Nonprofit job interviews can be very stressful if you aren't properly prepared. Not only do you have to deal with the considerable nerves you will probably be feeling, you also have to account for the fact that every organization has its own individual mission, culture, and expectations.
One size truly does not fit all when it comes to interviewing in the nonprofit sector. You need to individually prepare for the organization in question if you are to impress the interviewer, and you can achieve that goal by following these eight tips:
- Connect With the Mission: Today's nonprofit hiring managers want candidates to show a true commitment to the organization's cause. It is not enough to just say you want to "do good" or "give back to the community." Thoroughly research the organization and make sure that you are passionate about their goals.
- Prepare Questions: Hiring decisions are often made by the questions that candidates ask during an interview. You don't have to ask questions that are earth-shattering, but make sure you ask something; it shows that you did your homework.
- Do a Mock Interview: Get a good friend or family member to conduct a mock interview with you ahead of time so you can practice your responses. You should encourage whoever you are practicing with to let you know if any of your answers need fine-tuning.
- Ask About the Interview Structure: You should ask ahead of time how the interview will be structured. Will you be interviewed one-on-one, in a group, or in some other method? The answer to this question will give you a better sense of how to prepare.
- Dress Professionally: Unless you are specifically told you can be casual, it is alway safe to follow a professional dress code for the interview. That means wearing a tailored suit or a nice dress. Remember, it is always best to over-dress than to under-dress.
- Bring Important Documents: Come to the interview with at least two copies of your resume, cover letter, references and, if applicable, writing samples.
- Be Confident: Don't be afraid to brag about your accomplishments when talking to the hiring manager.
- Be Flexible: Nothing makes an employer happier than an employee who is willing to be flexible. You should clearly and concisely highlight your experience reacting to unexpected situations, or your ability to wear different hats.