What is the perception of a volunteer?
What is the perception of a volunteer? Is it to assume that the individual will have no hands on involvement in the running of the business? In previous years gone by this has perhaps indeed been the case, but as companies have changed over recent years with employment levels continually changing, when a company now has somebody volunteering they often want the most from the person, as this will help both the company and the individual. Hence volunteers are getting the hands-on experience they now seek when working voluntarily.
When employers often receive a CV or job application they habitually look straight to the qualifications an individual has gained, and/or where they have previously worked. However if a candidate details any volunteering experience they have this is often overlooked, even when mentioned during an interview. But by only investigating what paid experience individuals have will limit your understanding of the person, as it won’t allow you to discover what skills, knowledge and abilities the person has overall. By not addressing or probing a person about all their work practices (paid and unpaid) the opportunity to employ a pro-active person you require may pass you by. It is important to understand how not all employability skills are learnt and maintained through paid work. Some skills employers desire, such as communication and social action, can be gained through voluntary and non-work related experience too. It is therefore important to uncover all skills, abilities and knowledge an individual has during the recruitment phase.
So when discussing with job applicants their experience their voluntary encounters should be addressed too, and how relevant this is to the company. By allowing a person to reveal all their experience during the recruitment process it will allow your decision-making to become easier, due to the information you have available. Also by gaining insight into the experience a person has will provide you with more information into their personal and professional perspectives, and so how they align with the company’s views. Questioning a person regarding their voluntary experience doesn’t have to be difficult because this information should be treated the same as paid experience. For instance, the way you ask an applicant to go through their work history can be the way you apply your curiosity concerning their voluntary experience too.
If you wish to discuss anything regarding volunteers please get in contact.