(Safety, Training, Resources, and Education to Combat Hunger)
Food Safety Information Sheet No. 17
Match Skills with Jobs!
Matching volunteer skills with appropriate jobs will help to mazimize the volunteer
experience for both the organization and the worker. Interviewing potential volunteers
provides an opportunity to assess the volunteer's skills, abilities, and suitability
for the job, while the applicant is gathering information about your program and
your need for help. Follow these tips and techniques:
- Review the application and know what you are looking for.
- Introduce yourself and talk about your organization.
- Talk briefly about the application, noting things of interest.
- Ask open-ended questions and utilize a conversational style.
- If a match is made, set up a time to begin orientation and job training.
Develop a training outline so that each new volunteer will know what is expected
and what kind of support they will receive from the organization. Remember, volunteers
like to be trained by other volunteers who have done the same job. Training should
- Information about the organizational structure and mission or philosophy.
- What are the objectives of the job to be performed.
- What support can the volunteer expect from staff and other volunteers.
- Review the job description and provide more detail.
Volunteers need the opportunity to advance in their job responsibilities as they
become familiar with your organization and the work that it does. Be aware of their
needs and provide a chance to meet new challenges in your organization.
Many organizations refrain from evaluating their volunteers. After all, they are
working for free. However, evaluation is important in maintaining the quality of
your program and in providing a positive volunteer environment. All workers, whether
paid or volunteer, should be evaluated on a regular basis. An evaluation lets the
volunteer know how he/she is doing and provides the volunteer with the opportunity
to give feedback on how the organization is doing. Evaluation is a comparison between
the volunteer's performance and the standards already set for the job. Evaluations
- How would you rate yourself in terms of the skills needed for this job?
- Was the training you received adequate? What kinds of additional training or information
would have been helpful to you?
- What could staff have done to make your job more satisfying or manageable?
- What is the next step for you as a volunteer?
If the volunteer has performed successfully, you may want to use this time to re-enlist
them for another volunteer position or to increase their responsibility. If the
volunteer performed poorly (loses interest, lacks the necessary skills, or is unable
to successfully carry out the agreed upon job) try to pinpoint problem areas and
determine if there is a solution. If needed, help find the volunteer a position
in which they can succeed or thank them for their service and let them go.
The person designated as supervisor has the primary responsibility for making the
volunteer feel welcome and a part of the team. It is a large part of a supervisor's
job to supply motivation. The best overall strategy for supervising volunteers is
to make them feel as much like paid staff as possible. The volunteers should receive
at least as much attention, support, direction, and recognition as paid staff and,
like paid staff, they should be given real responsibility.