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Managing volunteer applications and interviews

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Manage your applications

Use a simple application process to help make sure your volunteer recruitment process is accessible and fair.

Application processes usually:

  • ask volunteers to complete an application form
  • ask volunteers to write a cover letter to address the role description
  • offer alternative application formats, such as recording a short video.

Make sure everyone can use your chosen method or provide an alternative. GOV.UK has guidance on accessible communication formats.

If speaking a different language is part of the role, consider providing translated versions of the role description and application form.

If you’re using an online application form, make sure it’s accessible to everyone. Consider creating a paper version of your application form and offer to post it to those who need it.

Provide a telephone number and email address so people can contact you with questions about their application.

Organise interviews

When organising interviews, ask applicants how you can support them to attend or prepare for the interview. For example, you could send questions in advance to give them time to prepare. You should also ask if they have any access requirements.

During the interview, make people feel at ease by introducing yourself and the other panellists. Explain how the interview will work before you start asking questions.

Ask clear questions that are directly related to the role. It's important to get to know the potential volunteer, so give them time to talk about themselves. Ask questions that give candidates the opportunity to show their transferrable skills through examples of previous experience.

You should discuss:

  • the tasks involved in the role and how their skills and experience would fit it
  • why they want to volunteer for your organisation and what motivates them
  • any requirements they'll need to meet before appointment, for example undergoing a DBS check or providing references
  • what they’ll get out of the role. This could include training or opportunities for personal development. You could also highlight the fun and rewarding things about the role, such as meeting new people or helping people in their community
  • how you can make the role work for them. For example, flexible hours to allow for childcare or providing documents in a different format like large print
  • what resources and equipment you’ll supply and what they’ll need to provide themselves. For example, a laptop or wi-fi connection for a remote role.

It's good practice to keep a record of your questions and the applicant’s responses. Store these securely, in line with your organisation’s data protection procedures.

Read our guidance on data protection.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 30 March 2023

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