Volunteer Hiring Process

The VP HR is responsible for all aspects of the hiring process, with the assistance of the President(s) and other VPs. It is important that your chapter has established a volunteer hiring process to make hiring smooth and straightforward. Below is a recommended process that acts as a checklist of things you need to do before and during the process of hiring your volunteers. It is recommended that you adapt this process to your chapter and create a timeframe to complete the hiring process so it doesn’t drag on throughout the entire semester. Typically you want to have all hiring done by the third week of classes – before midterms start. From the planning stage to the actual hiring and onboarding of volunteers, the process should take approximately 4 weeks. If you have any questions about hiring please send an email to chapters@studentsofferingsupport.ca.

Planning is an important step in the process because this will help you determine not only how many volunteers you will need to hire, but also what skills you are looking for in new volunteers. Planning will also help lay the groundwork for the other steps in the hiring process, such as developing your recruitment plan and developing your interview questions.

  • Determine what positions are vacant or will become vacant in the near future, and how many volunteers will be needed to fill the vacancies. This should be done before the start of each semester/hiring period, and as volunteers leave the chapter.
  • Perform a gap analysis to determine what core skills are missing in each department – ideally this should be done before the start of each hiring period, but at least once during the school year is fine.  A gap analysis consists of 4 steps:
  1. Listing the current skills, competencies, performance levels, etc. within each department in your chapter (the “what is”)
  2. Listing the factors needed to achieve future objectives in your chapter (the “what should be”)
  3. Highlighting the gaps that exist within your chapter
  4. Creating a plan for how the gaps will be filled (for example, targeting more job postings to the business department)
  • Update role descriptions – updated role descriptions will help you determine what qualifications/skills you are looking for when hiring
  • Devise a way to keep track of available job openings, applicants, interview times, etc. (for example, Google Docs or an Excel spreadsheet) to help keep you organized throughout the process.

Posting Positions (Your recruitment plan – how will you generate your candidate pool?)
Post all open volunteer positions on your chapter’s SOS site, including job descriptions (you can find more information on job descriptions here and here). This is done through the portal:
*Note: all candidates for VP Finance and VP Outreach must be screened by Head Office

Navigation > Human Resources > Post Volunteer Positions > Input Position Title and Description (Position will now appear on external chapter website)

  • Internal recruiting – mention available openings to high performing volunteers and encourage them to apply
  • Leverage volunteer/job boards on campus for advertising positions, but always redirect applications to the SOS site.
  • Post your volunteer openings to your social media pages, again always redirecting to your SOS campus site.
  • Send out email blasts with the communication manager to students who attended previous Exam-AID sessions
  • Reaching out to your personal network to find volunteers – someone may be looking for an opportunity to gain experience in a certain area – remember to redirect applications to the SOS site
  • Be sure to include application deadlines on all job postings
  • You can also work with the Marketing team to develop a recruitment campaign in advance of your hiring time frame

Accepting Applications/Scheduling Interviews

  • Ensure that you’ve updated the “Chapter Contact People” on Portal so that your VP HR gets notifications about new volunteer applicants.
  • The VP HR and department VP should review all applications together as they come in and schedule interviews with qualified candidates as soon as possible. Set up a couple of days dedicated to interviewing candidates
  • Make sure you tell your interviewees what you want them to prepare or bring (i.e. resume/cover letter; presentation for Exam-AID Instructors, portfolio, etc.), along with the date/time/location of the interview; make sure to leave some time between interviews to discuss thoughts/recommendations on the candidate

Conducting Interviews
As an Interviewer, your overall objectives will be to:

  • Assess the applicant’s qualifications
  • Observe the applicant’s behaviour
  • Gather information to predict future performance (for example, by asking behavioural questions – questions related to past behaviour rather than asking about hypothetical situations)
  • Communicate information about the job (such as what the role entails, the time commitment, etc.)
  • Promote SOS
  • Determine how well the applicant would fit in with the team, and that they will also be a positive addition to your chapter’s environment (this is very important in building a cohesive team!)

How to ensure your interviews go as smoothly as possible:

  • Prepare your questions for each role in advance; questions should be adjusted to address the specific role and the skills needed.  Examples of interview questions for each role can be found here
  • Set up your interview panels; the VP HR should be involved in each interview, along with a note taker (either the HR executive or someone else within the specific department) and ideally, the VP of the department the applicant wants to join.
  • Determine beforehand which of the panelists will ask which questions
  • Make sure to be very clear with job candidates about exactly what the position entails – Provide a realistic representation of the position to candidates.
  • Encourage candidates to ask questions about the role and about SOS
  • Be sure to inform the candidate when they will hear back from you regarding a decision
  • After each interview, ensure that the notes are thorough and a recommendation is made. That recommendation may not be a definite hiring decision, but should offer the panel’s general thoughts on the candidate.
  • Consider setting up a behaviourally anchored rating scale (BARS) to make it easier to score candidates – this eliminates the possibility of bias in hiring decisions

Selection & Allocation

  • Once all interviews are completed, the VP HR should review the interview notes with the department VP and allocate selected applicants into their new roles. When deciding on an offer, make sure all team members involved in decision making are equally involved in the choice. Work together to decide what is best for the team
  • Inform successful candidates by phone or email within the timeframe mentioned during the interview – you can find a position offer template here. If you choose to send decline letters to unsuccessful candidates you can find that template here.
  • Don’t be afraid to reallocate someone to a role they didn’t apply for – just talk it through with the applicant to make sure they’re okay with it.
  • The VP HR should then send out a welcome email to all new volunteers introducing them to their department VP and informing them of your mandatory orientation event and chapter social.

Adding New Volunteers on the Portal

  • When a new volunteer joins the team, be sure to organize their portal account
    • Navigation > Human Resources > Volunteer User Manager
    • If the volunteer has been a part of SOS in the past, check for an existing account. Otherwise, create a new volunteer account by following the prompts.
  • Course-to-Volunteer Manager
    • Each course must have a course coordinator attached to it. You will need to update coordinator information 2 times on the portal – first at the beginning of the term, and once again after any new coordinators have been hired.
      • Navigation > Human Resources > Course to Volunteer Manager
      • Select applicable course and assign Coordinator then Tutors
    • Be sure to coordinate this task with your chapter’s VP Logistics

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