Interviewing for Non Profit Jobs

Congratulations! You’ve successfully submitted your non profit resume and have been called in for an interview for a nonprofit job.

Even if you have been on many job interviews in the past, you might be interested in learning more about what kinds of questions you might be asked, and what questions you should be prepared to ask.

Non profit job interviews are not drastically different from for profit job interviews, but there are a few subtle differences of which you should be aware.

The WHY matters more

Nonprofit organizations will ask you why you want to work for the organizations – this is a question that most companies ask. However, your answer to this question should be well thought out, and you can take the opportunity to be personal with your answer. If you have an anecdote about how a particular teacher had an impact on you as a child, and this has driven your desire to work for an educational nonprofit, say it! In addition to skill and talent, nonprofit hiring managers are very interested in what has drawn you into the public sector, and more importantly what has drawn you to the specific organization.

Their FUTURE and your FUTURE are equally important

Most nonprofits are looking for people who are going to stay for a while – turnover is discouraged, as general hiring and promoting practice in the nonprofit world follows a «homegrown» mentality – that is, organizations like to bring in young people and entry level positions and promote them as the organization grows. Even if you are joining a nonprofit organization mid-career, the agency will still want to know that you are interested in spending a significant amount of time there, and that you see the job as a career move. Similarly, you should ask the nonprofit organization what their plans for the future. If their strategic plan is available online, read through it and prepare specific questions about it to show that you have thought about how your goals and the organization’s goals align.

Be honest about your work STYLE

It is quite common for nonprofit organizations to ask about your work style to ascertain whether you would be comfortable working within the organization’s culture. Work style refers to how you deal with stress, deadlines, task and time management. If there is one piece of important advice that you should take into your nonprofit job interview it is: do not misrepresent yourself! Many jobseekers tend to tell the recruiters and hiring managers exactly what they want to hear. But if the office culture is such that employees are expected to work most nights and weekends, and you have responsibilities that do not allow this, this may not be the right job for you.

COMMITMENT is key

Any way that you can show your commitment – whether through volunteer experience, religious attendance or otherwise – should be mentioned during your interview. Organizations will be looking for you to expand on whatever you have already stated on your resume, as they want to ensure that you aren’t just trying out the nonprofit sector, but have a real commitment to the issue at hand.

If you keep all of these things in mind, you will be sure to have a successful nonprofit job interview.

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