Published: 4 years ago

Interview Your Volunteers

On this morning’s commute, I was tuned in to a station where the hosts were talking about one question in Bed Bath & Beyond’s hiring process:

“If you were a breakfast cereal, what kind would you be, and why?”

Of course, you need to take time to answer that for yourself. Because you’ll be thinking about it all day if you don’t.

(Go on. I’ll wait.)

But it made me think: what other companies go beyond the standard “Tell me about a time you handled conflict well” fare? And that’s where the internet came in.

A quick Google search revealed the Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions, according to job finding site Glassdoor. My favorites, in no particular order:

  1. If you were a pizza deliveryman how would you benefit from scissors? (Apple)
  2. Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer? (Dell)
  3. Do you believe in Big Foot? (Norwegian Cruise Line)
  4. Why is a tennis ball fuzzy? (Xerox)
  5. Can you instruct someone how to make an origami “cootie catcher” with just words? (LivingSocial)
  6. How does the Internet work? (Akamai)
  7. What was the last gift you gave someone? (Gallup)
  8. It’s Thursday, we’re staffing you on a telecommunications project in Calgary, Canada on Monday. Your flight and hotel are booked; your visa is ready. What are the top five things you do before you leave? (ThoughtWorks)
  9. Have you ever been on a boat? (Applied Systems)
  10. You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why? (Urban Outfitters)

I love these questions, because they help a potential employer see past the pre-prepped pablum that people bring in (that’s a lot of p‘s). They get beyond the fluffy, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and force people to think out of the box, to display their creativity, to do some on-the-spot problem solving to show why they should rise above other candidates.

Do you interview your volunteers for your ministry teams? Confession: we don’t. Well, that’s not entirely true. We ask a few zingers, like:

  1. Tell me a little about yourself.
  2. How long have you been at the Summit?
  3. So…you wanna serve on this team?
  4. On a scale of one to C-Span, how bored are you with these questions?

Okay, we don’t ask that last one, but we should, because the “interview” we bring is pathetic.

What would my team and your team look like if we started really getting to know our volunteers before we pressed them into service? And what are the questions YOU would ask? Comment below.


(click for photo credit)

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