company, chances are this candidate is a great cultural fit. On the other hand, if the candidate has no volunteer experience or no drive to give back to the community, they are most likely not a great fit for your company.

What is your biggest source of motivation?

I will stress this again, those who wish to work for a nonprofit have to be passionate about the work they do. They can’t operate in this industry if they are chasing money or fame. This doesn’t mean that providing for their family can’t be a motivating force. It simply means that they should be chasing a bigger goal with a deeper meaning i.e. the mission of your company.

Tell me about a time you worked with a limited budget

Nonprofits, most of the time, operate off of donations or government funding. Because of that, individuals in nonprofits need to use money efficiently. Candidates who have experienced working with small budgets are often innovative and resourceful. Furthermore, they prove to be better assets to your organization as opposed to those who are used to big accounts with lots of wiggle room in their budget.

These three questions may seem simple, but they force candidates to use their critical thinking skills. It also gives you deep insight into whether or not they are passionate, driven, and capable of working for your nonprofit! Next time you interview a candidate, be sure to incorporate these three questions into your list. I ensure you, they will give you valuable information and help you make the best decision for your company.


About The Author

John Schneider

John Schneider is the founder of Recruiterie and is an Executive Recruiter in Phoenix, AZ. For nearly two decades he has focused his career on one purpose: helping people find the right talent to build and grow their businesses. With over two decades of experience, he has worked with hundreds of clients from coast to coast, placing executives in their dream roles.

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