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Advice / Job Search / Finding a Job

The Interview Questions You Need to Ask to Determine if an Employer Truly Values Volunteerism​

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We know you have enough on your plate when you’re preparing for interviews. But, we also know that you’re looking for more than just a job. Everyone wants to find a fulfilling career, and a large part of that is finding a company where you can make a difference.

In fact, 79% of people prefer to work for a socially responsible company and 79% of employees think it’s important that their companies match their charitable giving.

The good news? Employers are taking notice. And 60% of hiring managers see the act of volunteerism as a valuable asset when making recruitment decisions.

So, don’t be shy about your philanthropic side. Maybe you won’t save the world during your daily grind, but tons of companies offer great opportunities to give back. Here’s how to find out if the company you're interviewing with is one of them:

Big Surprise, You Need to Do Your Research

We’ll admit it. We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again: you need to do some research to find out whether the company you're interviewing with truly values volunteerism.

Don’t quit on us now for being a bit repetitive. You’re going to research your potential employer prior to your interview, so just expand that search a little further.

Most companies love to showcase their humanitarian efforts so you shouldn’t have to dig too deep to find this information. Does the company website mention philanthropy? Does their Instagram show pictures of employee volunteer days? Does their Facebook page connect with non-profits?

Before diving in with questions during the interview process, try to get an understanding of what kind of volunteerism the company engages in. This will allow you to ask more informed questions, and you’ll get bonus points for having done your due diligence.

Ask Direct Questions (at the Right Time)

Now that you’ve done the leg work, you can handle the interview process with confidence. Just make sure your timing, and audience, is right.

Most likely your first step in the interview process will be a screening call with a recruiter to discuss the company and the role. If you see the opportunity, ask about the culture and any volunteer initiatives.

However, the first interview with a hiring manager may not be the most opportune time to discuss a company’s philanthropic programs. It’s likely they will be focused on your skills and direct experience, so save your volunteer inquiries until the end of the conversation, or for a debrief with HR afterwards.

But, when the opportunity does arise, there’s no need to beat around the bush. If you really want to know if a company values volunteerism, ask direct questions, like these:

Read the Room

You should be able to gauge the company’s commitment to volunteerism by the interviewer’s response to your questions. If the interviewer looks like a deer in headlights, that company’s volunteer efforts may not be a top priority. But, if the interviewer excitedly tells you about the volunteer work they do, you know you’re on the right track.

And don’t give up all hope if the interviewer doesn’t seem that jazzed about volunteering. You may not be speaking with the right person about the subject (which is why speaking to HR is best).

Luckily, if you find yourself speaking to someone without a ton of knowledge of the company’s volunteering, there’s a subtle way to continue the conversation. Ask about the company culture. Is there an open office plan? Are there employee outings, and if so, what kind? By getting a general sense of the culture, you’ll be able to assess whether there’s opportunity to pitch volunteer programs in the future.

Bottom line: If volunteerism is important to you, then address it like any other part of the job search process. Do your research, ask thoughtful questions, but follow the interviewer’s lead. With the rising trend of volunteerism at the office, we bet most interviewers will be impressed with your initiative and commitment to giving back.