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July 2013
In This Issue
Featured Title: A Conversation with a Purpose
More Resources
Excerpt: Questions for Interviews
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Interviewing potential volunteers demonstrates the value your organization places on volunteer involvement and helps to identify individuals whose skills, personality, and motivation fit well with your team. Be sure your skills in interviewing and screening candidates are sharpened for finding the right volunteers for the right roles!

resource Featured Title
A Conversation with a Purpose: A Practical Guide to Interviewing Prospective Volunteers
by Kathleen McCleskey and Cheryle N. Yallen
A Conversation with a Purpose

Authors McCleskey and Yallen provide a combination of knowledge, preparation, and practice to enable the unskilled interviewer to become a skilled interviewer who can uncover the information needed to choose the right volunteers for the right jobs. This book gives common sense advice, steps for preparing for an interview, sample interview questions, and handy forms and worksheets to copy and use.



Read an excerpt from this book below.


This book is in e-book (PDF) format for immediate download. (US$12.00)


Order A Conversation with a Purpose today!
resource2 More Resources
Interviewing VolunteersTraining Module 3 in The 55-Minute Training Series: Interviewing Volunteers
A pre-designed training for teaching staff and lead volunteers the basic process and skills necessary to conduct interviews effectively. Purchase as an individual training module or part of the complete Training Busy Staff to Succeed with Volunteers: The 55-Minute Training Series 

The module is available electronically for immediate download and includes a trainer's guide and PowerPoint® slides (from the PDF file). (US $10.00). Order Interviewing Volunteers Module.

Beyond Police ChecksBeyond Police Checks
A definitive guide for screening volunteers and employees, explaining why and how to assure everyone's protection. Learn to apply best interviewing techniques and legal screening requirements to your situation. 

This book is available as a paperback (US$35.00) or as an e-book (PDF format) for immediate download (US$20.00). Order Beyond Police Checks .



e-Volunteerism: The Electronic Journal of the Volunteer Community 

  • Journal subscribers can log in here to read all the articles below.
  • Non-subscribers can read all the articles and more with affordable 48-hour access to the journal.

"Interviewing for Success: How to Conduct Effective Volunteer Interviews "
In this Along the Web article, author Erick Lear presents a list of resources developed to aid volunteer managers in conducting effective interviews with prospective volunteers.


"Group Interviewing Techniques: Hitting the Bull's-Eye Every Time"
The philosophy of group interviewing (interviewing five volunteers simultaneously), designing the group interview process, selecting and training volunteer placement counselors to conduct the interviews, the logistics of this system, and evaluation of interview efficacy are explored in this article.


"It's Never Over: Ongoing Screening of Volunteers and Paid Staff "
The accountable organization must recognize that responsibility for candidate suitability does not end at the point of placement. This article explores a system of ongoing screening and reviewing to ensure volunteers are still viable for the roles they fill.


Subscribe now and get immediate access to all of the above articles, plus everything in the current issue of the journal and its 13-year archive.

ResourcesBook Excerpt

Questions for Interviews

Excerpted from, A Conversation with a Purpose: A Practical Guide to Interviewing Prospective Volunteers, McCleskey and Yallen, © 2009, page 20.


Getting to Know the Prospective Volunteer


The first question that many interviewers ask is "Tell me about yourself." This is a good start, but there is a more specific method that is extremely successful when used. Ask the prospective volunteer to describe an experience they had that they really enjoyed doing and that they felt really good about. This can be in any part of their life. You might break the ice by describing something you really enjoyed doing.

Other opening questions are:

  • What do you see yourself doing five years from now? Ten years?
  • What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • What two or three things are most important to you in a job?

As the prospective volunteer talks, the interviewer should listen for specific skills. Often the interviewer will hear things such as: organized, planned, cooperated, designed, was artistic or creative, researched, etc. This will give the interviewer a good indication of some skills that might transfer to the volunteer activities for which they are interviewing.


Once this question is complete, you need to ask some other more specific questions to check for the volunteer's motivation, values, background, interpersonal skills, and attitude. They should be adapted to your own style and can be asked in the order and manner with which you feel most comfortable. A sampling of these questions follow [in this chapter].


Permission is granted for organizations to reprint this excerpt. Reprints must provide full acknowledgment of the source, as cited here:


Excerpted from A Conversation with a Purpose: A Practical Guide to Interviewing Prospective Volunteers, Kathleen McCleskey and Cheryle N. Yallen, KM Consulting and Training Connection, 2009. Found in the Energize online bookstore at


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