Four ways to get ready for the big day

Research the organization

What is their mission? How does it distinguish itself from others working on similar issues or with similar clientele? What is the geographic scope of the organization? How is it funded? What buzz words do you notice when you read the organization’s website?

Type up talking points

For example, the anecdotes that illustrate your most salient skills. It’s fine to bring in notes to the interview with you.

  • Bring your notes, additional copies of your resume and work samples to leave behind in a neat padfolio.

Figure out how to answer common interview questions

Here are a few:

  • Tell me about yourself.  Don’t assume the hiring team remembers the details of your resume; summarize your accomplishments, work, and passions in a few key sentences.
  • Why do you want to work for our organization?
  • Why do you want this position?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Can you tell us about a time you used the skills necessary in this position?

Prepare your own questions

Just like a limp handshake, a one-sided interview is no fun! The hiring team wants to hear your questions and see that you’re actively engaged in learning more about the organization and position.

  • When you research the organization and position, write down unanswered questions that arise for you and ask them during the interview.
  • Ask about the context and history of the position, what daily tasks and activities are involved, how the position is managed, what the rest of the hiring process looks like, and anything else you’re curious about. (See the Idealist Guides to Nonprofit Careers for more.)
  • Plan to ask the most important questions — like how does the open position help the organization fulfill its mission — as early as possible during the interview. During second interview and later, you should avoid asking questions that cast doubt on your understanding of the position.