Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Interview Questions For Executive Director Non Profit

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Nonprofit Hiring Interview Questions For Ceo Position

Top Nonprofit Job Interview Questions (What I look for when hiring)

Nonprofit Hiring Interview Questions For CEO Position are NOT yes/no queries. The 15 questions that follow have been developed to reveal a candidates qualifications and experiences. These recommendations are made by National Association of Nonprofit Organizations co-founder, Jimmy LaRose. Writing and asking the right nonprofit hiring interview questions can be tougher than you think. Lets start with interview question number one.

Question #1: Why do you want to lead our organization?

Answer: The aim of this question is to determine what the candidate knows about your organization and assess their motivation for working with you. What to look for in a successful answer:

  • In-depth knowledge of your organization
  • Passion for their career as a Chief Executive Officer
  • Understanding of the role


I recently heard about your organization from a family friend. She was struggling with her pregnancy as a single mother and received aid from your nonprofit. I went through a similar situation as her ten years ago and could have benefited from an organization like yours. I want to be your Chief Executive Officer so I can help women like my friend and I find the help they need so they dont feel as alone as I did.

Question #2: What experience do you have coaching, mentoring, or training someone in a similar position?

A: The aim of this question is to assess the candidates leadership abilities. What to look for in a successful answer:



What Should Candidates Ask The Search Committee

Ok, so Ive gone over the 10 questions. And then a bonus question.

But theres still one more question most people get asked toward the end of an interview:

Is there anything youd like to ask us about the organization? The staff? Our programs? Working here? Anything at all?

You could have aced the interview up to this point, but if your answer here is, Not really, you have just left a really poor last impression. Think youll get the job?

I have a LOT to write on the questions candidates should ask their interviewers and that will be the subject of an upcoming post.

Ill notify all of my email subscribers when the next post is published. If you havent already subscribed, Id love for you to do so here.

See you again soon!

What Is A Nonprofit Program Director

A nonprofit program director is a professional who oversees the events and initiatives for a nonprofit organization. They understand the program’s mission and ensure the personnel and tasks within their oversight support it. This role requires you to understand business operations, have a passion for the area that the nonprofit represents, create and implement strategies and manage teams of people. Some common duties include:

  • Developing new programs

Here are some general questions you may expect interviewers to ask:

  • What made you decide to seek new job opportunities?

  • What are some reasons you want to work with our organization?

  • How does this role fit into your larger career plans?

  • In your own words, could you explain what you think our organization does?

  • What leadership style do you have, and why is it effective?

  • What goals might you set for yourself while working in this position?

  • What are your greatest strengths?

  • What qualities do you hope to improve?

  • What are you passionate about outside of work?

  • What is your ideal career?

  • What made you choose a career in nonprofit work?

  • What would you offer us in this role over other candidates?

Related:125 Common Interview Questions and Answers

Read Also: What Are Some Good Interview Questions

Focus On Your Best Skills

To prepare for your executive director interview, analyze your skills and choose ones to focus on that best fit the job description. In an executive role like this, it’s important to have an excellent understanding of finance and know how to demonstrate previous success in a similar position. Interviewers may also be interested in your knowledge of corporate and regulatory practices, and ask about your communication and leadership skills.

What Strategies Do You Use To Motivate A Team

Top 10 non profit executive director interview questions and answers

A single team can consist of a diverse group of people who have different personalities, work styles and performance levels. For these reasons, how they respond to motivation can vary from one person to the next. Hiring managers ask this question to understand how you will motivate different people on a team. A response could discuss how you get to know team members personally so you better understand what motivates them personally. You could also share how you use a variety of different techniques for motivating a team.

Answer:”I use a variety of different strategies to motivate my team. I develop and implement a recognition system to give shout-outs weekly for team members who are doing a great job in their roles. I also have monthly bonuses and offer a professional development program to encourage professional growth and increase employee retention.”

Also Check: How To Watch Meghan And Harry Oprah Interview

Whats One Thing You Would Do Differently For This Organization

Here it isthe question that all candidates dread, yet all interviewers love. And, you can bet its an effective one to ask of any prospective directors.

In this role, the executive director will be tasked with generating ideas and improvements for the nonprofit. So, he or she might as well get started right in the interview. Not only will this help you narrow down the best fits for the job, but you also might be rewarded with some great new suggestions!

An executive director plays a key role in your nonprofit, and finding the best fit for the job can often feel like an overwhelming undertaking. However, asking valuable, thought-provoking interview questions will bring you that much closer to the best candidate.

How Well Do You Work With A Board Do You Have Any Experience Doing So

Working with a board isnt always easy, but its something that any executive director is going to be required to do. After all, the director isnt really the boss of your nonprofitthe board is.

Youll want to find someone who not only understands that balance but thrives in it. That way, your team, your new director, and your board will all be happy.

Read Also: How To Answer Behavioral Interview Questions

Corporate To Nonprofit: The Executive Director Interview

When I went from corporate to nonprofit, nobody was around to assure me I wasnt in over my head. Or how to prepare for the interview.

Note: Most of my readers already work in nonprofit. But the sector needs a serious influx of new talent with leadership skills. If you know somebody you think might consider making the leap, please share this important post.


Do you ever feel like a fraud?

I sure did when I interviewed to become the Executive Director of GLAAD. I had never worked at a nonprofit. Never spoken at a gala for thousands. Never even asked somebody for a donation. Not even my mom!

The interview. I was so nervous!

What would they ask me? How would I answer the inevitable questions about my lack of nonprofit experience? What if they ask me how much money Ive raised?

There was nobody around to give me advice on how to prepare for an Executive Director interview. Nobody, really, to even assure me I wasnt in over my head. Or that I was even doing the right thing.

Today, let me do that for you.

What Do You Expect To Be Most Challenging In This Role

7 Nonprofit Job Interview Tips (from an Executive Director!)

The interviewers may ask this question to learn how well you understand the position’s responsibilities. Consider referencing specific duties from the job description and showing that you understand what they require of you. It may impress them if you specify the challenge you expect and how you plan to handle it.

Example:”**I think one of the most difficult responsibilities might be the fundraising in new territories, as those potential donors might not be familiar with our mission. What I’d like to do is develop a plan with events and information for communities to familiarize themselves with what we do and where we allocate their money so they feel more comfortable. It can help bring in corporate partners that can share their positive experiences.”

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What Is Your Dream Job

This is a great question that gives you insight into the aspirations and growth potential of the candidate. If their dream job aligns with your organizations mission, thats a great sign. It means this position isnt just a stepping stone for them to something greater.

Having passionate employees in the nonprofit world is a must. The last thing you want is a dispassionate director constantly looking toward the exit.

Top 10 Nonprofit Ceo Interview Questions And Answers

  • 1. Top 10 nonprofit ceo interview questions andanswersUseful materials:
  • 2. In this file, you can ref interview materials for nonprofit ceo such as types of interviewquestions, nonprofit ceo situational interview, nonprofit ceo behavioral interviewOther useful materials for nonprofit ceo interview: materials:
  • Read Also: What Answers To Give In A Job Interview

    I Can See You Led Project In Your Last Job Can You Tell Us About The Challenges You Faced While Leading It

    They are testing your attitude with this question. Each program or project has some challenges. Speak about them openly, and admit making mistakesand learning from them.

    The question is not whether we can lead a program without facing challenges, or making a single mistakesince thats impossible. Good leaders are able to address the challenges, and overcome them.

    To typical challenges we face when leading a program belong: problems with finding volunteers or workers, problems with funding, failing to achieve one of the partial milestones, conflicts in the team, failing to meet deadlines, etc.

    Special Tip: To know how to answer a questions, and to actually come up with a great answer on a big day, when facing a panel of interviewers, are two different things. Check my eBook, Program Director Interview Guide, to see multiple great answers to 25 questions you may realistically face in this interview. Get access to materials your competitors wont see, and outclass them with fantastic interview answers. Thank you for checking it out!

    Do You Have Any Experience Budgeting

    So You Wanna Be a Nonprofit Executive Director?

    As you know, budgeting is another key component in the job description of an executive director role. So, its another area of experience youll need to directly address during the interview stages.

    How competent is this candidate when it comes to assessing the financial health of a business? Finding someone whos experienced in managing the finances will be important for the bottom line and overall well-being of the nonprofit.

    Also Check: What To Expect In A Phone Interview

    As The New Director How Do You Plan To Shape This Organizations Image And What Is Your Public Relations Experience

    One of the most important things that an organization can have is its public image. The executive director will be responsible for deciding upon the right image and instituting the steps to bring it about. You want to make sure that the candidate has worked in public relations previously in order to portray the organization in the proper light. Describing the image will also help demonstrate their understanding of the organization.

    What to look for in an answer:

    • Demonstrated experience representing an organization in public
    • Public relations skills, especially with the media
    • Understanding of the organizational image


    I want this organization to be perceived as a beacon of caring and action, and I know how to portray this to opinion shapers.

    Why Do You Think You Can Be A Good Program Director

    Experience is priceless in this case. Talk about similar programs or projects you led in the past.

    Big scale, small scaledoesnt matter. If you took care of planning, budgeting, hiring staff, and overseeing a project, it will help you greatly in this interview.

    Results you achieved before, and references from your past employers or clients, will easily convince the hiring managers that you can be the right guy to lead their program.

    But what to do, if you have no experience? Well, you have to play with the cards youve been dealt. Talk about your understanding of their program, your education, skills and abilities that make from you a good applicant for the position. This may not be enough to succeed, but you do not have other options for your answer once you lack previous experience.

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    How To Make The Decision

    There are several factors to take into consideration when embarking on the journey of hiring a nonprofit executive director.

    • What knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics must a candidate have to be the ideal executive director for our nonprofit and which characteristics matter more to us?
    • Whats our budget and whats the level of salary we are ready to pay?
    • How should we organize ourselves to find the right person?
    • Who meets our essential requirements and wants the job?
    • How do those people compare with one another, especially with respect to the most important skills?
    • All things considered, who would be the best executive director for our nonprofit?

    Executive Director Interview Questions

    7 SENIOR MANAGER / DIRECTOR Interview Questions and Answers!

    Now we get to the heart of it the questions themselves. These are the 10 questions every search committee should ask Executive Director candidates and the 10 questions every candidate should be prepared to answer.

    So first the question, and then my advice on how to prepare for the answer

    1. Tell us why you want to lead this organization.

    How to answer:

    Well, you better nail this one. Its the single most important question. Take the announcement exercise from above and build on that. It should mirror the core messages from your cover letter the ones that got you to the interview.

    Heres what you want that search committee to feel:

    • Goosebumps

    2. Offer your assessment of the programs and services of our organization.

    How to answer:

    Here you need to demonstrate strategic and critical thinking and work ethic.

    As an interviewer, I want to know that you work hard and did a LOT of homework about the organization and more than just looking through the website

    How you answer will tell me about how you approach strategy and how you will talk about possible program flaws. We all know nothing is perfect Id like to see if you have the chutzpah to point something out.

    Quick advice here: dont be completely sold on your own assessment. That can be read as arrogance. Sometimes using questions can be a useful device here. Instead, you can try, Maybe this isnt the right point in the interview to ask but I did find myself wondering.

    How to answer:

    How to answer:

    How to answer:

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    Is There Anything You Would Change About This Organization

    This question is a chance to show you researched the nonprofit and want to help them improve and grow. Before your interview, review the organization’s website and read any current news about their efforts. It’s important to focus on a specific area of the organization you might hope to improve, but use positive language. Share how a similar change at a previous nonprofit organization improved results.

    Example:”**I noticed most of the money comes from corporate partners, though I didn’t see information about grants you receive. I think you could benefit from receiving more grant funding for additional volunteer staff. In my previous role, I hired a dedicated grant writer who would both research grants and write proposals I could approve, bringing our organization additional money to fund our programs.”

    Describe How You Typically Manage Staff Performance

    Program directors often manage a team of internal staff and volunteers. As a director, you might set objectives that build toward larger organization goals. Some nonprofits might have formal performance review processes annually, though you may need to motivate and manage your team throughout the year. Consider sharing your experiences with managing people and what effect that had.

    Example:”**I previously managed a staff of 10 employees and five volunteers in my last role. Each staff member had annual reviews where I would share their goals, discuss feedback on their performance and listen to their career goals. For volunteers, we had evaluations after events or after their shifts. Most returned to volunteer with us and showed improvement each time.”

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    Executive Director Interview Questions And Answers

    Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from an executive director, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

    An executive director is a senior-level nonprofit administrator who provides strategic leadership and oversees the operations of an organization. They are responsible for the organizations overall success and work to ensure its mission is fulfilled.

    In order to be successful in this position, youll need to be able to answer questions about your experience and the abilities you have that will benefit the organization. Review the questions and answers below to help you prepare for your interview.

    Are you familiar with the mission and values of our organization?

    The board of directors may ask this question to see if you have done your research on the organization. They want to know that you are committed to upholding their values and mission statement. Before your interview, read through the organizations website or annual report to familiarize yourself with its goals.

    Example:I am very passionate about childrens education. I believe it is important for kids to be able to learn in a safe environment where they feel comfortable asking questions. Your organization does amazing work by providing after-school programs for underprivileged students. I would love to continue supporting these types of initiatives as executive director.

    How would you describe your leadership style?

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