Non-profits hire just like any other company – sometimes well, sometimes badly. So non-profit hiring managers will ask most of the same questions as for-profit hiring managers.
One thing I know is that non-profit hiring takes much more account of someone’s passion. KEY QUESTION: “Why do you want to work here? What’s your motivation?”
It can’t just be about “giving back.” There has to be some real, deep reason for working for a non-profit. Because if you don’t have that motivation, you won’t be willing to tolerate some of the realities of working for many non-profits. We are the original “do more with less” folks.
This brings me to the second KEY QUESTION: “What kind of experience do you have with non-profits? Have you volunteered anywhere regularly? Do you know how non-profits operate?”
The issue is familiarity with a different culture, where you are constrained in resources and perhaps underspend on infrastructure, staff development, and supplies – things that may be more common in for-profits. People coming from the for-profit often leave non-profits because of their frustration with the realities of non-profit culture and finances. If someone has no record of volunteering with a non-profit, I would not hire them. I recommend that my clients who want to transition to non-profit work start volunteering somewhere immediately.