Top Unusual Questions You’ll Be Asked During An Interview For A Nonprofit

Interviewing for a job can be stressful. You have to prepare yourself for the typical questions about your biggest weaknesses, your plans for the future, and your salary requirements. Even after years of interviewing, preparation is always necessary.

When it comes to nonprofit organizations, though, you need to be ready for a different series of questions. While you shouldn’t over prepare for an interview, take a look at some of the most common questions asked by interviewers at charities to learn what questions are asked and why they ask them.

How are You Passionate About Our Cause?

For nonprofits, the WHY you are applying is much more important than with other companies. Because nonprofits are driven by their cause, they want employees that have the same focus. Tell interviewers about your personal motivation and unique story, in addition to demonstrating how you support their goals in everyday life through volunteering and other means.

You may also be asked to work nontraditional hours, as many charity organizations may not be a 9-5 job. Multi-tasking and willingness to do different tasks other than the original scope of work is a must

How Can You Help Us Achieve Our Goals?

It’s important to really understand a nonprofit’s mission before the interview. Learn what they have done in the past and what goals they have for the future. Nonprofits are more goals oriented than private sector positions and often have very specific short and long-term goals. Interviewers may also ask you to evaluate their current approach and what you would change to better address their needs. They may even ask you questions about funding ideas, as well as specific examples of how you would address their donors or how you would revamp their fundraising strategies.

What Role Do You See Yourself In?

Any variation of this question may be asked to get a sense of how you view yourself and assess how your skills can help the organization. Every nonprofit needs people to lead the charge, people who connect others with the cause, and followers who take care of the groundwork. There’s no wrong answer to this question, but knowing what type of position you’re aiming for within an organization can dictate how you answer.

Being a team player is also essential, as often, charities are volunteer-driven organizations and you have to be prepared to work with a diverse group of volunteers.

Describe a Time You Failed on a Project.

This is a question that’s asked in almost every interview — even at a nonprofit company. Managers want to see that you can take responsibility for your work and how you can turn things around for the better. Many experts advise that you think of examples that would be most relevant to the company and the position you’re interviewing for.

What Do You Do to Stay Enthusiastic?

Enthusiasm and motivation are important for nonprofit employees to be successful. Sometimes goals seem insurmountable, and achieving them may involve overcoming many hurdles. Staying motivated and positive is critical to keeping nonprofits going. It’s also important to remember that while many people support a charity’s cause, there will also be critics.

Having a positive approach shows potential employers that you know how to stay upbeat and keep things on track. Answer this question with some of your hobbies that help prevent burnout and maybe even an anecdote that specifically relates to how a hobby helped you relax and refocus after a rough day at work.

What Was Missing for You in Your Last Job?

In regular interviews, you may have been asked why you left, but for nonprofit organizations, phrasing the question in this way tells them a lot about what you’re looking for in a career. Many times nonprofit companies have a different work environment, as well as unique metrics for success. Discussing the things you’re hoping to find with the organization you’re interviewing for shows that you know how the company operates and that your work ethic is aligned with theirs.

Perhaps your previous job limited your social interactions and the charity you’re applying for promotes group collaboration, or maybe your last job was sales focused and you want to transition into a position that’s more results oriented.

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