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Non-profit organizations have a different culture and different values than many corporations. The focus is on service, not on profit. However, non-profits are very similar to businesses in many other ways. They want to hire the right candidate who is a good match for their organization. Asking the right questions based on your understanding of the nonprofit can help you stand out from other job candidates.
Research as much as you can about a nonprofit organization’s mission and values before you head into an interview. This can prepare you for the kinds of questions interviewers will ask you about your commitment to the organization’s work. It can also prepare you to ask your own questions about the nonprofit. For example, you can say, “I understand that this organization’s commitment is to serving those in the area by providing medical care. What are the key qualifications the candidate who fills this position should have to be in line with the mission of the organization?” Describe how you fit the profile of a good candidate when the interviewer finishes outlining the ideal candidate.
Read up on what is going on in the organization’s industry and field before the interview. Ask, "How do you foresee recent events in your field of work affecting your organization and its work?” This demonstrates your ability to connect what is going on in the non-profit world to the job for which you are applying.
Find out who some of the organization’s major partners are before you go into the interview by reading the organization’s annual report or its website. Mention the organizations with which the non-profit partners that you are aware of, and ask the interviewers about how these partnerships contribute to the overall success of the organization individually.
Ask how the organization is set up. Find out to whom you would be responsible in the position for which you are applying. This can give you a better understanding of how the organization is run and where the job fits in to the larger overall structure of the non-profit.
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Leyla Norman has been a writer since 2008 and is a certified English as a second language teacher. She also has a master's degree in development studies and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology.