Common Nonprofit Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Top Nonprofit Job Interview Questions (What I look for when hiring)

SummarySample questions to use when interviewing a candidate for your organization.

  • Let’s open up with your interest in this role and our organization – tell me more about that and why your feel your background and experience are uniquely suited to being successful here.
  • Having read the job description, where would you see yourself able to “hit the ground running” if you were to be hired?
  • Where would you anticipate encountering the steepest learning curve in this job? What skills/experience do you hope to gain working at our organization?
  • Why do you hope to work for a nonprofit organization?

    Employers may ask this question to learn more about your intentions for working for a nonprofit. Someone in this role needs to be enthusiastic about their organizations mission. Show that you are applying to this job to make a difference in the world. Explain that this is the only kind of work that is truly fulfilling to you.

    Example: “When I first started in my career, I worked for a corporate law firm. While I made quite a lot of money in this job, I felt like there had to be more meaningful work I could do. Thats why Im interested in transitioning to a pro bono firm where I can support people who really need my help.

    I hope that we can help clients who are experiencing financial challenges overturn their cases. I believe disenfranchised people have the right to a quality lawyer without having to spend their entire life savings. I hope to help people find the justice they deserve and make someones situation at least a little bit better.”


    Experience in a specific field sets a candidate ahead of those without experience. Thus, this is one of the best nonprofit interview questions. For example, Make-A-Wish candidates are asked to share about their background to provide examples of experience to the organization.

    Ask the candidate about their past successes to learn about the challenges they have overcome. Does the applicant have experience in implementing successful programs? This nonprofit interview question is asked by companies such as the Better Business Bureau because it provides insight on the candidate’s past experiences.

    Experienced, prepared candidates should be able to answer this question with ease. Candidates that are confident with their skillset are confident employees.

    Employees must be educated on their nonprofit and its activities. The answer to this question gives insight on the candidate’s knowledge of nonprofits.

    Everyone fails at some point or another. A well-rounded candidate can answer this question with dignity and provide an example where they learned from a mistake. For this reason, Goodwill executives describe this question as one of the best nonprofit interview questions.

    There are also some specific questions appropriate for candidates who are looking to “bridge” from the for-profit to the nonprofit world:

  • Tell me more about your volunteer experience and why you think it has prepared you for a full-time nonprofit role.
  • What (volunteer-related) results make you proud? How did that work help you refine what you’re now looking for in a nonprofit role?
  • Why do you want to work in the nonprofit sector? What do you think would be different about it compared to your role in the for-profit sector?
  • How do your experiences translate to this role at our organization?
  • Why does our mission resonate with you?
  • How do you define consensus-driven decision making? When have you seem this work? What has been your experience of the complexities of consensus decisions?
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