Interviewing potential SOS volunteers is a crucial step in assembling the best team possible. In order to determine if the volunteer is is the right fit for the role (and for your chapter), we need to be asking them the right questions. Each position will have different questions specific to the role they are applying for. The interview will be different based on if it is a management role (VP) or a team member role, as well as if the candidate has volunteered with SOS before.
It cannot be stressed enough that the best type of volunteer is the volunteer who is passionate about SOS. In university lots of students are looking for volunteer opportunities to boost their resumes. Students will often take on a volunteer role with SOS without being 100% committed to it. This causes major problems as the chapter can only be successful with 100% commitment from its volunteers. Therefore, when interviewing potential volunteers, it is imperative to discuss commitment and how much the potential volunteer wants to be part of SOS (as opposed to other organizations on campus). It is also important to determine how much time they will be able to devote to SOS.
See the article on Hiring Procedures for more information on hiring and how to conduct interviews.
Questions to ask everyone:
(1) Tell me about yourself (This is a great icebreaker and a way to help the candidate get comfortable with answering questions before the tougher interview questions start)
(2) How did you hear about this opportunity? (This question allows you to see which advertising strategies are working best for your chapter)
(3) Why are you interested in this role?
(4) What are some of your strengths? What is your greatest weakness?
(5) What are your expectations for this position?
(6) Would you say that you are most effective in communicating face-to-face, by telephone, or in written form? Tell me about why you consider yourself to be effective in this area and describe a situation that illustrates this
(7) As a student, you are often balancing classes, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs/internships,among other things. Tell me about how you organize your time and prioritize your workload.
(8) Many of the roles at SOS require you to work as part of a team. Tell me about a time you encountered conflict working in a group or a team. How did this affect the project? How were you able to resolve the conflict?
(9) How long do you think you would stay with SOS? (Ask this towards the end of the interview)
(10) How many hours per week, on average, would you expect to put into your position? (Ask this towards the end of the interview)
Questions for VPs or current/past SOS volunteers:
(1) How would you rate your level of expertise in [insert major function to be performed]?
(2) Tell me about some improvements you introduced in your last position (at SOS or another organization).
(3) Tell me about your approach to motivating the volunteers in your department (VP specific)
(4) How would you handle a volunteer who is frequently absent from meetings, very slow at answering emails/does not respond to emails, and does not complete tasks?
(5) Describe your management style. (VP specific)
(6) What is your comfort level in setting deadlines for others?
(7) What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Questions for candidates with no previous experience at SOS:
(1) Tell me about your knowledge of SOS and what we do (This is a great question because the answer will show how committed and enthusiastic the candidate is about the organization. This question will also allow you to see what information about SOS is available, and what information may need to be updated).
(2) Thinking back on your experiences working in teams or groups, what personality types do you work best with?
(3) What management style(s) do you work best under?
(4) What contributions will you make to the chapter ?
(5) What concerns do you have about joining the chapter?
Questions for the Logistics Department:
(1) Can you describe a time when you had to multi-task that includes being accountable for multiple people?
(2)Walk me through the process you would use to manage your logistics team ** you are looking for how they will communicate with their team and set deadlines, you might need to ask probing questions to get to these tactics **
(3)You have a tutor who says they have already created their PowerPoint presentation, but at the run through 2 days prior to the actual session they have no PowerPoint or package prepared. How would you handle this situation?
(4) A professor slams SOS sessions right after a coordinator does a session announcement in his classroom. How would you handle this situation?
(5) It is 1 week prior to a session and the room booking office still has not gotten back to you with the room location for your upcoming session. How do you handle this situation?
Questions for Potential Tutors:
(1) What previous teaching experience do you have?
(2) Describe a time you had to meet multiple deadlines while balancing other activities.
(3)Take 3 minutes to teach me about (their course topic, a sport, a band, etc.) ** time them and make sure they use all 3 minutes and that they a) taught you something and b) impressed you with their presentation skills**
(4) You have a student in your session who constantly asks questions that are not relevant to the material, how would you handle this situation?
(1) Do you have photo editing software/ photo editing experience?(e.g. Photoshop, Adobe, etc)
(2) What do you consider the most important aspects of successful marketing?
(3)What is the most creative marketing campaign you have ever seen?
(4)What marketing strategies would you consider using for our services?
(1) Describe one of the most challenging assignments you have had to complete. How did you handle it? What problems did you encounter and how did you overcome them?
(2) Describe your experience in coordinating the efforts of different organizational units or people. What sorts of problems did you encounter? How did you deal with them?
(3) Describe a situation in which you had to take charge when faced with unforeseen circumstances.
(4) In your opinion, what are the key ingredients in building and maintaining successful colleague relationships in an organization?
(1) What previous accounting experience do you have?
(2) Describe a time when you faced a particularly demanding deadline to prepare a financial statement or report. How did you react? How did you organize your time? What was the result?
(3) Walk me through how you would prepare a monthly reconciliation.
(4) How do you ensure that your financial statements are accurate, and that you do not forget important details when you prepare monthly reconciliations, record transactions, etc.?
(5) What is an appropriate amount of time to respond to an e-mail from the Director of Chapter Operations ? (answer: 24 – 48 hours)
(1) What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?
(2) Walk me through the steps you would take to introduce SOS to the [insert department name] department.
(3) A professor gives you 1 minute to make a pitch on why SOS should be allowed to do announcements in his classroom. Go! **get them to give you the pitch**
(4) How do you see SOS expanding this year?
(5) What do you think will be the biggest challenges to expand SOS?
(1) What past travel experience do you have?
(2) Tell me about a time you were responsible for a team or group
(3) Walk me through how you think you would handle communication between your team as well as the Director of International Outreach. What communication tools would you use? How frequently would you stay in contact with the Director/your team?
(4) What is an appropriate amount of time to respond to an e-mail from the Director of International Outreach? (answer:24 – 48 hours)
Feel free to rework these questions to suit your chapter. You can also create your own questions. When creating your own questions, be sure to include these types of questions:
- Behavioural questions, which ask the candidate to describe how they acted in a past situation
- Situational questions, which ask the candidate what they would do in a given situation
- Job knowledge questions, which test the candidate’s knowledge of the tasks required to perform the job effectively
- Probing questions, which are follow-up questions you can ask to get more information from an interviewee about a situation or event
- Make sure when creating your own interview questions that they are open-ended questions which require more than one word to fully answer
- Questions about teamwork, time management, organization, conflict management, and communication work for every department/role