Handling Volunteer Interviews

I decided to begin applying for summer volunteer jobs early, before I would go back to my regular university and job routine for the second semester. I have now got a volunteer interview in London next week and am brought back to the memory of my first interview for my current volunteer job in Manchester. Firstly, when they say ‘please come to our offices for a short and informal interview,’ it is likely to not be short and there still remains the formality associated with meeting new colleagues. The best advice I can give is to be prepared, regardless of the situation presented:

In my case, two members of staff took me into a room and handed me case studies to look over for 15 minutes, before the interview officially began. Whilst my initial reaction when staring at the sheet in the empty room was akin to panic, I realised the questions were a practical way to figure out whether I was able to rationally handle the different situations that the job presented.  Specifically, they were checking whether I had the ability to deal with the issues associated with refugees and asylum seeking. I realised how useful it was in teaching me to be quick on my feet but more importantly, giving me a feel for what it would be like to work there. This actually made me both calmer and more comfortable for the remainder of the interview.

Before the interview, I was sitting on the train reading the full outline of the job as well as extra information about the charity. This came especially handy, as I got to ask questions about the role itself after being asked why I would like to volunteer there. The essential thing is to be confident, friendly and demonstrate your passion for the cause (even something as simple as reading articles around the subject). I realised how important it was to expect the unexpected and to relax! Though difficult, I will try my hardest to remember this next week.

Priya Changela (Student Blogger)

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