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The Best Nonprofit Interview Questions for a Perfect Hire Every Time



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As the employer, you have a vested interest in getting the interview process right from the start. Especially in a small nonprofit organization, a single employee can impact the dynamics of an entire team – so you want to make sure, as much as possible, that you’re bringing on a candidate who is the right fit for you. 

A hand holds a pen above a black clipboard with a piece of paper that says 'resume' on it. When you base your nonprofit interview questions on a candidate's resume, you'll have the best chance of getting to know them.

Don’t “just wing it” when it comes to interviewing potential employees! Preparing for your interviews is a vital part of the hiring process. 

Create a template with space to take notes. And then fill it with the best nonprofit interview questions to really get to know your candidate!

Now, you don’t have to adhere strictly to this list of questions or ask them in the same order every time. But if you’ve never interviewed before or aren’t confident in your skills, this will help keep you – and the interview – focused and on-track.

Background Questions

Begin your interview with general background questions – what brought the candidate to you in the first place? What stood out to them about the job listing, and why were they interested in the role? 

Take this opportunity to ground the interview in their interest and intent. 

Best Nonprofit Interview Questions for Background:

  • Tell me why this position caught your eye. 
  • What about our mission resonates with you?
  • What unique skills will you bring to this work?
  • What do you think will be your biggest learning curve?

Culture and Organizational Fit Questions

Skills can be learned, knowledge can be gained, but someone’s working style is a highly personal thing – and sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you might never be a good fit for each other. Ask a series of “culture” questions to get a sense for whether the candidate will be a good fit for the day-to-day of your organization. 

Sample Questions:

  • Tell me about the kind of environment you work best in.
  • What do you look for in a supervisor? In a colleague? A teammate?
  • How do you think your former colleagues would describe you? 
  • In a group setting, what role do you typically play? What do you like and dislike about that? 

Past Experience Questions

Take time to formulate a handful of questions specific to each candidate – this is where you can really dive into their past experience and how their skills will translate to the position you’re hiring for.

Personalize your questions as much as possible to the specific candidate’s experience.

Sample Questions:

  • What did you appreciate about your previous role? 
  • What did you find most challenging?
  • Why did you decide to move on from your last position?
  • Describe something about your last role you feel like you changed for the better. What legacy did you leave behind?

Questions for Nonprofit Newcomers

If someone is looking to transition from the for-profit sector into your organization, you’ll want to suss out their expectations. Be sure to help your candidate make the connection between their experiences in the for-profit sector and the work they’d be doing with your organization. 

Sample Questions:

  • Do you have prior experience working with nonprofits? Volunteering?
  • What do you think will be the biggest difference for you between working in a for-profit vs. nonprofit environment?
  • How do you feel like your for-profit experience will translate into nonprofit work?

Asking the best nonprofit interview questions will give you the best chance to make a good hire that will ultimately serve your mission, your vision, and your community. 

Happy hiring!

For more information and resources for nonprofit professionals, join NPO Centric’s membership program. >>