Healthy Living YMCA Volunteers

Standing out in a volunteer interview

A women being interviewed in an office.

By Wesley Banks

Volunteering is a great way to become engaged with your community, meet others, and lend a hand towards a good cause. The Y, like many other organizations that work with volunteers, includes an interview as part of the recruitment process. Here are six things you can demonstrate to help you stand out in any volunteer interview:

1. Professionalism

Treat this like a job interview. Dress professionally. Be polite, well-mannered, and use professional language. If you are worried about your language skills because you are still learning English, just do your best — and don’t forget to let the interviewer know you speak another language; it’s a valuable asset! Show the interviewer that your skillset will be a valuable contribution.

2. Enthusiasm and readiness

Show your eagerness to become involved. Why is volunteering important to you? Why are you interested in this position? Be knowledgeable about the organization’s goals and services. Being able to explain how a certain position can help you meet your goals and help the organization meet theirs will make you stand out.

3. Authenticity

Demonstrate your genuine motivation. Show that you are inspired to help others and are enthusiastic about the organisation’s programs. Focus on the benefits of being a volunteer — skills development, networking opportunities, professional references, and valuable experience to enhance your resume. Volunteering will also give you a chance to give back and get involved.

4. Personality

Be open. A volunteer interview is more than just a discussion about your skills; it’s a chance to get to know you. Don’t be afraid to discuss your motivations and interests. By expressing your needs and goals, you are more likely to be given a position that is rewarding for you.

5. Flexibility

Be flexible and accommodating. Know your availability before you arrive, including your time commitment. As well as expressing your goals and interests, try to present yourself as being open to doing a variety of tasks. Being versatile and open-minded will ultimately help you to expand your skillset, enhance your resume and encounter new opportunities.

6. Curiosity

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. What aspects of the organization would you like to know more about? What about the position would you like to clarify? Are police checks and references required? Asking questions is a way to demonstrate genuine interest and enthusiasm, so don’t be shy.

Want more great tips for interviews? Check out the Do’s and Don’ts of job interviews and 8 tips for students.